Van Aert carries on from the place he left off(Picture credit score: Getty Pictures)The 2021 Tour of Britain was Wout van Aert’s first race since July, when he attained what was probably the very best ever kind peak of his profession, to win consecutive phases in the course of the last weekend of the Tour de France and silver medal on the Olympics highway race regardless of being marked by each different rider.Normally you’d count on a rider to take a while to retain that form after spending a number of weeks away from racing, however on the Tour of Britain Van Aert picked up from the place he left off, profitable half of the eight phases and the general title in what was one more astonishing show of his all-round expertise.From a big bunch end in Aberdeen and a lowered bunch in Gateshead, to an uphill slog up Nice Orme and draggy end at Bodmin, Van Aert received just about each completely different kind of dash that there’s, with not even the grasp of uphill finishes Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Fast-Step) or the game’s best ever sprinter Mark Cavendish (Deceuinck-Fast-Step) capable of get the higher of him.He would have had a extra easy path to general victory had his Jumbo-Visma staff not damaged up in the course of the staff time trial, however the 20 seconds he ceded to Ineos Grenadiers’ Ethan Hayter made the race far more aggressive than it’d in any other case have been, and Van Aert needed to depend on the bonus seconds on the ultimate stage dash to take general victory. In this type of kind, he’ll go into his last targets of the season — the World Championships in Flanders and Paris-Roubaix — as a good hotter favorite than he would have been anyway. Ethan Hayter goes to be a star(Picture credit score: Getty Pictures)Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) had already been having fun with a revelatory season, however the Tour of Britain was the surest signal but that he’s a star within the making.Not like his earlier spectacular showings on the highway this 12 months, as on the Volta ao Algarve, Ruta del Sol and the Tour of Norway, this time Hayter went toe-to-toe with arguably the world’s two prime puncheurs, Wout van Aert and Julian Alaphilippe, and regarded completely in his aspect.For many of the race, Hayter even discovered himself forward of those two well-established superstars. After retaining himself in GC rivalry on the Nice Orme summit end, Hayter managed to take the general lead after profitable the crash-disrupted dash in Warrington, then stubbornly held on to the jersey even up towards the formidable would possibly of this pair on his shoulder.Though he did finally lose the jersey on the ultimate stage of the race, this was nonetheless an excellent efficiency from the 22-year-old, who should now be thought-about a critical candidate in even the largest races. Britain has a brand new biking star. Deceuninck-Fast-Step haven’t any reply to Van Aert’s dominance(Picture credit score: Getty Pictures)Deceuninck-Fast-Step got here to the Tour of Britain with a squad filled with expertise, and with the potential to compete for each stage, whether or not a dash with Mark Cavendish or Davide Ballerini, or a punchy stage with Julian Alaphilippe, Yves Lampaert, or Mikkel Honoré.But regardless of this energy in depth, they got here residence with simply the one stage win courtesy of Yves Lampaert, as they did not discover a answer to cease the mighty Wout van Aert.Though Alaphilippe may need anticipated to lose out on the draggy end on the opening end at Bodmin, he’s often unbeatable on the sort of steep gradients that featured on stage 4’s Nice Orme end. However even right here he was edged out by Van Aert, and he continued to lose time within the subsequent phases, suggesting that the Belgian is in higher kind because the all-important World Championships looms on the horizon.Then within the race’s single common bunch dash on the ultimate day, Mark Cavendish didn’t have the legs to come back round Van Aert, simply as occurred on the Champs-Élysées the final time the pair went head-to-head in a bunch dash.Relatively than the sprints, Deceuninck-Fast-Step’s greatest hopes for fulfillment have been from the breakaways, and even Mark Cavendish tried his hand in doing so on stage six. The place Cavendish failed, Yves Lampaert succeeded, managing to stand up the highway together with team-mate Davide Ballerini the next day, and out sprinting the 2 remaining breakaway companions, whereas the staff’s nemesis Van Aert remained again within the peloton.However contemplating all of their expertise, Deceuninck-Fast-Step would have wished extra from this race. Parcours and staff sizes help breakaway successes(Picture credit score: Getty Pictures)One of many nice issues concerning the Tour of Britain, and about racing in Britain usually, is how the rolling roads and terrain of the nation make for unpredictable, punchy racing. On paper it regarded like that many of the phases would finish with dash finishes, whether or not uphill or flat. However in actuality, when the numerous uncategorised climbs are taken into consideration, these phases have been very troublesome to manage, and breakaways did find yourself having loads of pleasure over the week. The very fact groups are restricted to only six riders additionally performs a big position in making the race exhausting to manage, and was one of many contributing elements on stage two, when Robin Carpenter (Rally Biking) managed to outlive to the end. He was precisely the sort of towards the percentages underdog winner that followers like to see, and although he misplaced the blue jersey the subsequent day, it was nonetheless a serious success for each him and his Rally Biking staff.The terrain on stage seven wasn’t fairly so undulating, however as soon as once more the break was profitable on stage seven, with Yves Lampaert this time popping out on prime on stage that the sprinters — together with probably his personal team-mate Mark Cavendish — may need pencilled in as a possible stage for them. It was one other instance of how thrilling and unpredictable the Tour of Britain may be, and the way there’s no such factor as a nailed-on bunch dash on this race.Retiring riders nonetheless present starvation(Picture credit score: Getty Pictures)This 12 months’s Tour of Britain marks the final time we’ll see Dan Martin and Andre Greipel (each Israel-StartUp Nation) race on British roads, and each confirmed no indicators of easing up as their imminent retirements loomed.Martin was proper up there on the end at Nice Orme, the place he positioned sixth, and confirmed a need to enhance up his seventh-place on GC when he attacked early on stage seven. Though he didn’t achieve getting away, and finally remained seventh general by the tip of the race, he continued to point out precisely the sort of combative angle that has made him such a well-liked rider through the years.Andre Greipel was additionally in battling spirit, and practically took a stage win on the finale in Aberdeen. He managed to get the higher of his outdated nemesis Mark Cavendish within the bunch dash, however trailed behind Wout van Aert and needed to accept second. He’ll be upset for positive, however contemplating he has one other 163 profession wins to reminisce about, this slim miss doesn’t appear so unhealthy within the grand scheme of issues.Each riders are among the many better of their technology, and any followers who watched on the roadside may be honoured they managed to bid farewell to 2 such nice ambassadors of the game.