Petr Vakoc (Etixx – Quick-Step) moved into the overall race lead at the 2015 Tour of Britain after taking a sensational solo victory on the second stage into Colne.
The Czech national champion made his move from a break with around 20km to go on the 159.3km stage, and it looked as though he would be caught before the line until disorganisation set in amongst the chasing group.
Tinkoff-Saxo initially lead the charge, while Lotto-Soudal attempted to pull the group in chase with André Greipel having made it over the tough climbs of the route to potentially set-up a second sprint finish.
But with around 15 seconds in hand, Vakoc dug deep to maintain his gap while the chasers slowed as they looked for a team to take the initiative. Vakoc’s Etixx teammates found themselves on the front more than once, slowing down proceedings as they tried to give their the best chance of a win.
In the end, it was an almost comfortable victory for the 23-year-old, who takes the yellow jersey of race leader from Elia Viviani (Sky) thanks to his seven second advantage and four second bonus on the line.
Ten riders to watch at the 2015 Tour of Britain:
Viviani, who took victory for the British WorldTour team on day one, got caught in the last group on the road after things split-up with about 46km remaining. The Italian’s group finished over 20 minutes back on the stage winner.
The split had come after the day’s first breakaway, first of all containing Pete Williams (One) and then Alex Dowsett (Movistar), who established around four minutes gap before being Williams was pulled back with around 60km to go having again gone solo.
Danilo Wyss (BMC), Alex Peters (Great Britain), Zdenek Stybar (Etixx – Quick-Step), Wout Poels (Sky), Ruben Fernandez (Movistar), Serge Pauwels (MTN-Qhubeka), Pim Ligthart (Lotto-Soudal), along with Vakoc, then got away with 46km remaining from a 40 rider group which went ahead on the descent of Bleara Moor.
That group quickly established a gap, but as riders fell away and the group became five, Vakoc made his move from the front which eventually saw him ride solo into Colne to take his second victory since joining Quick-Step in 2014.
Tuesday’s stage three of the Tour of Britain sees the riders take on another tough stage with a number of climbs on the 216km route from Cockermouth to Floors Castle, Kelso.
Tour of Britain 2015, stage two: Beaumaris, Clitheroe to Colne, 159.3km
1. Petr Vakoc (Cze) Etixx – Quick-Step, in 4-02-22
2. Juan José Lobato (Esp) Movistar, at 7 secs
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN-Qhubeka, at 9 secs
4. Rasmus Guldhammer (Den) Cult Energy
5. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step
6. Owain Doull (GBr) Team Wiggins
7. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto-Soudal
8. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC
9. Gorka Izaguirre (Esp) Movistar
10. Javier Mejias (Esp) Novo Nordisk, all same time
Overall classification after stage two
1. Petr Vakoc (Cze) Etixx – Quick-Step, in 08-28-41
2. Juan José Lobato (Esp) Movistar, at 11 secs
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN-Qhubeka, at 15 secs
4. Floris Gerts (Ned) BMC, at 17 secs
5. Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky, at 18 secs
6. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin, at 18 secs
7. Owain Doull (GBr) Team Wiggins, at 19 secs
8. Graham Briggs (GBr) JLT-Condor
9. Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Team Sky
10. Rasmus Guldhammer (Den) Cult Energy, all same time