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Just as he did last year, Roger Hammond has bounced back from the disappointment of not being able to pull back the lead group on the opening stage of the Tour of Britain by winning the second stage. The Discovery Channel rider won the sprint into Liverpool, beating Skil-Shimano's Aart Vierhouten, with British duo Russell Downing (DFL) and Mark Cavendish (T-Mobile) finishing third and fourth respectively.
The three breakaways who dominated the opening stage of the race continued what is likely to be their own personal battle for the race title. After being outpaced by CSC's Martin Pedersen yesterday, Australian teenager Matt Goss (AIS) struck back by taking some bonus seconds in intermediate sprints to take the overall lead by just two seconds from the Dane.
Unlike yesterday, a break soon after the field had set off from Blackpool was not allowed to build an unsurmountable lead. The two Davitamon-Lotto riders involved were hauled back by the bunch, setting up a sprint in Liverpool, which Hammond, riding for the Great Britain team, won just as he had last year.
"This is a totally different feeling to last year when I won the stage but the race was already over," said 32-year-old Hammond. "I didn't even think about winning until the last five kilometres but it was a great team effort from Great Britain."
Goss described himself as "stoked to be wearing the yellow jersey. This is the biggest tour that I've ever led. It's going to be tough to hold on to it."
The 19-year-old Aussie is certain to be tested on Thursday's stage through Yorkshire, the toughest of the race. It starts in Bradford and takes in several climbs in the Peak District before dropping into Sheffield.
Stage 2, Blackpool-Liverpool
1 Roger Hammond (GB) Great Britain
2 Aart Vierhouten (Hol) Skil-Shimano
3 Russell Downing (GB) DFL
4 Mark Cavendish (GB) T-Mobile
5 James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
6 Francesco Chicci (Ita) Quick Step
7 Alex Rasmussen (Den) Denmark
8 Enrico Degano (Ita) Barloworld
9 Ren Weissinger (Ger) Skil-Shimano
10 Jeremy Hunt (GB) Unibet.com
1 Matthew Goss (Aus) AIS 7.57.35
2 Martin Pedersen (Den) CSC 0.02
3 Luis Pasamontes (Spa) Unibet.com 0.08
4 Hammond 2.44
5 Vierhouten 2.48
6 Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Davitamon-Lott
7 Downing 2.50
8 Bert Roesems (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto
9 Iljo Keisse (Bel) Chocolade Jacques 2.52
10 Chicci 2.54
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