WITH a sprint to victory in the first stage of The Tour of Britain, Belgian rider Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo – Visma) has set up a thrilling second stage through Devon today (Monday).
THE AJ Bell Tour of Britain, the UK’s biggest professional cycle race, is poised to get underway from Sherford to Exeter and here are the estimated times you will be able to see them on the 184km route.
Devon Stage - Stage Two (Estimated times)
Start - Sherford (Hercules Road) 11:00
SKODA KOM - Strete/Blackpool Sands 12:30
Sprint - Torcross 12:40
Sprint - Kingsbridge 12:56
Sprint - Tavistock 14:08
SKODA KOM - Rundlestone 14:10
SKODA KOM - Postbridge/Warren House Inn 14:39
Finish - Exeter (Queen Street) 15:37
The race returns to Devon after an absence of 722 days following the cancellation of the 2020 event due to the pandemic with a star studded field headlined by Mark Cavendish, reigning World Champion Julian Alaphilippe and Tokyo 2020 silver medallists Wout van Aert and Ethan Hayter.
Speaking ahead of the race Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) said: ‘I’m here at Tour of Britain to race at home and get results for Deceuninck – Quick Step. The team we have here at the race is very strong.
‘There’s a lot of natural beauty here in the south west and frankly we’ve got good weather, but it’s different racing in Britain on heavy roads and they build fatigue so starting down here puts fatigue in the legs.’
The star studded 107-rider line-up contains five reigning national road race champions and a total of seventeen different nationalities represented.
AJ Bell Tour of Britain Race Director Mick Bennett said: ‘The fact that we were unable to run the Tour of Britain in 2020 was enough to raise the excitement level going into this year’s event.
‘Yet, combined with the truly spectacular and challenging route we’ve designed, the quality of this year’s start list makes me believe that we’re about to witness one of the most exciting editions of the modern race to date.’
The race got underway with an opening 180.8-kilometre (112.4-mile) stage through Cornwall from Penzance to Bodmin yesterday, Sunday.
Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo – Visma) sprinted to victory in the opening stage of the AJ Bell Tour of Britain heading home Nils Eekhoff (Team DSM) and Gonzalo Serrano (Movistar Team).
Van Aert followed a Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) attack with 500 metres go before jumping off his wheel with less than 300 metres remaining to open up his sprint which couldn’t be matched on the St Nicholas Street climb.
Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) had buried himself in the services of teammate Alaphilippe before pulling off with two kilometres to go, leaving INEOS Grenadiers to lead the race out onto the final sting in the tail in Bodmin but it was ultimately Alaphilippe and van Aert dictating matters.
With the stage victory – on his AJ Bell Tour of Britain debut – van Aert moves into the race lead with a four-second advantage over Eekhoff with Serrano a further two seconds in arrears. Ethan Hayter (INEOS Grenadiers) is the top Brit in fourth overall, the same spot as his Stage One finishing position.
Speaking after the stage, Wout van Aert said: ‘Being here it was almost overwhelming seeing the amount of crowds at the side of the roads, we have been missing this in the last two years and it’s nice to see people outside again and especially in a crowd together, it’s nice to see people are so crazy about cycling, it makes it more beautiful when we win.’