The end of stage one of the tour resulted in a number of big names getting off the bike. Ben Swift with a right shoulder trauma, young Irish rider Eddie Dunbar sustaining the same injury but on his left side, both riders were casualties in the crash at the front of the peloton. We also saw the early retirement of Marcel Kittel who had only just returned from illness.
Stage two started with a large group going clear early in the day, with some quality riders involved including Bert de Backer (Giant-Alpecin), Andy Tennant (Team Wiggins), Mark McNally (Madison-Genesis) and Matt Brammeier (MTN-Qhubeka). The group built up a five minute lead which they held for quite some time. The job of reeling them in was left to the team of the GC leader Lars-Petter Nordhaug. Team Sky got to work. The lead group fragmented, the remains; McNally and De Backer put in an extra effort to stay away as the race arrived on the outskirts of York for the two lap finish. The attempt was looking successful until the final few kilometres of the last lap.
The pace lifted as Team Sky gained allies on the front of the peloton; IAM Cycling, NFTO, Roompot-Orange Peloton and One Pro Cycling, the race started to look more like an angry swarm of bees, as the riders were strung out behind the four teams.
In the meantime De Backer was showing his strength and he managed to shake off McNally. With just a few kilos to go it was looking less like he would manage a lone arrival at the finish, the peloton was closing in fast. As the the race reached the 2km marker the peloton were on his tail, they could smell a bunch sprint finish. Loic Chetout (Cofidis) attacked and pulled his way up to De Backer, this small victory was short-lived as the peloton came charging past at the Flame Rouge.
Greg van Avermaet had a dig and gapped the peloton for a moment but the final moments came down to Pelucchi and Hofland battling it out for the win. The Team LottoNL-Jumbo rider just pipped Pelucchi to the post. All the hard work of Team LottoNL-Jumbo this season finally paid off, their first win of the year!
The first British rider to reach the line in the sprint was Russ Downing (Cult Energy Pro Cycling) – a Yorkshireman too!
No change overall in the standings as Lars-Petter Nordhaug finished in the bunch.
Tour de Yorkshire 2015: stage two results
1) Moreno Hofland (NED) – Team LottoNL-Jumbo – 3.57.58hrs
2) Matteo Pelucchi (ITA) – IAM Cycling – ST
3) Roman Sinkeldam (NED) – Giant-Alpecin
4) Jempy Drucker (NED) – BMC Racing
5) Dylan Groenewegen (NED) – Roompot Orange Peloton
6) Andre Looij (NED) – Roompot Orange Peloton
7) Russ Downing (GBR) – Cult Energy Pro Cycling
8) Andreas Stauff (GER) – MTN-Qhubeka
9) Harry Tanfield (GBR) – Condor-JLT
10) Pieter Vanspeybrouck (BEL) – Topsport-Vlaanderen Baloise
1) Lars-Petter Nordhaug (NOR) – Team Sky – 8.20.26hrs
2) Samuel Sanchez (ESP) – BMC Racing +10”
3) Thomas Voeckler (FRA) – Team Europcar – ST
4) Stephane Rossetto (FRA) – Cofidis +12”
5) Philip Deignan (IRL) – Team Sky +16”
6) Anthony Turgis (FRA) – Cofidis +1.18
7) Greg van Avermaet (BEL) – BMC Racing +1.20
8) Erick Rowsell (GBR) – Madison-Genesis – ST
9) Ben Hermans (BEL) – BMC Racing +1.23
10) Richard Handley (GBR) – JLT-Condor +1.26