Commonwealth Games time trial champion Cameron Meyer won the second stage of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain today, surviving to the finish line in Barnstaple after spending the whole day in the breakaway.
The breakaway group of five riders gradually whittled down over the climbs coming into the final, leaving just Meyer and Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF) to battle it out for the victory.
Meyer used his experience and turn of speed in the closing metres to hold off a chasing group by a couple of seconds and sprint to the stage win.
Making the move
The start of the second 174km stage from Cranbrook saw a battle to get into the day’s initial breakaway with Meyer jumping into the right move which successfully established in the first 20km.
The group quickly open up a solid lead with the peloton happy to let them go. Working well together over the undulating terrain, the lead continued to increase, reaching a maximum advantage of over six and a half minutes as they entered the final 100km.
The peloton splits
With 25km remaining the advantage was sliced down due to a hard chase behind and the leaders hovered just over one minute ahead.
As they started to climb the category one Challacombe Hill, a 1.3km ascent with gradients reaching 22 percent, the breakaway reduced to just three riders and the peloton behind also significantly shattered.
Tonelli and Meyer continued to work hard to keep ahead of the chasers as their other breakaway companion Scott Davies (Dimension-Data) finally dropped off the fierce pace.
Dangerous chase group
After the climb, a chasing group formed and with some strong and dangerous riders present it was touch and go whether Meyer and Tonelli could hold on to the finish line as they hovered just 10seconds ahead as they passed the flamme rouge.
In the final few hundred metres, Meyer, a track specialist, launched from the wheel of Tonelli with a rapid turn of speed and to the stage win.
Meyer now heads into tomorrow’s third stage in second place overall but on the same time as the new leader Tonelli and as the leader of the points classification.
“It was tough conditions and in the end it was a great bike race to finish like that, to come down to the last kilometre and throw my hands in the air is really cool.
“It is a bit of a shock and a bit of a surprise to take the win today.
“We will see what the next days bring. We have Caleb Ewan who was second yesterday and is in good form sprinting so for the sprint stages we will obviously look to him and we will see what I can do for the rest of the tour.”
OVO Energy Tour of Britain stage 2:
1. Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 4:14
2. Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF) +0:01
3. Patrick Bevin (BMC) +0:02
General classification after stage 2:
1. Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF) 8:15
2. Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
3. Patrick Bevin (BMC) +0:08