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"It's going to be a really hard race tomorrow and it will be a tough fight for the overall. We have two cards to play with me and Philip. Hopefully we can keep the jersey."

Photo: A.S.O.








02.05.2015 @ 22:44 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Lars Petter Nordhaug kept hold of the blue leader's jersey as Team Sky helped to control the second stage at Tour de Yorkshire.


The Norwegian was protected by his team-mates on the 174-kilometre run in to York and crossed the line towards the head of the bunch to extend his advantage at the top of the standings to 10 seconds.


As expected the stage came down to a sprint finish, with Moreno Hofland (LottoNL-Jumbo) taking victory, narrowly edging out Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) in front of a packed crowd.


After his opening-stage heroics, Philip Deignan also kept hold of fifth overall, 16 seconds back on his team-mate.


After the finish Nordhaug, who also kept hold of the points jersey, admitted it had been another tough test.


He said: "It went okay today. The team rode really well on the front. We stayed together all day but it was quite a hectic final. It was a little stressful to stay at the front but the team did a good job and I'm happy.


"I wanted to save my legs as much as possible but it's never easy to stay at the front when it's laps like this and it's fast. It was a tough finish and I'm happy I didn't lose time.


"It's going to be a really hard race tomorrow and it will be a tough fight for the overall. We have two cards to play with me and Philip. Hopefully we can keep the jersey."


Earlier, after the stage start in Selby, eight riders jumped up the road. With best-placed man Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) almost four minutes down, Team Sky came to the front to control the situation on behalf of leader Nordhaug.


With the situation under control, other teams began to work to set up a sprint on the finishing circuit in York, with LottoNL-Jumbo, IAM Cycling and Cult Energy all highly active on the run in.


Bert De Backer (Giant-Alpecin) and Mark McNally (Madison Genesis) held a gap of 1:15 heading onto the final lap but it was no surprise to see it come back together for a sprint.


The race concludes on Sunday with what looks set to be a savage third stage which retraces much of the day one route of the 2014 Tour de France.


After the stage team Sports Director Rod Ellingworth explained he was happy with how the stage played out, with more than half an eye on Sunday's decider.


"The race panned out exactly how we wanted it today, and the crowds were unbelievable once again," he said. "To say the weather wasn't as good today, it was right up there in places with the crowds we experienced at the Tour de France last year. All the main towns and villages were absolutely heaving and everybody looked to be having a good time - I almost wish I'd been there with them. The support the team has received has been amazing.


"A lot of tomorrow's route we know from the Tour last year, but the other way around. David [Lopez] was the only rider here who rode then, so he'll inform the other riders, and we'll do as much as we can without race radios as well."


Chris Sutton was in the thick of the action during the stage, and added: "It was a hard day out there but the race situation suited us and the flat roads meant there were sprint teams who were willing do chase the breakaway.


"Ian [Boswell] and Nathan [Earle] both did a great job to keep things in check, but we had a lot of help. It was a hectic finish with a lot of road furniture, so we kept Lars near the front and out of trouble. I had to move him up a few times and those efforts meant I didn't have the legs for a decent sprint myself. I'd liked to have given it a go but I'm still finding my form after illness, so was happy to work for the team. We're another day down now and hopefully we can bring home the jersey tomorrow."



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