Roadside PEZ: For stage 2 of the Tour of Britain, Ed Hood got his possy together for a raid on the Scottish/English Border. Another wet and windy day on the moors, but a ‘race chase’ can’t be turned down.
# You can read Ed’s stage 1 Roadside HERE and all the Tour of Britain news in EUROTRASH. #
‘Okay Ed, what have you been up to?’
Originally we hadn’t planned to go down to The Borders – but the sun came out and as I said of yesterday, it’s not every day you get the chance to see some of the world’s best riders on home soil.
We parked up on the Wanside Rigg prime hill, the first of the day’s three tough Borders ascents; one of life’s simple pleasures, sitting on the grass verge in the sunshine, awaiting a bike race. . .
There were three clear, white jersey sprints leaders, Matt Teggart [SunGod & Ireland] green jersey king of the mountains, Stephen Bassett [Human Powered Health & USA] and Adam Lewis [Saint Piran & GB]. We’d learn later that it was the Irishman who nicked the points and had picked up all of the day’s sprint points too – not a bad day for the British squad then.
The peloton was just behind, led by a determined looking Richie Porte in the service of Tom Pidcock with eventual second placed Jake Stewart unfamiliar in GB colours rather than his usual Groupama-FDJ livery.
The pace was high with no chat but plenty of open mouths on show.
The continental Qhubeka boys were finding the level perhaps just a notch too high for them?
And just off the back and looking anything but a winner was big Cees Bol [DSM & The Netherlands] that grimace replaced by a smile in Duns. Bol is a product of the sadly now defunct SEG u23 Racing Academy; when he won Nokere Koerse in 2019 it looked like he was well on his way to the top rung of the sprint ladder but he’s not been as prolific as it seemed he’s capable of with this being his first win of 2022.
And Bol’s not a bad track rider either, I saw him in action at the Three Days of Copenhagen in 2020 where he rode very strongly.
And it’s not a proper prime hill unless there’s a ‘sticky bottle’ on the go . . .
The man in the exotic jersey is Puerto Rican National Champion, Abner Gonzalez of Movistar, off the back in good company – former World Champion, Michal Kwiatkowski. We’d learn later that the Movistar riders had been held up by a crash.
He was singing to his team mates yesterday at the Aberdeen start but was quieter today on Wanside, Sasha Modolo [Bardiani – CSF – Faizane & Italy]. As a neo-pro, way back in 2010 he was fourth in Milan-Sanremo and despite two Giro stage wins since then he’s never really lived up to that early promise.
Them Tanfield boys were looking a tad stressed but what we didn’t know was that they’d been part of the early break which had animated the race and had only been reeled in at the foot of the climb.
Alex Dowsett [Israel-Premier Tech & GB] had clocked off for the day, he put in a bug turn to bring back the break yesterday and had been working hard earlier in the stage. Big Scottish sprinter, Finn Crockett [Ribble-Weldtite] isn’t really designed for days like this; completing the trio was Irish Champion, Rory Townsend [WiV-SunGod].
Ribble-Weldtite’s, Grenada Road Race and Time Trial Champion, Red Walters wasn’t enjoying his day out in ‘Sir Walter Scott Country’ – he looked much happier yesterday up on Royal Deeside. But the roads are better up there – and nothing to do with the fact that Her Majesty spends a lot of time up there, you understand. . .
Last man on the road was GB’s Josh Charlton, he’d eventually hook up with Red Walters and they’d come in @ 19:55, comfortably inside the 37:17 time cut.
We headed down to Duns to see what we could see; ‘Kwiato’ wasn’t looking any happier than he was on Wanside but you have good days, you have . . .
BORA hansgrohe duo, former Commonwealth Games scratch race winner and Sam Bennett lead out man, Kiwi, Shane Archbold and Belgian, Jordi Meeus – who was a close second to Tim Merlier in this year’s Belgian Championship – were heard chatting away in English about one, ‘hard day at the office.’
We’d hope to be able to pursue one of our favourite pastimes in Duns; bugging the mechanics as they clean the bikes. But the velos weren’t getting washed here, fired in the busses pronto to get on the long, difficult road to Sunderland for Stage Three. It looks like a long day for the, ‘spanner men.’
Ross Lamb of Ribble Weldtite was no doubt hoping for that old Coca Cola catchphrase to come to pass; ‘Things go better with Coke!’
And should we have a chat with the Tanfield boys before we head back over the moors to Fife? Perhaps not. . .
What’s that you say, Dave? ‘No, were not going to Sunderland tomorrow?’ Okay. . .