Tour de Yorkshire, Stage 2
Three days after Koningsdag, the national holiday of the Netherlands, a Dutch rider again stole the show in the Tour de Yorkshire. Danny van Poppel matched Dylan Groenewegen’s win in Settle yesterday with a superb victory in Doncaster. Team Sky’s fast man narrowly outsprinted the previous day’s winner and German Niklas Arndt, while Groenewegen defended the blue-and-yellow overall leader’s jersey ahead of the leg-breaking final stage from Middlesbrough to Scarborough.
BREAKFAST AT LIZZIE’S
After watching the start of the maiden edition of the ASDA Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race in the morning, the crowds were even bigger in the charming town of Otley, where world champion Lizzie Armitstead was born. At 2:45 pm, the 132-strong peloton set out for a 136.5 km stage to Doncaster on the same course as the women. The first attacks of the day came just a kilometre and a half into the stage, with Handley (ONE), Mørkøv (KAT), Lewis (MGT), Bradbury, Edmondson (NPC) and Steels (TSV) setting up a six-man breakaway.
SIX MEN IN FRONT
The peloton trailed by 1′50″ as UK’s Richard Handley was first over the first climb of the day in Harewood, not far from its namesake castle, which welcomed the opening ceremony of the 2014 Tour de France. Handley also took maximum points at the top of the East Rigton climb (km 17). The peloton, led by leader Dylan Groenewegen’s LottoNL–Jumbo squad, clawed back second after second and gap had fallen to 1′35″ by the time Edmondson outgunned Lewis and Handley at the first intermediate sprint.
EDET ON THE ATTACK
Nicolas Edet (COF) took advantage of a lull in the pursuit at the entrance to the feeding zone (km 75) to launch a counterattack in an attempt to bridge the 1′15″ gap, which he did when he joined the breakaway at km 85. The seven escapees had a 1′45″ at the time. With the BMC-driven peloton hot on their heels, Edet fired off another attack at km 102, dragging Mørkøv, who was celebrating his 31st birthday today, local boy Edmondson and Steels along. The quartet held 25″ over the main group with 20 km to go, but they were eventually caught in sight of the 10 km arch.
VAN POPPEL BY A NOSE
LottoNL–Jumbo, ORICA GreenEDGE and Sky worked to keep it all together until the final sprint in Doncaster. Danny van Poppel culminated a perfect lead-out by his Sky teammates, holding off a last-minute charge by fellow countryman Dylan Groenewegen (TLJ) and grabbing his first season win by a matter of centimeters, while Niklas Arndt (TGA) again finished in third place. It was the tenth career win (and the first one in his new colors) for the 22-year-old sprinter, who among other races won stage 12 of last year’s Vuelta.
GROENEWEGEN STILL ON TOP
Groenewegen kept the blue-and-yellow leader’s jersey by 6″ over Van Poppel and 8″ over Arndt. The Dutchman also defended his lead in the points classification, while Handley pulled on the best climber’s jersey. With no fewer than six climbs, the closing stage of the Tour de Yorkshire from Middlesbrough to Scarborough is sure to shake things up.