ORICA-BikeExchange stay out of trouble on a tough stage two of the Tour of Britain

Mon 5 Sep 2016

Stage two of the Tour of Britain saw challenging steep climbs in the final 30kilometres split the peloton drastically causing a big shake up in the overall classification.

Julien Vermot (Etixx-Quickstep) claimed the stage victory on a brutal finishing climb in Kendal with Amets Txurruka the highest place finisher for ORICA-BikeExchange in 20th place on the rain sodden stage.

An initial breakaway of 15 riders were eventually swallowed up on the final King of the Mountain climb with all ORICA-BikeExchange riders back in the next main peloton. 

Sport director Matt Wilson was content with the day considering the Australian outfit arrived at the tour with the aim of sprint victories and a team comprising of mostly young riders. 

It was a really hard day “ said Wilson. “We didn’t have a stage favourite for today or any guys going for the general classification. We gave a bit of freedom to Rob Power and Amets Txurruka if they wanted to try something on the climbs."

“Throughout the stage Caleb Ewan and Luka Mezgec looked after themselves just incase it did end up as a group sprint but the way it played out it became a really hard stage with the large breakaway from the start and the final climb. 

“It isn’t disappointing for us as it wasn’t a stage we were targeting. Everyone got through ok and we live to fight another day.” 

How it happened: 

Day two saw the riders cover 188kilometres from Carlisle to Kendal along a lumpy route containing more than 3000metres of climbing. 

Similar to yesterday’s stage, aggressive racing started from the gun with different teams attacking to try and form a breakaway. 

Just 20kilometres into the stage, 15 riders opened up a gap of three minutes, continued to work well together, and despite being a fairly large group they successful maintained a solid lead for the majority of the stage.

ORICA-BikeExchange remained together in the peloton with Mezgec protecting Ewan for the days to come. 

On the first king of the mountain the breakaway began to split with the peloton closing in and the time gap down to just one minute. 

As the race headed over the next KOM the gap crept back out to two minutes but with heavy rain beginning to fall and a final tough first category climb to come it looked like the breakaway would soon be swallowed up.

The final climb, fittingly named ’The Struggle’, caused a huge shake up in the race with most of the breakaway caught halfway up and fresh riders attacking in an attempt to bridge across to the remaining leaders, which was now down to just six men. 

After the decent with just 20kilometres remaining, Rohan Dennis (BMC) successfully bridged across to the five leaders shortly followed by Steve Cummings (Dimension-Data).

With the weather deteriorating the remaining breakaway riders plus a small group that also successfully bridged across formed a new leading group as they passed the 10kilometres to go mark.

Attacks came with Cummings and Julien Vermot (Etixx-Quickstep) able to ride away from the leading group and quickly opened up a 45second advantage.

In the end, on a brutal uphill climb to the line, Vermot took the stage victory ahead of Cummings with ORICA-BikeExchange’s highest place finisher Txurruka in 20th place. 

Tour of Britain stage 2 results:

1. Julien Vermot (Etixx-Quickstep) 5:40:50
2. Steve Cummings (Dimension-Data) +0:02
3. Dan Martin (Etixx-Quickstep) +0:58
20. Amets Txurruka (ORICA-BikeExchange) +4:33

General classification after stage 2:

1. Julien Vermot (Etixx-Quickstep) 8:33:20
2. Steve Cummings (Dimension-Data) +0:06
3. Dan Martin (Etixx-Quickstep) +1:04
26. Amets Txurruka (ORICA-BikeExchange) 4:43