Having come close to all but clinching overall honours in this year’s Tour of Britain following three explosive attacks en route into Gloucester on Saturday, race leader Wout van Aert is still hopeful of being crowned the race’s 2023 champion.

The Belgian’s last attack, which came a little under five kilometres from the finish line by the city’s historic docks, was only neutralised in the closing metres. Uno-X Pro Cycling Team’s Rasmus Tiller took the stage victory.

“Today I overestimated the course a bit,” he said. “We were still far from [catching] the breakaway with 40 kilometres remaining when we finally got some help from Movistar. They were going quite fast into the steep, final climb [of Crawley Hill].

“I thought attack was the best form of defence, so that’s what I did. Unfortunately, I isolated myself with guys on my wheel who wouldn’t cooperate – that was a bit of a mistake. I felt my legs running out of gas, which is normal after seven days of pulling on the front.”

Sunday’s final stage between Margam Country Park and Caerphilly looks well suited to the Jumbo – Visma rider, but his team-mates showed some signs of weakness in Gloucestershire, particularly late on in the stage. Nonetheless, van Aert is hoping that he can repay them by taking the GC victory.

“There were some fast guys who could hang on today,” he added. “Tomorrow we will see an even smaller group [at the finish].

“My team-mates have done a terrific job the whole week, so it’s quite normal that we don’t get any help from the others. I’m still proud of them and hopefully they can hold on for one more day so I can pay them back with a nice GC victory.”