Tour of Britain: Alaphilippe moves up in the GC
Quick-Step Floors takes over the team classification lead at the end of stage 2.
One of the toughest days of this year's Tour of Britain (Cranbrook – Barnstaple, 174km) lived up to its billing, especially in the last 30 kilometers, when Fernando Gaviria made a surprising move, attacking from the peloton and drawing a response from three other riders, together with whom he opened a nice gap on the chasers, while at the same time chewing into the breakaway's lead, which quickly went down after previously being kept in check by Iljo Keisse.
The first-category Challacombe Hill and its 13% gradients severely split both the leaders' group and the bunch, leaving riders scattered all over the road. Julian Alaphilippe – who animated also the closing kilometers of the opening stage – jumped again from the pack over the top of the climb and was soon joined on the descent by a strong group containing also teammate Bob Jungels. Both Quick-Step Floors riders took their turn at the front, helping the chasers cut down the margin of the two escapees left up the road to 15 seconds inside the last three kilometers.
Despite the strong efforts of the group, the survivors of the breakaway made it and Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott) outsprinted Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF), the race's new leader. Tour de France KOM winner Julian Alaphilippe took fourth and made a huge jump in the general classification, where both he and Bob Jungels are now in the top 10, just a handful of seconds from the lead.
"It wasn't an easy day, with a lot of nervousness in the peloton, small roads and steep climbs, especially the last one, where the race exploded. I felt good, and together with Bob decided to try something again, after yesterday. We gave it all in a hot pursuit, but missed out on the chance to fight for victory for mere seconds. Nevertheless, we will keep fighting and hopefully we will get a win this week", an upbeat Julian said after the stage which took Quick-Step Floors to the top of the team standings.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images