RAWSON’S Rake took centre stage as the 2019 Tour of Britain cycling champion was crowned.

Mathieu van der Poel reiterated his billing as the hottest talent in the sport by sealing victory in style.

The 24-year-old Dutchman sprinted to win the eighth and final stage of this year’s race after a frantic day of racing around all 10 Greater Manchester boroughs, the action coming through Ramsbottom before ending on Deansgate in Manchester city centre.

The Rake was part of 2,000m of climbing the riders faced on Saturday, their passage through the area seeing them also take in the town centre and Holcombe Village and Hawkshaw Village.

Van der Poel outsprinted compatriot Cees Bol (Team Sunweb) by a tyre width in Manchester with overall runner-up and Cetaphil Points classification winner Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) placing third across the line.

“It wasn’t an easy day today, a lot of teams tried to attack us,” said van der Poel.

“Coming into Tour of Britain I didn’t really think it was possible because of the time trial which I hadn’t done in a really long time.  But after the time trial I started to believe I could win the GC, but today was harder than I thought it would be and I’m really happy. It’s been a good week for us.”

While Corendon Circus and the Jumbo Visma team of triple stage winner Dylan Groenewegen initially did well to control the breakaway of Matt Holmes (Madison Genesis), Gabriel Cullaigh (Team WIGGINS Le Col) and Emil Vinjebo (Riwal Readynez), the race erupted into life on the infamous climb of the Rake.

Pavel Sivakov sparked proceedings into life on the slopes, with his Team INEOS teammates taking up the mantle with a flurry of attacks. 

Movistar’s Andrey Amador was the main beneficiary, building a 49 second lead at one point before being reeled back in by the pace of the reduced front group.

With 25 kilometres remaining INEOS’ Michal Golas was joined off the front by Larry Warbasse (AG2R La Mondiale) and Mark Christian (Team WIGGINS Le Col) but their lead only lasted until the 10 kilometre mark as the Tour raced through Salford, setting up a thrilling finish on Deansgate.

It was Team Sunweb’s Cees Bol that picked up the sprint coming out of the final left hand turn onto the long finishing straight, with van der Poel coming around him to just hold off the fast finishing Trentin.

Trentin’s finishing record of top 10 finishes on every stage barring the individual time trial gave him a comfortable victory in the Cetaphil Points jersey from van der Poel, while former race winner Dylan van Baarle (Team INEOS) was voted the overall Wahooligan Combativity award winner in a public poll on the event’s social media channels.

British domestic teams took home both the SKODA King of the Mountains and Eisberg Sprints jerseys, as Jacob Scott (Swift Carbon Pro Cycling) confirmed his victory in the former, two years on from having agonisingly lost the same jersey on the final day of racing.

Rory Townsend was the sprint king, ensuring that his Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes team took the red jersey for a second year.