Stoke stage of Tour of Britain sees riders going backwards

Literally in Bradley Wiggins’ case. He turned round and went back to try and find Mark Cavendish who was suffering long before his nemesis, Gun Hill. He found him and then they both concluded that all was lost and dawdled to the finish.

I sometimes think about what it would be like to ride with the peloton; how humiliating it would be to be spat out the back within the first two miles. Well, not on stage 5. Stage 5 was in my back yard; on my terrain. You come to my house; you play by my rules.

My rules involve being spat out the back within the first two miles, but they also involve most of the other riders eventually suffering the same fate. My rules are really just about minimising humiliation. It doesn’t pay to aim too high in life.

It’s tough riding round here in the Peak District and not-quite-the-Peak-district and yesterday it led to some proper British racing. I’ve complained about the lack of serious climbs in the Tour of Britain route, but this Stoke stage covered the rolling terrain that can make cycling in this country so hard.

Climbing a mountain, you can pace yourself. That’s not possible in many parts of Britain, because there’s always a hillock ahead of you. Crucially they’re generally small enough that you tend to think: ‘Ah, sod it. I’ll just get out of the saddle and sprint up.’

Do that enough times and you’ll realise it’s not a very efficient way to ride. Many teams discovered that on stage 5. Team Sky in particular were down on their knees – Christian Knees, that is, who’s now their only rider anywhere near the race lead.

My man Jonathan Tiernan-Locke’s still in the hunt though. Like Knees, he’s 24 seconds behind race leader Leigh Howard of Orica-GreenEdge