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Vermote continues Tour of Britain winning streak

Some races simply bring out the best in people and that can certainly be said for Julien Vermote and his relationship with the Tour of Britain.

The Kortrijk-born rider is often cast as a workhorse at the deeply talented Etixx-QuickStep team but on the roads to Kendal on stage 2 he had a chance to shine and duly made the most of it. This is a race that certainly suits the 27-year-old whose only other victory outside of Belgium came in this race back in 2014.

Coached by Tom Steels, Vermote persuaded his mentor and team management to send him to the Tour of Britain. The rolling terrain, coupled with the aggressive nature of the racing allows Vermote to express himself. He moved into the early break, survived when a clutch of GC rivals came across and then jumped his final breakaway companion, Steve Cummings, on the climb to the finish line. A stage win and the race lead was a worthy award for a rider who typically spends most of his time riding in the services of others.

"I'm really happy that I could take another stage win here at the Tour of Britain. When I won in Brighton it was a similar day, always up and down. I knew that once the break had gone that it would be hard for them to catch us. The final was hard, with that step climb with 30 kilometres to go but I knew that it was too early to go from that point. In the final some riders came back and once I saw Cummings I knew I had to stay on his wheel because once he has a gap he's gone," he said in his winner's press conference.

"I asked the team if I could come here because normally it's not on my programme. It's a race with lots of opportunities. The teams only have six riders and it's really tough with roads that go up and down all day. After all the work I have to do for other riders, the leaders of the team, it's nice to win as well."

Although Vermote doesn't hold court in press conferences all too often he said all the right things after his win, leaving the race organisers purring with how he compared the roads between Carlisle and Kendal to a grander setting back home.

"It's a bit like a Tour of Flanders with a lot of people cheering and also it's an open race and hard to control with the small teams and the ups and downs all day. If you get in the break it's an advantage. It's real racing."

Sound bites over with and Vermote made clear that he would use this race in order to seal a place on the Etixx squad for the team time trial at the World Championships and that although he now holds the leader's jersey, his overall ambitions in the race were somewhat limited.

"There are a lot of strong time trialists here and this is also a really hard race to control. With only six it's not so easy but we'll see. I'll try but with Cummings he will be close. Maybe the uphill finishes will be too hard for me but I'll enjoy my time in yellow." 

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