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Tour of Britain 2018: Cameron Meyer takes victory as GC rivals go on attack

Joe Robinson
3 Sep 2018

The GC riders find themselves stretching their legs as Meyer wins the stage

Mitchelton Scott's Cameron Meyer took victory on Stage 2 of the Tour of Britain, sprinting away from fellow breakaway companion Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF) in the final hundred metres, however, it is Tonelli who assumed the race lead thanks to bonus seconds gathered earlier in the day.

The duo both rode into town together, working well to hold off the chasers behind. Eventually, Meyer's kick was too much for Tonelli as the Australian took the victory. Behind, Patrick Bevin (EF-Drapac) beat Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) to third.

Both Meyer and Tonelli were the only two riders of the day's break of five that managed to survive to the finish, holding off a chasing group of General Classification riders including Wout Poels (Team Sky) and Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo).

Late moves on Challacombe Hill was enough to bring the race favourites to the fore as those with overall race interests experienced their first true test of the week.

The tale of the stage 

The Tour of Britain started yesterday and it got off to a pretty enthralling start. Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) took the stage win but only after reeling attacks from Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors) and local boy Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) back in. 

Greipel looked to defend his leader's jersey on Stage 2 from Cranbrook to Barnstaple, a lumpy 174km that could turn out to suit strong sprinters and smart rouleurs alike.

As usual, the local teams were out to make the breakaway. As the flag dropped, Madison Genesis and Canyon Eisberg were on the move as was Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin), ever dangerous went away from the bunch.

The peloton, led by Team Sky, finally allowed a breakaway loose consisting of five riders, Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF), Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott), Scott Davies (Dimension-Data), Erick Rowsell (Madison Genesis) and Matthew Teggart (Team Wiggins). 

Once established, this front five worked well to establish a lead that was allowed to rise beyond six minutes at a point. 

The intermediate sprints were shared between Teggart and Davies as the rain began to fall, as it does always in Britain. A short skip through the historic South Molton Pannier Market kept off the damp for a second but there was little escaping the wet.

Lotto Soudal and Iljo Keisse (Quick-Step Floors) took up the pace to tow the break back in.  The gap continuously dropped until it sat at three minutes with 33km remaining.

The wet weather caused a few spills with Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) and Andy Tennant (Canyon Eisberg) hitting the deck on a technical piece of road just outside Ilfracombe. 

On the front, Ian Stannard's (Team Sky) splayed knees centred our screens as the leading group resisted the chase with not many kilometres left to race. The time hoovered at three minutes although the climbing terrain sat in the peloton's favour.

Not content with pulling sprinters to the finish, the spider-like figure of Hugh Carthy (EF-Drapac) began to crawl away from the peloton tagged by Matt Holmes (Madison-Genesis). Both began the arduous task of catching the break while also holding off the peloton behind.

Carthy and Holmes were not the only two attempting to find some breathing room. Team Sky sent the stern Vasil Kiryenka off in pursuit along with Neilson Powless (LottoNL-Jumbo), Stefan Kung (BMC Racing) and Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors). A dangerous move with all the major team represented.

The race then hit Challacombe Hill, a typical climb for the south-west, averaging 13% over 1.3km with maximum pitches above 20%, enough to make the knees ache thinking about it. It suited Davies ahead, dropping his fellow break companions and also Carthy who shed Holmes.

Meanwhile, the peloton behind was wafer-thin, as riders simply battled to reach the climb's crest.

Carthy was joined by Duracell bunny Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) who couldn't help but shout at the Brit in excitement. A classy descender, the Frenchman took the lead as the pair sat in no-mans land between Davies, Tonelli and Meyer ahead and the peloton behind.

Beyond, another group made a great escape, catching Alaphilippe and Carthy. This included Jungels, Wout Poels (Team Sky) and Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo), a mighty-strong group indeed in a move that could be pivotal in the eventual result of the entire race.

Tonelli and Meyer dropped a tired Davies but were now in sight of the chasing bunch of GC hopefuls. The gap was just 19 seconds with 2.5km left to race. Delicately balanced for the chasers and chased as they all entered Barnstaple.

With a kilometre to go, it was clear the lead duo were not going to be caught as Meyer eventually took the sprint for the stage. 

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