Tour of Britain

3rd -10th September 2017

Friends Life Tour of Britain
Friends Life Tour of Britain
  • Stage 1
  • Stage 2
  • Stage 3
  • Stage 4
  • Stage 5

2004 - Stage 1, Manchester to Manchester

The opening stage of the 2004 event began in Manchester, the home of British Cycling, under welcoming skies and great expectation from a large crowd. The route was both testing and scenic and attracted spectators wherever it went. The early breakaway at one time had 18 minutes on the peloton but the experienced teams worked together to eat away that advantage and when it came down to a bunch sprint it was the Italian, Stefano Zanini, so often the supporting cast to twice Tour de France stage winner Tom Boonen, who took his chance to win the stage.

1 Stefano Zanini (Ita) Quick Step - Davitamon
2 Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Lotto - Domo
3 Alejandro Borrajo (Arg) Ceramiche Panaria

2004 - Stage 2, Leeds to Sheffield

Day two of the race from Leeds to Sheffield attracted even bigger crowds than the opener along the length of the route, particularly on the climbs, and the riders remarked on how they enjoyed so much support for their efforts. Fittingly, on such an arduous route, it was the Colombian climber, Mauricio Ardila who took the stage in a packed city centre of Sheffield.

1 Mauricio Ardila (Col) Chocolade Jacques
2 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Quick Step - Davitamon
3 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) T-Mobile

2004 - Stage 3, Bakewell to Nottingham

After the gruelling efforts of the previous day, Stage Three started in Bakewell in Derbyshire for a race that would take the bunch through Leicestershire before finishing on the banks of the River Trent in Nottingham.

The crowds at the start and on the route were even bigger than the day before with small towns like Duffield in Derbyshire turning out 3,000 spectators to urge on the riders. Again those gathered at the finish were treated to a pulsating finale with sprinter Tom Boonen taking victory on the line.

1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step - Davitamon
2 Paride Grillo (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria
3 Julian Dean (NZl) Credit Agricole

2004 - Stage 4, Newport to Celtic Manor

On to Wales for the fourth day of racing and another velodrome formed the backdrop for the stage start, this time it was Newport where the riders lined up for the day ahead. Even though there was rain in the air it did not prevent supporters turning out at the start and as the day brightened the crowds flocked to witness the climbs in the Celtic Manor Resort and then the finish on a different part of the resort.

It was Ardila again who took the victory and with it created a useful 17 second time advantage ahead of the final stage in London.

1 Mauricio Ardila (Col) Chocolade Jacques
2 Dani Fernandez Moreno (Spa) Relax - Bodysol
3 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Team CSC

2004 - Stage 5, London Stage

The final day of the first Tour of Britain saw the race reach a noisy and thrilling climax on Sunday on the streets of Westminster, London in front of a spectator audience that was estimated at around 100,000 - all cheering and banging on the advertising boards in an effort to encourage Londoner Bradley Wiggins to shake off his pursuers with only three laps to go to clinch the stage win.

But the peloton were in no mood to grant favours to the triple medal winner in Athens and the chase was led by none other than Brett Lancaster, the Australian who was in the Team Pursuit squad that deprived Bradley and the British team of Olympic Gold in Athens. The gap was closing all the time and Wiggins was eventually swept up to set up a bunch finish which Italian Enrico Degano just took on the line.

While Degano took the final stage it was the Colombian Mauricio Ardila, with two stage wins in Sheffield and Newport, who was presented with the yellow jersey as overall winner. Ardila, small and wiry, was an excellent climber but was also more than capable of holding his own in the sprint finishes. In the final stage he merely had to keep out of trouble and he was quick to praise his Chocolade Jacques team for all their assistance in helping him achieve his first ever tour victory.

New Zealander Julian Dean simply could not make up the seventeen seconds required and he had to settle for second place overall and the Points Winner's jersey, while Belgian Nick Nuyens from Quick Step-Davitamon was placed third overall.

British riders worked hard throughout the race and this was reflected in the final results. National champion Roger Hammond finished in 12th spot, Charlie Wegelius was 16th, Tom Southam 20th and Russell Downing 30th.

1 Enrico Degano (Ita) Barloworld
2 Julian Dean (NZl) Credit Agricole
3 Kirk O'Bee (USA) Navigators Insurance

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