WATCH: Nacer Bouhanni wins second stage of Tour de Yorkshire

WATCH: Nacer Bouhanni wins second stage of Tour de Yorkshire

Published at 8:50pm 29th April 2017.

Crowds on a par with those of the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ have turned out to watch a pulsating sprint finish in Harrogate, with Nacer Bouhanni winning the second stage of the Tour de Yorkshire.

The riders were treated to an equally warm welcome at the start line in Tadcaster, where 405 children lined Tadcaster Bridge to signify the number of days that they had been without it following the devastating floods of 2015.

The Yorkshire Regiment Drums Platoon were also on hand to provide a rousing reception.

All towns and villages along the 122.5km route did Yorkshire proud by celebrating the race in a whole host of imaginative ways as it passed by.

Yorkshiremen Connor Swift (Madison Genesis), James Gullen (JLT Condor) and Harry Tanfield (Bike Channel Canyon) all featured in a four-man breakaway which made things interesting early in the stage.

Tanfield's efforts in the two intermediate sprints saw fans on Twitter vote him into Dimension Data's Most Active Rider jersey, but all four escapees were caught before a fast finish ensued in Harrogate.

As the sprint specialists raced towards the line, Bouhanni latched onto Jonathan Hivert's wheel, but as his compatriot faded, Bouhanni pressed on to seal victory.

Bouhanni said: "The conclusion of today's stage was hard and steep. Here in Yorkshire, it seems like all the roads are hilly!

"Yesterday I watched the finish of the 2014 Tour de France stage here when Marcel Kittel won and that allowed me to better understand today's sprint. I produced my effort with 400m to go, and when Jonathan Hivert kicked, I knew I had to react immediately.

"This is my fourth win of the season and it gives me confidence, because the Tour de Yorkshire is my first race after a brief break. There were so many people on the road today it felt like the Tour de France."

 

Caleb Ewan's disappointment at a successive second-placed finish was tempered by the fact that he moved into the Welcome to Yorkshire blue leader's jersey and opened up a two-second lead over Bouhanni and Friday's winner Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo).

Ewan's consistent form also means that he tops the Yorkshire Bank Points Classification, whilst Etienne Van Empel (Roompot Nederlandse Loterij) defended his place at the top of the Virgin Trains King of the Mountain Classification.

Team Dimension Data lead the Team Classification.

TDY Nacer Bouhanni podium

Nacer Bouhanni on the winner's podium

TDY Caleb Ewan podium

Caleb Ewan claims the blue leader's jersey

Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: "When I arrived at the finish line today, it took me right back to the Tour de France three years ago. The crowds in Harrogate were absolutely tremendous and the atmosphere was electric.

"Of course, every other place along the route played an equally pivotal role in making today's stage another huge success and it makes me so proud to know these scenes are being beamed right around the world.

"It's on to Bradford now and I've been looking forward to Sunday's stage ever since we revealed the route last December. We've nicknamed it 'The Yorkshire Terrier' as it's an absolute brute with over 3,500 metres of climbing and four categorised ascents in the last 22km.

"I can't wait to see how that turns out and I'm certain it will be another unforgettable experience."

TDY crowds

Huge crowds turn out for the second stage