Colossal crowds on the Cote de Cow and Calf watched Magnus Cort Nielsen launch a stinging late attack to win the Tour de Yorkshire’s first-ever summit finish.
Ilkley’s most iconic climb was bathed in sunshine for the culmination of day two and the action proved equally colourful as some of the best riders in the business battled it out for an historic stage success.
Defending champion Serge Pauwels (Team Dimension Data) kicked things off on the infamous ascent but was passed by Olympic gold medallist Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) on one of the steepest sections. All the while Nielsen (Astana Pro Team) had been waiting in the wings though and the Dane timed his last-gasp attack to perfection and stole the headlines.
That triumph meant Nielsen took control of the blue leader’s jersey sponsored by Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries and opened up a four-second advantage over Van Avermaet at the top of the general classification.
Thursday’s stage winner Harry Tanfield (Canyon Eisberg) fought back from an early tumble and the Yorkshireman will wear the green jersey sponsored by Asda on Saturday as he remains top of the sprint classification.
Tanfield’s fellow breakaway accomplice from stage one – Michael Cuming (Madison Genesis) – also retained the red best climber’s jersey sponsored by Virgin Trains while One Pro Cycling rider Tom Baylis was voted into the grey most active rider jersey sponsored by Dimension Data via a live Twitter poll on @letouryorkshire
Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive Sir Gary Verity said:
It’s been another great day. We had a fantastic finish to the Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race and experienced brilliant crowds for both races. Barnsley and Ilkley proved themselves admirable host towns and the glorious weather helped us show off the county once again.
Every town and village we went through was full of people and the imaginative ways they chose to celebrate the races passing was truly heart-warming to see.
The finale of the men’s race was really exciting and the riders looked shattered as they crossed the line. They’ll sleep well tonight and then be good to go again in Richmond tomorrow.
I’m sure that’ll be another exciting stage, and while we’re expecting the sprinters to come to the fore in Scarborough, Harry Tanfield showed yesterday that anything is possible. That’s what makes cycling such an enthralling spectacle.
Stage two winner Magnus Cort Nielsen said:
It was a relatively short stage today but a really hard one. My team supported me and I am very grateful to them for believing in me. I gave everything I had in that uphill sprint to the line and now I want to defend this jersey.
I’m really enjoying this race. It’s not a WorldTour race but with the crowds it certainly feels like it. There are so many people on the side of the roads and it’s like racing the Tour de France.
- Magnus Cort (DEN) Astana Pro Team – 3:25:34
- Greg Van Avaermaet (BEL) BMC Racing
- Eduard Prades Reverter (SPA) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
- Serge Pauwels (BEL) Dimension Data
- Jonathan Hivert (FRA) Direct Energie +5 sec
General Classification after stage two
- Magnus Cort (Den) Astana Pro Team – 7:33:41
- Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team +4 sec
- Eduard Prades Reverter (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias +6 sec
- Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data +10 sec
- Colin Joyce (USA) Rally Cycling +15 sec
Full information on the Tour de Yorkshire and Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race can be found at http://letouryorkshire.com