With Mark Cavendish nursing injuries from his stage one crash, lead-out man Mark Renshaw stepped up to lead Omega Pharma-Quick Step to a fine victory in today’s second Tour of Britain stage into Llandudno.
The Australian appeared to be leading out Paris-Roubaix winner Niki Terpstra along the sunshine-bathed Promenade in the Welsh seaside town, but when the Dutchman sat up, Renshaw continued sprinting and held on to take the victory.
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It was his first win in the race since 2011, when he won by the seafront in Exmouth. Renshaw also takes the race lead going into Tuesday’s finish atop The Tumble.
Ben Swift (Sky) and Sam Bennett (NetApp-Endura) finished second and third.
Similarly to yesterday’s opener, Britain’s domestic teams were well represented in the stage’s main breakaway. Ian Bibby (Madison-Genesis) and Rob Partridge (Giordana Racing) were part of a six-man group that also included Chris Lawless (Great Britain), Lasse Norman Hansen (Garmin-Sharp), Pablo Lastras (Movistar) and King of the Mountains leader Mark McNally (AnPost-Chain Reaction).
McNally took maximum points over the day’s first two second-category climbs of Glascoed and Ty Gwyn to extend his lead in that competition. However, none of those in the escape were able to dethrone Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF) from the sprints jersey.
Lawless – the youngest rider in the race – was dropped with around 20 kilometres to go, before a Hansen acceleration just after Conwy Castle dropped Bibby and Partridge.
But the leaders’ gap came was reduced from 1-46 with 20 kilometres remaining to just 50 seconds 10 kilometres later.
Chris Juul-Jensen (Tinkoff-Saxo), Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) attacked out of the peloton on the lower slopes of the Great Orme, and caught the leading trio with six kilometres to go.
Lastras attacked as soon as the junction was made, and as the peloton caught him at the top of the climb, Sylvain Chavanel (IAM), Jack Bauer (Garmin), Michal Kwiatkowski (OPQS) and Leopald Konig broke clear.
Kwiatkowski took off on the descent, with a select chase group behind. That move was neutralised with 2.7km remaining. Terpstra also attempted to jump clear, as did Alex Dowsett (Movistar).
The Briton was followed by Chavanel, but the charging peloton swept the duo up with 500m to go.
Swift hit the front after a small lead-out from Bradley Wiggins, but Renshaw timed his sprint perfectly to claim the win.
Marcel Kittel was dropped towards the top of the climb, which saw him lose his overall lead.
Tour of Britain 2014, stage one: Knowsley to Llandudno
1. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
2. Ben Swift (Gbr) Sky
3. Sam Bennett (Irl) NetApp-Endura
4. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
5. Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC
6. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
7. Jerome Pineau (Fra) IAM
8. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
9. Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
10. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM
Overall classification after stage two
1. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma-Quick Step in 6-55-19
2. Ben Swift (Gbr) Sky at 0-04
3. Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at st
4. Sam Bennett (Irl) NetApp-Endura at 0-06
5. Mark Cavendish (Gbr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step at st
6. Alex Dowsett (Gbr) Movistar at 0-07
7. Richard Handley (Gbr) Rapha Condor-JLT at st
8. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0-10
9. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM
10. Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC all at st.
Sky rider injured again less than a month after he returned to action following a fractured vertebra.
Manxman has swollen hip and thigh, but did not require hospital attention last night.
Marcel Kittel comments on the opening stage of the 2014 Tour of Britain in Liverpool