PIC BY TOUROFBRITAIN.COM
After being caught changing his shorts when the decisive break went on yesterday's first stage of the Tour of Britain, Roger Hammond was determined to make amends on today's run to Blackpool. On secondment from his Discovery Channel squad to act as leader of a very promising but relatively inexperienced Great Britain team, Hammond wasted no time in breaking clear of the peloton and produced an epic ride into stormy Blackpool to win the stage, with Britons Robin Sharman and Mark Cavendish completing the top three.
Hammond led a three-man breakaway just 10 miles into the stage from Carlisle that skirted the Lake District and flirted with thunderstorms rumbling across northern England. Alongside Recycling.co.uk's Sharman and Chocolade Jacques' Kevin van Impe, nephew of 1976 Tour de France winner Lucien, Hammond built an impressive advantage that peaked at nearly 11 minutes.
As torrential rain set in, the bunch began to claw back the leading trio's advantage. Van Impe fell by the wayside, but Hammond and Sharman just managed to hang on.
"I didn't get much sleep because I was struggling to come to terms that my race, for the general classification at least, was over," said Hammond. "I am not a very happy person when things go wrong and I wanted to prove to myself that things are going in the right direction, especially with the World Championships just around the corner.
"I could have waited for a bunch sprint but I decided to do it my way. We made a mistake on the first day but that doesn't make it any easier. We've put things back on track now and my anger from the first stage probably helped."
Recycling's Sharman may not have had the speed to match the former British champion, but he led the race over Shap Fell and Blease Hill to take the King of the Mountains jersey into tomorrow's third stage, which features four climbs, including Holme Moss and Snake Pass.
Stage 2, Carlisle-Blackpool
1 Roger Hammond (GB) Great Britain 162.3km in 3.58.48 (40.78kph)
2 Robin Sharman (GB) Recycling.co.uk 0.05
3 Mark Cavendish (GB) Great Britain 0.10
4 Luca Paolini (Ita) Quick Step
5 Eric Baumann (Ger) T-Mobile
6 Jeremy Hunt (GB) MrBookmaker.com
7 Javier Cherro (Spa) Comunitat Valenciana
8 Lars Michaelsen (Den) CSC
9 Takehiro Mizutani (Jpn) Bridgestone
10 James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
1 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Quick Step-Innergetic 4.24.20
2 Michael Blaudzun (Den) CSC 0.07
3 Cherro 0.10
4 Hunt 0.11
5 Yanto Barker (GB) DFL 0.16
6 Michael Rogers (Aus) Quick Step 0.16
7 Bert de Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
8 Tom Southam (GB) Barloworld 0.17
9 Peter Mazur (Pol) Navigators
10 Erwin Thijs (Bel) MrBookmaker.com 0.17
PIC BY TOUROFBRITAIN.COM