OVO Energy Tour of Britain: Dillier in the Breakaway, Gerts Sprints to Seventh4. September 2017, Blyth (GBR) — Road Team
With 211.7km of racing to cover, stage 2 was the longest of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain and saw Silvan Dillier riding as part of the day’s breakaway before moving up the General Classification while Floris Gerts sprinted to his second consecutive top ten finish.
The attacks began as soon as the flag dropped with several riders, including Dillier, eager to force an early move and their efforts paid off with a group of seven riders going clear and beginning to build up an advantage after only 5km of racing on stage 2.
Less than 10km later, the successful breakaway was over three minutes ahead of the peloton as Dillier and the six other riders forged on ahead, extending their lead to a maximum of just over 7’30” as they continued to tackle the hilly first half of the day, which included all three categorized climbs.
This prompted a reaction from behind, with the sprinters’ teams, in an effort to keep control of the race, picking up the pace and pulling the leaders back to around four minutes, 100km from the line, while the rest of BMC Racing Team maintained a comfortable position in the bunch.
Despite the speed of the peloton, the breakaway pushed on, with Dillier digging deep and driving the pace to take maximum points and bonus seconds at the second intermediate sprint but with just under 60km to go, and another fast and furious finish expected, a determined final chase began.
As Dillier and the five remaining breakaway riders got their first sight of the finish line and headed onto the 19km loop around Blyth, the peloton was trailing by less than 30 seconds as Matthew Holmes (Madison Genesis) attacked at the head of the race as the other riders were swept up by the bunch.
The peloton charged under the flamme rouge with the riders locked together before the final sprint was launched. In the end, it was Elia Viviani (Team Sky) who took the day’s honors, and inherited the leader’s jersey, in a contentious finish which saw Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Dimension Data) relegated for irregular sprinting.
Once again, Gerts was in the mix at the business end of today’s stage and was able to show his speed, jumping from wheel to where before powering to the line to secure seventh, bettering his result from yesterday.
The rest of BMC Racing Team crossed the line safely, with Dillier moving into fifth overall on the General Classification after collecting bonus seconds throughout his time at the front of the race.
Quotes From the Finish Line
"The first part was quite hilly today and then the second part was mostly headwind, so it was a pretty hard day. In the end, I think it was difficult for everyone and a solid day of racing even for the guys in the bunch. I had good legs today, and I was able to get some bonus seconds which was the main goal for me. I think the overall victory could potentially be decided by the time trial, but I want to give everything and arrive there in the best position possible. For me, this race is a good way to prepare for the UCI World Championships. This is my last race before going to Norway, and I want to get a bit more shape here before that."
"The final was pretty hectic today. I think everyone wanted to be at the front at some key points, and we also had a bigger bunch with more sprinters in the mix, so I didn't expect to finish with a better result today. I felt confident in the final kilometers, and I didn't lose my focus. Maybe in the final kilometer, I could have had even more confidence as I waited a little bit too long and I know that I can't overtake them in the end. I have to ride smart which I think I did and finishing seventh is good for me and I am happy with that. The guys were there to help me in the end and keep me in a good position at the end so, it was a really nice day for me and the team. Silvan Dillier also had a good day. He was out in front, and it was good that he could take some bonus seconds and move up the GC."
Sports Director, Valerio Piva:
"The plan was to be aggressive especially at the start as the first 50 or 60km were really hard so we wanted the guys to be in the moves and Silvan Dillier was part of the right group that eventually went away. As always, he was good out at the front of the race, and he was able to take some bonus seconds and move up the General Classification which is good looking ahead to the rest of the week and the time trial. With more or less 10km to go, we had Floris Gerts ready for the sprint, and he was good once again. I am happy with what we did today, it was the maximum we could do, and we will continue like this and arrive at the time trial with everyone in a good position."
OVO Energy Tour of Britain
Stage 2: Kielder Water & Forest Park > Blyth, 211.7km
Top 3: 1. Elia Viviani (Team Sky) 2. Dylan Groenewegen (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) 3. Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 7. Floris Gerts 37. Stefan Küng 44. Silvan Dillier