Vakoc upends Tour of Britain with solo romp

Etixx-QuickStep says it's impossible to defend the jersey to the finish

Petr Vakoc (Etixx-QuickStep) put on an impressive display of his emerging talent on stage 2 at the Tour of Britain, soloing to a stage victory to put himself in to the leader's yellow jersey.

Vakoc was one of eight riders to jump off the front as the race broke up on the penultimate climb of the day. The Czech national champion decided that he wasn't going to make to the line with his companions and dispatched them with less than 20 kilometres remaining.

Vakoc had to summon all of his power to hold off the closing pack on the final drag to the line, which proved to be much harder than many expected. "I knew from the profile that it would be uphill but to be honest I didn't know how much. It was a pretty tough finish. In the last kilometres, I was hoping that it wouldn't be too hard but in the end I had some energy left. Normally, such finishes suit me well and I was just imagining that I was be doing a bunch sprint with 200 metres to go and I was just sprinting and hoping nobody would pass me," Vakoc said after the stage.

"I didn't really expect to ride like this today but I woke up this morning with good sensations. Normally I'm not so good when there is a very hard start to the stage but today I felt good."

The 23-year-old neo-pro is in his second year with Etixx-QuickStep and is a promising talent, so much so that he's signed up with the team until 2017. In his opening two seasons, Vakoc has secured an impressive solo victory at the 2014 Tour de Pologne, and beat team Sky's Leopold Konig to become Czech champion this year. As a part-time student, he was able to compete in the University Games where he won both the road race and time trial.

As his career's progressed, finding time to study has been a lot harder though and he's had to put his economics degree on the back burner. "I've been studying for three years but I haven't finished my bachelors studies. For the moment I have put it on hold, since January, and right now I'm wondering if I will continue or not because I don't really have time for it. It would be a pity to throw away the years I spent on it. For the moment, I put it on hold."

Vakoc goes into the third stage with a small 11-second lead over Movistar's Juan Jose Lobato, who finished second behind him on the day. Etixx-QuickStep were in a similar position last season when Michal Kwiatkowski took yellow but lost it to Alex Dowsett soon after. They've learned their lesson the hard way and Brian Holm said after stage 1 that should they get the jersey they would not try to control the race, Vakoc echoed that sentiment.

"It's impossible to ride all the stages defending the jersey and controlling the race, it's just too much so we'll have to figure out how the tactics will be. Even with a really strong team I think that it will be impossible to control the race from start to finish," he said. "There will be some sprint finishes when we go for Mark and I think we still have to decide the tactics of the next stages and it won't be easy."

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