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Hello and welcome to our live coverage of stage 2 of the 2018 Tour of Britain. It might only be the second day but already we're looking at one of the toughest days of the race, with three categorised climbs and several more besides. Race leader André Greipel will have some job on his hands if he wants to keep his green jersey tomorrow.
Today's stage runs through Devon in the south-west of England, 174.9km from Cranbrook to Barnstaple. There's climbing from the very start – before the official start, even.
The first categorised climb of the day comes within the first 10km, while a number of unclassified climbs feature before the second and first category climbs in the final 60km.
Today's stage should be the first showdown between the GC contenders, with Quick Step Floors looking ominously strong on yesterday's final climb.
André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) triumphed on stage 1 in Wales yesterday. The German bested Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) and Fernando Gaviria (Quick Step Floors) in the sprint finish in Newport after a hectic run-in that saw the Quick Step duo of Julian Alaphilippe and Bob Jungels go on the attack.
The race figures to be one of Greipel's final outings for Lotto-Soudal, the team he's been with for seven years. Next year he's off to French ProConti team Fortuneo-Samsic, in one of the more surprising transfer moves of the year.
Here's the general classification going into the stage. It's likely to be all change today, considering the day's route.
1. André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) 4:00:44
2. Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) +00:04
3. Fernando Gaviria (Quick Step Floors) +00:06
4. Gabriel Cullaigh (Team WIGGINS) +00:10
5. Jürgen Roelandts (BMC)
6. Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Groupe Gobert)
7. Ethan Hayter (Great Britain)
8. Paolo Simion (Bardiani-CSF)
9. Vincenzo Albanese (Bardiani-CSF)
10. Wout Poels (Team Sky)
And we're off! There's a 7.4km neutralised section to start with. The first climb of the day – Chineway Hill comes after just 6.7km of the stage proper. It's a second category climb, measuring 2.8km at an average of 5.5%.
8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 points are on offer on the climb, and we could see Nic Dlamini (Dimension Data) on the attack again as he looks to consolidate his KOM lead.
There's been a crash in the neutralised zone. Miles Scotson (BMC) and Neilson Powless (LottoNL-Jumbo) are involved in a touch of wheels along with a Great Britain rider. The start proper has been held up slightly while the trio get back up and running.
The peloton have now been stopped altogether as we wait for the crash victims to rejoin them.
174km remaining from 174km
And now the flag has been dropped. The pace is fast from the go as the peloton race towards that second category climb.
British Continental teams One Pro Cycling, JLT-Condor and Canyon-Eisberg are prominent at the front of the peloton, no doubt looking to make the break of the day.
Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin) has gone off the front on the climb. He's riding with his arms draped over bars, powering away with a JLT-Condor rider on his wheel.
169km remaining from 174km
Martin is still up front, but a number of riders have made their way to his wheel, meaning he's pretty much just leading the peloton for now.
Jonathan McEvoy (Madison-Genesis) is now off the front. Several riders have gone with him as they near the top of the climb.
It looks like that group will be let go by the peloton – they have a decent gap now.
Scott Davies (Dimension Data) is one of the men out front. He's pushing on alone and gets 8 points over the top – clearly he's protecting teammate Nic Dlamini's KOM jersey.
7km remaining from 174km
Tom Baylis (One Pro Cycling) is up there with Davies on the descent. No confirmation yet of the other men out front.
166km remaining from 174km
No confirmation yet on who took the remainder of the KOM points on Chineway Hill either.
163km remaining from 174km
The nascent break has been brought back, and now we have the peloton all together.
Here's confirmation of the top five to take KOM points at Chineway Hill:
1. Scott Davies (Dimension Data), 8pts
2. Tom Baylis (One Pro Cycling), 7pts
3. Jonathan McEvoy (Madison-Genesis), 6pts
4. Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Énergie), 5pts
5. Alistair Slater (JLT-Condor), 4pts
159km remaining from 174km
Now a group of five has clipped off the front. Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF), Erick Rowsell (Madison-Genesis), Scott Davies (Dimension Data), Matthew Teggart (Team WIGGINS), Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott) have a ten-second gap as they race down a narrow, shaded descent.
The peloton seems to have calmed down now. It looks like the five men out front will be our break of the day.
155km remaining from 174km
And, in just a few kilometres, the gap has shot up to 55 seconds. Now everybody can take some time to calm down after that hectic start.
The riders are climbing again. Check the profile for that unclassified climb early on – that's where we are now. It may not be classified but it looks just as tough as the second category climb that started the day.
Quick Step Floors DS Brian Holm has been speaking on the phone to British channel ITV4. The Dane talked about the finish of stage 1 before going on to praise Julian Alaphilippe, who attacked along with Bob Jungels on the late climb.
Four of the riders in today's break finished in the peloton yesterday and are 10 seconds down on race leader Greipel. Rowsell, meanwhile, lies 116th overall at 4:57.
Regardless, it's unlikely that this group will stay away on such a tough stage, so we're probably not looking at a new race leader in the break.
146km remaining from 174km
The gap between the break and the peloton is now just over 4 minutes and seems to be settling at that mark.
Unsurprisingly, Lotto-Soudal are taking the lead at the front of the peloton. They're obliged to do so with their man André Greipel in the green leader's jersey.
143km remaining from 174km
We're 20km from the first intermediate sprint of the day in Tiverton. It's mostly downhill to that point, before the run of unclassified hills begins.
135km remaining from 174km
Here's a look at the breakaway, or at least three-fifths of it. Scott Davies (Dimension Data) made the move having attacked and been caught right at the start of today's stage.
Cameron Meyer is the most accomplished man in the break. The Mitchelton-Scott man is a 13-time world track champion, won the Tour Down Under in 2011 and also has two stage wins at the Tour de Suisse under his belt, in 2013 and 2014. Earlier this year he became points race world champion at the World Track Championships in Apeldoorn.
Meanwhile Alessandro Tonelli is the only escapee who has tasted victory this year, winning a stage of the Tour of Croatia ahead of Bardiani-CSF teammate Enrico Barbin.
125km remaining from 174km
Lotto-Soudal and Katusha-Alpecin are represented at the head of the peloton as the gap to the break reaches five minutes. Team Sky are massed just behind.
There's 1km to the first intermediate sprint of the day. Meyer leads the break into Tiverton.
123km remaining from 174km
Teggart launches early, taking his breakmates by surprise. The Team WIGGINS man takes the 3 points ahead of Rowsell and Tonelli.
That'll be a 3 second bonus for Teggart then. It won't make a difference in the grand scheme of things, but if he can win the next two sprints as well then he'll be in red tonight.
119km remaining from 174km
We're on the lumpy mid-section of the stage and break are climbing again. They're 12km from the next intermediate sprint.
112km remaining from 174km
The race situation is pretty stable at the moment. Five men up front, five minutes back to the breakaway. Simply put, there's not a whole lot going on right now.
Still, the second intermediate sprint of the day is up in 5km.
The sprint is in a hamlet named Nomansland. Apparently only 150 people live there, so the local population will almost double when the peloton rolls through.
107km remaining from 174km
Once again, Teggart launches the sprint first, and again nobody comes close to the Team WIGGINS man. It looks like Tonelli finished second, but no word on the third-placed finisher yet.
There are spots of rain on the camera. The riders will be hoping that isn't a prelude to a cloudburst.
Scott Davies took third in the intermediate sprint. Teggart is virtual second in the intermediate sprint classification at the moment. It looks like he'll be in red after the stage.
The next intermediate sprint comes at Landkey, 72km from the finish. There are a few hills and the feed zone to come before then, though.
100km remaining from 174km
It won't be long until we see a historic moment for the Tour of Britain as the riders will race through a building for the first time! At 88km to go the break will reach the South Molton Pannier Market, so that's something. It seems like somebody in South Molton will be happy to see Tonelli in the break, anyway.
The rain is properly falling now, and you'd think that the riders will be keen to reach the South Molton Pannier Market as quickly as possible.
95km remaining from 174km
Chris Froome is doing the donkey work at the front of the peloton at the moment. A bit of a throwback to his pre-2011 career, eh?
There's a tv ad break at the moment. Hopefully we'll be back in time to see the South Molton Pannier Market.
87km remaining from 174km
And the break rides through South Molton Pannier Market!
I can't see their faces but I can only assume they're thrilled.
The peloton remains six minutes further back, and the rain has now stopped.
81km remaining from 174km
The peloton passes through South Molton Pannier Market as the break reaches the feed zone.
5km to go until the break reaches the final intermediate sprint of the day. Can Matthew Teggart seal the lead in that classification and take red? We'll soon find out.
72km remaining from 174km
The third intermediate sprint of the day at Landkey is won by Teggart, predictably. The Team WIGGINS riders led from the front and cruised across the line uncontested. With nine points from the day he'll be wearing the red jersey tomorrow.
70km remaining from 174km
We've just passed Swimbridge, home of the Jack Russell, and there's now 8km until the start of the second categorised climb of day. It's a second category climb to Bratton Fleming, averaging 5% for its 4.9km.
Here's a more detailed look at the final 60km of today's stage via Lasterketa Burua. You can see just how steep the day's final categorised climb of Challacombe Hill is, hitting gradients of 16-19% in the latter half of its 1.3km.
Some transfer news as Iljo Keisse takes to the front of the peloton once again after his huge ride yesterday.
Bora-Hansgrohe have just announced the signings of Jean-Pierre 'Jempy' Drucker from BMC and Oscar Gatto from Astana. The pair should be valuable members of their classics team next year.
59km remaining from 174km
The gap to the break is coming down now. As the rain starts spitting once again, the peloton close to within four minutes of the five-man breakaway.
As the break approach the top of the Bratton Fleming climb, we expect Davies to put in a dig and try for the points. He took eight on the first climb of the day all the way back at the start of the stage. If he were to do so then he'd take over the lead in the KOM classification with 16 points.
And there we go – Davies has shot off the front. The Brit eased away from his breakmates and looks set to take maximum points at the top of the climb.
A solo break with 57km to go seems pretty suicidal at this point, so he'll no doubt wait for the four men to catch up.
Matthew Teggart is the only man missing as the break regroups with Davies. Having won each intermediate sprint today, he can consider it a job well done whether he rejoins the break or just drops back to the peloton.
55km remaining from 174km
As the peloton go over the top of the climb, it doesn't look like there has been much damage done. There's still an unclassified climb as well as the steep Challacombe Hill to come, but with the top of that first category climb coming over 20km from the finish, it looks like we might see another sprint finish after all.
Race leader André Greipel drops back to the team car, stuffing his green jersey full of bottles. Maybe he's not expecting to last in the peloton over the final hills of the day after all.
43km remaining from 174km
The rain has started again, by the way.
Matthew Teggart is keeping safe on the descent. It's twisty and technical, largely tree-covered, and the road is damp in places. Not pleasant.
37km remaining from 174km
Team Sky and BMC both have a number of riders at the front of the peloton now as they hit the unclassified climb before Challacombe Hill. The gap to the break is 3:30.
33km remaining from 174km
Ian Stannard, Geraint Thomas, Łukasz Wiśniowski and Vasil Kiryienka lead the peloton, with Sky's protected rider Wout Poels tucked in to the paceline.
Meanwhile, Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Soudal) and Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) have crashed on the wet roads, along with several other riders. No word on any abandons yet, though Politt was hobbling.
31km remaining from 174km
Hugh Carthy (EF-Drapac) has attacked the peloton, taking Matthew Holmes (Madison-Genesis) with him.
And with that surge in pace, the gap is falling away and approaching the two-minute mark.
Pascal Eenkhoorn (LottoNL-Jumbo) has also clipped off the front of the peloton. Carthy and Holmes are still up the road.
Helicopter shots show that the peloton has been thinned down to around 40-50 riders.
27km remaining from 174km
Fernando Gaviria (Quick Step Floors) and Neilson Powless (LottoNL-Jumbo) are attacking now. Several other counter-attacks follow.
Stefan Küng (BMC) and Vasil Kiryienka (Team Sky) have made it across to the Gaviria group now.
23km remaining from 174km
The Carthy group is 1:46 behind the breakaway, according to tv graphics
And the break hits the final categorised climb of the day. The first cat climb of Challacombe Hill is 1.3km long with an average of 13% and maximum gradients of almost 20%
And the break hits the final categorised climb of the day. The first cat climb of Challacombe Hill is 1.3km long with an average of 13% and maximum gradients of almost 20%
Rowsell is the first to drop from the break on Challacombe Hill.
22km remaining from 174km
Davies will be going for maximum points over the top once again, assuming he can hold off the attackers behind for just a bit longer on these killer slopes.
Davies is leaving Meyer and Tonelli behind now, as a group of scantily-clad men run alongside the break. An even greater incentive to get to the top for the trio.
Scott Davies takes the points yet again. The Dimension Data man has 26 points now and will pull on the beautiful black jersey at the end of the stage.
Carthy is making his way through the remains of the breakaway. He is alone now though, and his favoured terrain is behind him. With 20km to run it looks tough for him to get anything done.
19km remaining from 174km
Julian Alaphilippe (Quick Step Floors) has come from nowhere to join Carthy on the descent. He's not keen to do any work though.
Alaphilippe takes to the front and immediately pulls out a small gap on Carthy as they fly downhill.
The peloton is 1:05 behind Davies, and riders are scattered across the road in between them.
16km remaining from 174km
Somebody is 10 seconds behind Davies. I would imagine the graphic is referring to his breakmates Tonelli and Meyer rather than Carthy and Alaphilippe.
Greipel was dropped from the peloton on the climb, by the way. We'll see a new race leader tonight.
15km remaining from 174km
A five-man chase group has emerged, down the road from Alaphilippe and Carthy. No confirmation on the riders involved, though Primož Roglič (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Bob Jungels (Quick Step Floors) seem to be there.
Meanwhile, Meyer and Tonelli get back to Davies up front. We don't know exactly how far they are ahead of the chase groups so it's hard to gauge their chances of making it to the finish.
11km remaining from 174km
The chase groups have merged, with Alaphilippe and Carthy joined by Jungels, Roglič, Patrick Bevin (BMC), Wout Poels (Team Sky), Chris Hamilton (Team Sunweb) and Jasha Sütterlin (Movistar).
10km remaining from 174km
The strong chase group is around 50 seconds behind the three remaining breakaway riders. It could be touch-and-go with just 10km remaining.
8km remaining from 174km
Seconds are being shaved from the gap as the metres tick down. Alaphilippe should be the prime pick if the chase group can bring the breakaway trio back.
6km remaining from 174km
Alaphilippe is just sitting at the back of the group while the rest of the chasers take turns. Of course he has Jungels with him to do the work on his behalf. Once again, Quick Step Floors have all the cards.
5km remaining from 174km
The gap dips under 30 seconds for the first time, with 6km to run. It looks like the chasers are going to make it across before the line.
Davies drops back from Tonelli and Meyer – he has the KOM jersey so at least he takes something away from the day.
4km remaining from 174km
And Davies is swept up by the chase group.
3km remaining from 174km
Tonelli and Meyer head into the final 3km with just 20 seconds advantage over the chase group.
1km remaining from 174km
Just 1km to go for the leaders and a 10 second gap for the duo.
Tonelli is on the front, and Meyer goes around him to open the sprint!
Meyer takes it! Tonelli second while the chasers come in just metres later!
Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott) wins stage 2 of the Tour of Britain!
Tonelli took second behind Meyer while it looked a dead heat between Bevin and Alaphilippe for third.
It's Meyer's second individual win of the season, after the Commonwealth Games ITT. He was also part of the Mitchelton-Scott team that triumphed at Hammer Stavanger.
Results and quotes will follow when we get them.
Here's the Australian crossing the line ahead of Tonelli and just metres ahead of the charging chase group.
Stage 2 top ten:
1. Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott) 4:14:46
2. Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF) +00:01
3. Patrick Bevin (BMC) +00:02
4. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick Step Floors)
5. Jasha Sütterlin (Movistar).
6. Primož Roglič (LottoNL-Jumbo)
7. Wout Poels (Team Sky)
8. Chris Hamilton (Team Sunweb)
9. Bob Jungels (Quick Step Floors)
10. Hugh Carthy (Education First-Drapac) +00:09
Tonelli takes the race lead on countback – the Italian finished three places ahead of Meyer yesterday.
General classification after stage 2:
1. Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF) 8:15:30
2. Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott) +00:00
3. Patrick Bevin (BMC) +00:08
4. Wout Poels (Team Sky) +00:12
5. Jasha Sütterlin (Movistar)
6. Chris Hamilton (Team Sunweb)
7. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick Step Floors)
8. Bob Jungels (Quick Step Floors)
9. Primož Roglič (LottoNL-Jumbo)
10. Hugh Carthy (Education First-Drapac) +00:19
So from the day's original breakaway, Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF) takes the green leader's jersey, Matthew Teggart (Team WIGGINS) will take the red sprints jersey, Scott Davies (Dimension Data) will be in the black KOM jersey and Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott) took the stage win and the blue points jersey.
Tough on the fifth man, Erick Rowsell (Madison-Genesis), that. Maybe he'll get the combativity award.
And a few words from the stage winner Meyer:
The jerseys after stage 2:
GC (green): Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF)
KOM (black): Scott Davies (Dimension Data)
Points (blue): Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott)
Sprints (red): Matthew Teggart (Team WIGGINS)
Tomorrows' stage begins and ends in Bristol, with a loop through the countryside taking in more hills. There's a spiky finale, including a first category climb just 8km from the finish and then another hill en route to the oft-used finish on Clifton Down.
No word if the peloton will be passing through any buildings on the way, though.
And that's it for the live coverage of stage 2 of the Tour of Britain! See you again for more fun tomorrow.
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