Ewan moves into the race lead at the Tour de Yorkshire after another second place finishSat 29 Apr 2017
Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan found some consolation on stage two of the Tour de Yorkshire today, after another second place finish in the sprint saw the ORICA-SCOTT rider move into the race leaders blue jersey ahead of tomorrow’s final stage.
A short and sweet second stage unfolded over the narrow and undulating lanes between Tadcaster and Harrogate with an attack filled final 30kilometres making for a nervy finale.
More hard work from the strong men of ORICA-SCOTT kept the front of the race under control with Svein Tuft, Mathew Hayman, Mitch Docker and Roger Kluge all playing significant roles going into the business end of the race.
The road dipped and rose viscously in the final kilometre making for a chaotic sprint as Ewan fought hard to jump out of the box and close the gap on eventual stage winner Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis).
The victory wasn't to be and it would be second again for Ewan, who now holds the race lead and also the green points jersey going into tomorrow’s tough final stage.
“It’s disappointing, two second places in a row,” said Ewan. “I’ve been feeling pretty good the last few days and it would have been nice to finish it off with a win, but we stuffed it up a bit in the finish and we paid for it in the end.”
“We hesitated at the dip with 600metres to go, lost our momentum and ended up getting swamped. It will be a super tough stage tomorrow, but for sure it will be nice to race in the leaders jersey.”
Sport director Dave McPartland praised the work of the team going into the finale and the excellent condition of Ewan.
“The guys did a really good job today,” said McPartland. “We were excellent in keeping Caleb out of trouble, especially Svein Tuft who yet again took things under control in the last 30kilometres when a lot of sharp attacks were coming.”
“Our only mistake was a moment of hesitation in the final kilometre that cost us the race really. We needed to keep going and maintain our speed, but we hesitated and by then it was too late and over within seconds. That’s racing and you have to move on and learn from your mistakes.
“It’s great that Caleb is holding two jerseys and moved into the race lead, despite the results of the last two day’s I believe he is the fastest guy here and it’s a huge positive for the team that his condition is so good ahead of the Giro d’Italia.
“Tomorrow is a really tough day, a stage for the general classification contenders. There is a real heavy concentration of climbs throughout the middle and second half of the stage and without doubt it is the hardest day of the race, not a day for the sprinters."
How it happened:
A short and punchy stage two rolled out of the northern English market town of Tadcaster this lunchtime, covering only 122.5kilometres with one categorised climb, the Cote de Lofthouse coming right in the middle.
Attacks sprang straight out of the neutral zone with four riders managing to break clear after 20kilometres of racing with an advantage of around two minutes.
The quartet held their lead past the halfway point and over the Lofthouse climb with the peloton effectively neutralised and climbing as a unit and all the sprinters making it over without issue.
There was a feeling of inevitability about the whole stage, LottoNL-Jumbo controlled the front of the peloton for race leader Dylan Groenewegen with the other sprinters teams happy to let the Dutch team do the early work and keep the four up the road at two minutes.
Inside the final 35kilometres and Tuft moved up to the front of the peloton for ORICA-SCOTT with the leaders now at one minute, before an attack by Thomas Voeckler (Direct-Energie) brought the race quickly back together.
Throughout the final 20kilometres the attacks kept on springing from the front of the bunch over the narrow rolling country lanes towards the finish town of Harrogate, but nothing stuck.
The lead out trains started to move forwards inside the final five kilometres with Kluge taking over at the front from Tuft and Ewan positioned nicely behind road captain Hayman.
The road dipped up and down in the final kilometre and Ewan was boxed in as the sprint began, fighting hard to break free, the 22-year-old made up a lot of ground in the last 100metres, but not enough to pass Bouhanni who took the win with Ewan in second.
Tour de Yorkshire stage two results:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) 02:45:51
2. Caleb Ewan (ORICA-SCOTT) ST
3. Johnathan Hivert (Direct-Energie) ST
General classification after stage two:
1. Caleb Ewan (ORICA-SCOTT) 06:55:17
2. Nacer Bouhanni (Direct-Energie) 00:00:02
3. Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) ST
Photos courtesy of ©TDWsport.com