Stage 2 wrap
No surprise breakaway wins on stage 2. But we did perhaps get a surprise winner. While many eyes were on Cavendish (Dimension Data), Lawless (Team Ineos) and Fortin (Cofidis), it was Marcel Kittel’s lead-out man Rick Zabel (Katusha-Alpecin) who took full advantage of a rare sprint opportunity to get his hands in the air on the line.
Just like yesterday, there was a six-man breakaway. Tom Stewart (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes), Fabien Grellier (Total Direct Energie), Jake Scott (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling) and Chris McGlinchey (Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK) broke clear and were soon joined by the Team Wiggins Le Col pair of Rob Scott and James Fouché.
Unlike yesterday, the peloton got its calculations right and made sure the break was caught before the line to set things up for a sprint finish. In a chaotic sprint, Zabel started his sprint early to power clear and take the win, with Van Poppel (Roompot-Charles) and Lawless rounding out the podium. Andy Tennant took an impressive 4th to finish the best-placed Continental rider on the day (Canyon
Stage 3 route
Stage 3 will end in Scarborough, a finish that has featured in every edition of the race so far. It has regularly offered up massive crowds and spectacular finishes, and you wouldn’t bet against more of the same today.
Starting in Bridlington, the stage will head north into the North York Moors National Park. The Côte de Silpho is the first of five categorised climbs, and with the route hugging the coast as it hooks back down to Scarborough, and crosswinds will add yet more challenge. This stage will also be the second and final stage of the women’s race.
Very strong winds (gusts over 40mph) and light showers are
If I was to make one prediction it is that the stage will be enjoyably unpredictable! The high winds, the short distance, the repeated climbing and the lack of World Tour teams to control the race, all mean that this has the potential to be one of wildest stages the Tour de Yorkshire has yet seen.
If this is the case, who to pick? Here are five riders I think will be in contention…
Last year’s champion Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) is hard to look past if he’s carried enough freshness from his classics campaign. He’s ideally suited to a punchy, windy, classics-style stage, and can also hold his own if things come down to a reduced bunch finish.
Owain Doull (Team Ineos) is another a strong pick. Like Avermaet, he’s well-suited to this type of terrain, and he has the strongest team in the race to support him. One tactic Ineos might play is to rip the race apart in the crosswinds after the
Nathan Haas (Katusha-Alpecin) is another punchy rider who excels on grippy rolling days. He hasn’t yet had the best of form this season but the former Tour of Britain winner is no stranger to performing well on UK roads.
A rider who normally excels in the hills of the Tour de Yorkshire is Jonathan Hivert (Total Direct Energie). 3rd overall in 2017 and 10th last year, the 34-year-old Frenchman has a fast finish and is strong in the hills. He’s in great form too. He won the Gran Premio Miguel Indurain (UCI 1.1) last month and got top-10s in the Classic Loire Atlantique (UCI 1.1) and the Tour de Finistère (UCI 1.1).
Another on form rider is Alexander Kamp (Riwal
What about the domestic Continental riders?
There are quite a few that could thrive tomorrow. Five to look out for in particular are Connor Swift (Madison Genesis), Scott Thwaites (Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK), Rory Townsend (Canyon
ITV4 and Eurosport will both show the men’s race live from 2.30pm.
Featured photo: Alex Whitehead / SWpix.com