Tour of Britain: Julien Vermote beats Steve Cummings on stage 2
By Andy Charles
Last Updated: 05/09/16 7:53pm
Belgium's Julien Vermote denied Steve Cummings a home victory on stage two of the Tour of Britain in Kendal and claimed the overall race lead.
The pair broke away from an elite lead group inside the final 11km and Vermote (Etixx - Quick-Step) went on to beat Cummings (Dimension Data) on an uphill finish by two seconds.
Dan Martin (Etixx - Quick-Step) crossed the line at the head of a chasing group 58 seconds down in third place.
With previous race leader Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) having earlier been dropped, Vermote moves top of the general classification and opens up overall leads of six seconds on Cummings and 1min 4sec on Martin.
The result was a major boost to Cummings' hopes of overall victory, as he now holds substantial leads over all his key rivals for the yellow jersey.
Vermote said: "It's always nice to win and particularly here, where I have won already two years ago in Brighton. I have a special feeling for this tour as it has a lot of fans who were cheering us and enjoy cycling.
"I was motivated to come here. It's never easy to take a victory but today I went into the break and it was tough - all up and down.
"The last official climb was hard and a few more riders came to catch us. I knew I couldn't give Cummings too much, and then I was on his wheel, but we had a good co-operation and in the end I am happy I could finish it off."
Greipel was part of an early breakaway group, which also included Vermote and Irish champion Nicolas Roche (Team Sky).
But the complexion of the race changed on the final big climb of the day - aptly named The Struggle - where Greipel was quickly distanced and a number of leading riders moved ahead of the peloton, Cummings among them after being paced on to the early slopes of the climb by Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data).
Cavendish stopped part way up The Struggle and appeared to remonstrate with a fan on the side of the road, before getting back on his bike in obvious anger.
Back at the front of the race, Cummings made his way across to the lead group after Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) had made the first attack from the peloton, being followed by Martin and Team Sky's Ben Swift, among others.
Cummings made the decisive attack 12km from the finish and Vermote was the only rider able to go with him.
Vermote had managed to overcome his earlier exertions, sitting in Cummings' slipstream, and he sprinted away 200m out to claim his second Tour of Britain stage win, adding to the victory he claimed in Brighton in 2014 and taking the yellow jersey.
Sir Bradley Wiggins (WIGGINS) finished 22min 51sec down in 119th.
The Tour of Britain continues on Tuesday with a 179.4km third stage from Congleton to Tatton Park in Knutsford. Find out more about the route in our race guide and follow all the action with our live blog from 1pm BST.
Stage two result
1 Julien Vermote (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step, 5:40.50
2 Steve Cummings (Gbr) Dimension Data, +2secs
3 Dan Martin (Irl) Etixx - QuickStep, +58
4 Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert, same time
5 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Soudal, st
6 Ben Swift (GB) Team Sky, st
7 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Groupe Gobert, st
8 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin, st
9 Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac, st
10 Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, st
1 Julien Vermote (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step, 9:33.20
2 Steve Cummings (GB) Dimension Data, +6secs
3 Dan Martin (Irl) Etixx - QuickStep, +1:04
4 Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert, +1:08
5 Ben Swift (GB) Team Sky, same time
6 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Soudal, st
7 Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac, 1:12
8 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Groupe Gobert, st
9 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin, st
10 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sky, +1:16