Carpenter Prevails to Win Tour of Britain Stage Two
Robin Carpenter became the first American ever to win a stage in the Tour of Britain, as he held off a late surging peloton to snatch the blue jersey off stage one winner Wout Van Aaert who did not contest the sprint for second place.
Carpenter, who rides for Rally Cycling, lead a solo 25km breakaway group eventually finishing 33 seconds ahead of Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) and Alex Peters (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling).
In a gruelling 184km route from Sherford to Exeter, the 29-year-old moved clear of the rest peloton early on as part of a five-man breakaway group, but as they day progressed, the Philadelphian went from strength to strength, slowly dispatching his opponents as they fell victim to what turned out to be a tough stage. Three category two climbs saw early separations in the peloton, with Carpenter making the most of the intermediate sprints to beat Jacob Scott (Canyon dhb SunGod) at both around the 60km mark.
As the race meandered through Dartmoor National Park, the climbs of Rundlestone (6.8km at 4 percent) and Warren House Inn (4.6km at 2.4 per cent) lay after 132.3 and 147.8 kilometres, before two more unclassified hills inside the final 30km saw the leading pack spread even thinner, with Carpenter able to lose Scott on a climb just outside Moretonhampstead with 25km remaining.
The American peddled through to the largely flat remaining 10km into Exeter with a commanding four minute lead, although a dramatic late surge from the trailing riders almost saw his lead snatched away. With the leader visibly struggling to close out the race, his advantage fell to 2:20 with just 5km remaining, and then even further to under a minute as he crossed the line 33 seconds ahead of Ethan Hayter.
Despite this, it was a memorable ride from Carpenter, and one that no one would have expected going into the stage.
“I’ve been wanting a win in Europe for a number of years now and I’ve come really close so it feels amazing,” Carpenter said after the stage.
“We’ve had a lot of success in the last few weeks, and this just builds on it. The leader’s jersey is definitely something I didn’t expect but I’m very, very excited.
“We still had five minutes at 40 kilometres to go so I knew I just had to get rid of everyone else and not worry about babying anyone else to the line or having to worry about anyone outsprinting me. I’ve been out-sprinted before on finishes like this.
“I really wanted the stage win and the leader’s jersey is a big plus. I’ll try to defend it as best I can but I’m not really a climber – you’ll see that on stage 4. I’m just really thankful for this opportunity.”
The tour moves on to Carmarthenshire for the first of two stages in Wales, where it will host only the third team time trail in the event’s history. It follows a hilly 18.2km route from Ffairfach, Llandeilo to the National Botanic Garden of Wales.