Van Avermaet Battles to Second on Tour de Yorkshire Summit Finish4. May 2018, Ilkley (GBR) — Road Team
After a strong day of racing from his BMC Racing Team teammates, Greg Van Avermaet was locked in an exciting uphill battle to the line and was able to show his strength to take a close second and jump up the General Classification at the same time.
Stage 2 saw the peloton tackle the first summit finish in the Tour de Yorkshire’s history with the race finishing on the slopes of the Côte de Cow and Calf, a 1.8km climb with an average gradient of 8.2% and pitches of over 11% in places.
After a tough opening to the race, six riders, including Patrick Bevin, went clear but the peloton didn’t want to give them too much room for maneuver and after dangling just 20 seconds off the front, they were caught with 100km, of the 149km course, still to come.
Heading into the second half of the race with two of the day’s three categorized climbs still to come, four riders had been able to break free of the peloton’s grip and with 70km to go, they were holding onto an advantage of almost three minutes.
Nathan Van Hooydonck was continuing setting a strong tempo at the front of the peloton and after his impressive effort, the peloton reached the top of the Côte de Old Pool Bank, a 1km climb with an average gradient of 10%, just 20 seconds behind the one remaining breakaway rider.
With only 18km left of stage 2, the race started to heat up with BMC Racing Team driving hard at the front of the regrouped bunch as riders began to drop off the back on the approach to the bottom of the punchy final ascent to the line.
Despite a late solo attack, a select group of riders hit the climb all together with Bevin leading Van Avermaet and Brent Bookwalter onto the base of the climb before the steep slopes began to take their toll.
Van Avermaet was able to respond to all of the explosive moves and looked strong on the road up to the finish line which was lined with excited spectators, who eventually witnessed a thrilling showdown to the line.
In the end, it was Magnus Cort Nielsen (Astana Pro Team) who took the day’s honors and inherited the leader’s jersey with Van Avermaet finishing just behind to take second and move into second overall on the General Classification, four seconds back.
Bookwalter also rode well on the final climb and he fought all the way to the line before finishing tenth, 11 seconds behind Cort Nielsen, which saw him jump up to ninth overall, 21 seconds back.
Tom Bohli was unfortunately involved in a crash on a descent inside the first 40km of stage 2 and was forced to stop racing. A medical update will be provided when available.
Quotes From the Finish Line:
Greg Van Avermaet:
“It was not that easy. It was a really hard day from the start. I felt pretty ok actually. I was pretty happy with the legs that I had. I gave it a try but Nielsen was pretty impressive when he went over me. I think he deserved the win and I have a nice second place. I was waiting for someone else to start the sprint from pretty far but everyone was waiting for me I think. I think I went in the right moment but like I said, it was not a close finish so I think he deserved the win and I’m pretty happy with second place. We will see on Sunday for the General Classification. It will be a really hard stage, I’ll try to survive and have a good sprint in the end."
Sports Director, Klaas Lodewyck:
“The stage started with a bit of bad luck as Bohli crashed out of the race. But, we adapted quickly to the situation and Van Hooydonck really stepped up and was doing a lot of good work. Everything was going as we planned and we set Greg up really well for the final climb.”
“We gave it a try and unfortunately we finished second. It was a really close call though. We took responsibility and we did what we had to do and finishing second is hard. But, we saw that Greg, who is coming out of a break, is in good shape so we can be happy.”
“We need to continue working for the next two days. I think some people are underestimating the parcours here. It’s really hard and I think we will need to be awake tomorrow and ready to fight again as for me, it will be another important day for the General Classification.”
Tour de Yorkshire
Stage 2: Barnsley > Ilkley, 149km
Top 3: 1. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Astana Pro Team) 2. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) 3. Eduard Prades (Euskadi - Murias)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 2. Greg Van Avermaet 10. Brent Bookwalter 19. Patrick Bevin
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.