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Having gone into the stage as plan B, Renshaw took over sprinting duties from Cavendish and beat Swift and Bennett in the final dash to the line to win the stage and take the overall lead

Photo: OPQS / Tim De Waele

MARK RENSHAW

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QUICK-STEP - ALPHA VINYL

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SAM BENNETT

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TOUR OF BRITAIN

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08.09.2014 @ 19:11 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Mark Renshaw took his first victory in Omega Pharma-Quick Step colours when he took a surprise victory in stage 2 of the Tour of Britian. Initially set to support an injured Mark Cavendish, the Australian got his chance to sprint when his captain was dropped, and he easily passed Ben Swift (Sky) to win the stage and take the overall lead.

 

Having been signed as a lead-out man for Mark Cavendish, Mark Renshaw hasn’t had many chances to sprint for himself in his first year as an Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider. Today he went into stage 2 of the Tour of Britain with the plan to play his usual support role but things turned out in an unexpected way when he took his first win for his new team.

 

A hilly finale was too much for Cavendish who was dropped on the final climb and so Renshaw was given his own chance to sprint. When Bradley Wiggins (Sky) had brought back Alex Dowsett (Movistar) and Sylvain Chavanel (IAM) who had launched a dangerous attack on the descent, Ben Swift launched a long sprint and seemed to be riding away with the win.

 

However, Renshaw was perfectly positioned on the Brit’s wheel and seemed to be at ease when he passed the Sky sprinter. Sam Bennett (NetApp-Endura) rolled across the line as a distant third.

 

After the opening sprint win for Marcel Kittel, the Tour of Britain continued with a 200.8km stage from Knowsley to the Welsh city of Llandudno. After a flat two thirds, things got difficult in the finale where the riders tackled three category 2 climbs before they descended the final 5km to the flat finish.

 

The riders took off under a dry sky but there was no Ian Stannard (Sky) in the peloton. The Brit crashed in yesterday’s sprint and was out of the race with a broken scaphoid.

 

The stage got off to a very fast start with lots of attacks and it took some time for the early break to be established. At one point, 25 riders had a 40-second advantage and from this group Alex Dowsett (Movistar) attacked to win the first sprint and of Martijn Verschoor (Novo Nordisk) and Tom Scully (Madison).

 

While a crash took Hugh Carty (Rapha) and Daniel Pearson (Great Britain) out of the race, Sky were chasing hard and they managed to bring the big group back. Instead, a new break was created when Ian Bibby (Madison), Christopher Lawless (Great Britain), Lasse Norman (Garmin), Robert Patridge (Giordana) and Pablo Lastras (Movistar) got a gap.

 

KOM leader Mark McNally (An Post) managed to bridge the gap while a similar attempt from Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff-Saxo) was futile. The Italian was in pursuit for a long time but finally surrendered.

 

The gap reached four minutes before Sky hit the front. When they reached the second sprint, Bernhard Eisel had brought it down to 2.50.

 

Bibby beat Lawless and Norman in the battle for the bonus seconds and points while Norman was faster than Lawless and Bibby in the third sprint. The gap was now 3.30 and for most of the day, Eisel kept it around that mark.

 

With 62km to go, McNally beat Bibby in a sprint for the first KOM points and he was again faster than the Madison rider in the second battle. Eisel suffered a punctured which briefly had David Lopez working on the front and at that point the gap was only 2.40.

 

However, the front group made a strong reaction and with 26km to go, the escapees had extended their advantage to 3.10. This was the signal for more team to kick into action, and NFTO, Julien Vermote (OPQS) and Rasmus Guldhammer (Tinkoff) now joined Eisel on the front.

 

That had a clear effect and with 20km to go, the gap was only 1.45. Lawless had now been dropped from the break which was 1 minute ahead with 11km to go.

 

Bibby and Partridge fell off the pace while OPQS had now taken complete control of the peloton. Michal Golas led the bunch onto the final climb with 7km to go, less than 30 seconds behind the leaders.

 

Christopher Juul (Tinkoff) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin) launched a strong attack and just before the top, they joined the front group together with a BMC rider who had made a solo attack. Just as the junction was made, Lastras attacked but as they crested the summit, it was all back together

 

Chavanel and Jack Bauer (Garmin) attacked on the descent but they never got a gap. Instead, Michal Kwiatkowski (OPQS) soloed clear and he stayed ahead until NetApp-Endura brought him back 2.5km from the line.

 

Niki Terpstra (OPQS), Ion Izagirre (Movistar) and Jerome Pineau (IAM) all tried to attack but it was Dowsett who soloed clear with less than 2km to go. Chavanel took off in pursuit while NetApp-Endura stretd to chase.

 

Chavanel joined Dowsett under the flamme rouge but moments later Bradley Wiggins had brought it back together. He stayed on the front until Swift launched his sprint but it was Renshaw who took the win.

 

With the win, Renshaw took the overall lead from Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) who was dropped on the final climb. He goes into stage 3 with a 4-second lead over Swift but will have a hard time defending his position. Day 3 is the day of the queen stage which offers a category 2 and two category 3 climbs in the first half before a flat middle section leads to a summit finish on the brutal climb known as The Tumble.

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