Robin Carpenter takes shock solo victory from breakaway on stage two of Tour of Britain 2021

The American was the strongest of a five-man break who were given a huge advantage by the peloton

Robin Carpenter winning stage two of the Tour of Britain in Exeter
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Robin Carpenter won stage two of the Tour of Britain 2021 into Exeter after the peloton miss-timed the chase of the break.

Carpenter (Rally) was by far the strongest out of the five-man breakaway that was given a huge gap by the Jumbo-Visma led peloton. This now means the American takes over the leader's jersey from Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) who did not contest the sprint for second place.

The rest of the break were all caught with Jake Scott (Canyon-dhb-SunGod) the last man dropped by Carpenter with 24km to go.

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The chase from the peloton came with around 30km to go but by then the gap was not possible to close down.

How it happened

Stage two of the Tour of Britain started on the outskirts of Plymouth in Sherford before heading over yet another very tricky stage taking in multiple climbs including a trip over Dartmoor, before a finish in Exeter.

Five riders went up the road early on, including Robin Carpenter (Rally), Jacob Scott (Canyon-dhb-SunGod), Nicolas Sessler (Global 6), Leon Mazzone (Saint Pirin), and Will Bjergfelt (SwiftCarbon).

The gap slowly lifted to about three minutes until Israel Start-Up Nation came up and brought it down to 40 seconds, but then they sat up and left it to Jumbo-Visma.

Tour of Britain 2021 stage two

(Image credit: Tour of Britain)

The team of race leader, Wout van Aert, then sat on the front letting the gap soar up to 7-40 which eventually got Movistar to come up in a panic to drill the pace with 70km to go along with Jumbo-Visma, as the gap started to slowly come down.

With 59km to go the pace changed again as the peloton hit the base of the Rundlestone climb (8.7km climb with an average gradient of four per cent). Israel Start-Up Nation battled with Movistar and Jumbo-Visma for the lead of the bunch on the steep start of the climb.

Arkéa-Samsic joined the push with Connor Swift close to the front. Meanwhile, in the break, Mazzone was the first to lose touch with Bjergfelt the next to fall away. He fought hard to try and get back on but wasn’t able to on the climb with 56km to go.

Mazzone was caught with 40km remaining as the pace was still quite high with Jumbo-Visma joining Deceuninck - Quick-Step the lead with a gap of 5-04. Bjergfelt was then caught with 35km to go.

Brazilian rider, Sessler was dropped with 30km to ride as the gap to the peloton dropped to 4-00. Around 13km Carpenter dropped Scott.

Carpenter’s advantage came plummeting down with 15km to go as it dipped under three minutes with 10km to go and 2-45 with 9.5km to go as the American Rally Cycling rider was visibly struggling.

Qhubeka-NextHash and Jumbo-Visma were both now keen to drill the pace as the race headed closer and closer to Exeter. Scott was caught with 6km to go, but Carpenter was still holding an amazing 2-15 with 4km to the line.

The American held on to the win with just 33 seconds back to the peloton that was led in by British rider, Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers), who moves up to third overall behind Carpenter, who is the new leader, with Van Aert in second.

Stage three is a rarity in pro cycling these days as the peloton tackles an 18.2km team time trial starting in Llandeilo and finishing at the National Botanic Garden of Wales over a largely flat course. 


Tour of Britain 2021, stage two: Sherford to Exeter (184km)

1. Robin Carpenter (USA) Rally Cycling, in 4-45-56
2. Ethan Hayter (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 33 seconds
3. Alex Peters (GBr) SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling
4. Max Kanter (Ger) Team DSM
5. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck - Quick-Step
6. Rory Townsend (Irl) Canyon-dhb-SunGod
7. Mikkel Honoré (Den) Deceuninck - Quick-Step
8. Ethan Vernon (GBr) Team Great Britain
9. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix
10. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Team Qhubeka-NextHash, all at the same time

General classification after stage two

1. Robin Carpenter (USA) Rally Cycling, in 9-19-33
2. Wout van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma, at 22 seconds
3. Ethan Hayter (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 26s
4. Gonzalo Serrano (Esp) Movistar Team, at 28s
5. Alex Peters (GBr) SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling, at same time
6. Rory Townsend (Irl) Canyon-dhb-SunGod, at 32s
7. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck - Quick-Step
8. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Team Qhubeka-NextHash
9. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix
10. Mikkel Honoré (Den) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, all at same time

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

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