Van Aert wins Tour of Britain, Aussie Howson on podium


Wout van Aert has lifted his second Tour of Britain title as Australian rider Damien Howson earned an impressive podium finish in Wales by ending up third overall in the week-long race.

Belgian superstar van Aert fought off multiple challenges to his overnight lead on the final stage on Sunday to reclaim the crown he won in 2021 by just three seconds from Uno-X's Tobias Halland Johannessen and Howson.

For the experienced Adelaide rider Howson, whose best win came six years ago at the Herald Sun Tour, it was his biggest success since he moved from the Australian outfit Team BikeExchange-Jayco at the end of last season and thew in his lot with Swiss team, Q36.5.

Howson has impressed with his new team, having won a stage of the Vuelta Asturias Julio Alvarez Mendo in April when he also finished second in the points event.

The 31 year old finished his excellent week's work on British roads with a third-placed finish on the hilly eighth and final stage over 166.8km from Margam Country Park to Caerphilly in Wales, chasing home second-placed van Aert.

The stage had to be diverted after an unrelated road accident on the route, with organisers having to halt the race for half an hour after the collision and deciding one mountain section should not go ahead.

Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos Grenadiers) then broke away to win the stage, briefly threatening to recover the 39 seconds he needed to take the title overall but eventually managing to finish just 11 seconds clear.

Van Aert chased him down to finish second, enough to make him only the third rider in the race's history to win the event twice.

"It feels great," said van Aert, whose victory for the dominant Dutch Jumbo-Visma team echoed their current triumphant Vuelta a Espana campaign.

"We've had such an amazing week as a team, starting off with five stage wins in a row (four for Olav Kooij and one for van Aert himself) which is pretty incredible.

"From then on there was a lot of pressure on us in this race, but we managed to control every stage basically. So I'm super proud, especially to finish off that teamwork."