New strategy for Team NetApp at the Tour of Britain
The second stage of the Tour of Britain covered 181 kilometers, beginning in Nottingham and taking the peloton to England's west coast to the Knowsley Safari Park. Once again it was a stage dominated by sprinters. Australian Leigh Howard (Orica-Greenedge) managed to claim victory after doing battle with Mark Cavendish (Team Sky). Boy van Poppel (UnitedHealthcare) crossed the finish in third place. Both Team NetApp sprinters entered the race this morning in less than perfect condition, which meant they were unable to engage decisively during the final part of the stage.
After today's stage the lead of the overall classification changed. Boy van Poppel (UnitedHealthcare) relegates Luke Rowe (Sky) to rank 3. Stage winner Leigh Howard (Orica Greenedge) places second. Daniel Schorn only looses some spots and ranks 31st with 0:44 seconds behind the leader. Leo Koenig on rank 37 lost only one second to yesterday.
Six riders took off from the field early on, building up a lead of as much as four minutes. But the lead group broke up when two of the breakaway riders attacked. The teams with ambitions for the sprint and overall classification closed the gap when the leading duo gave up with 25 kilometers to go. The final kilometers also saw a few attacks from the field, one of which was led by Jan Barta. But Team Sky left nothing to chance, frustrating every attack and preparing for the mass sprint.
"Unfortunately, our two sprinters were shaky and weren't able to play a big part during the final part of the race as we had planned. The injuries suffered during yesterday's fall were bothering Blaz today. Even before the race Daniel wasn't feeling well. As a result, we were already adjusting our strategy during the race. Jan's breakaway attempt shortly before the finish was a good try. During the next difficult stages we will surely have a few more opportunities to get good results," Enrico Poitschke said after the race.
Tomorrow's stage will take the tour up north to Scotland. The 153-km course will start in Jedburgh and finish in Dumfries, which also played host to last year's Tour of Britain.