Cycling -- and on the second day of the TI Raleigh professional Tour of Britain, Patrick Verstraete of Belgium won the second stage after a gruelling ride from Newcastle to Blackpool.
Cycling -- and on the second day of the TI Raleigh professional Tour of Britain, Patrick Verstraete of Belgium won the second stage after a gruelling ride from Newcastle to Blackpool. The riders crossed the Pennine hill, known as the backbone of England, and some of the steep climbs produced wide gaps between the riders who set out from Newcastle on Wednesday (9 August) morning.
SYNOPSIS: The tour began on Tuesday (8 August) at Motherwell, outside Glasgow in Scotland. The cyclists will travel down the length of Britain, before peddling into London, five days after the start of the race, having cycled some 560 miles (901 kms). Five British and four continental teams are taking part, although many European cycling starts were still recovering from the Tour de France.
As the 54 entrants battled up three hills, the riders were split into three major groups. The leading bunch of ten gained a five minute lead over the rest, which they gradually increased to nine minutes. The central group pulled ahead from the tail-enders, establishing a lead of 15 minutes.
By the time the leading cyclists reached the seaside resort of Blackpool on the north-west coast of England, they had a 13 minute lead over the rest of the field. After the 131 mile (210.5 kilometres) stage of group of eight riders were first to pass along Blackpool's Middle Walk. These included two Belgians, Patrick Verstraete and Jean-Philipe Vandenbrande, two entrants from Holland, Johan van de Velde and Ad Gevers and the British cyclist, Re Smith.
Patrick Verstraete, seen here after his win. The Belgians are now well placed for the final three stages of the race, with Verstraete's team-mate, Vandenbrande gaining third place after the Dutch rider, van de Velde. Ad Gevers, who came in fourth is still the overall leader, but with 429 miles (690.4 kilometres) to go it is still anybody's race.