Etixx - Quick-Step rider Petr Vakoc, 23, showed incredible heart in the 159.3km Aviva Tour of Britain Stage 2 on Monday, going solo out of an original eight-rider breakaway inside 20km to go, with the gap to a hard chasing peloton at just 19 seconds.
The peloton swept up the chasers with 12.5km remaining, and it seemed Vakoc might be doomed to be caught before the arrival in Colne. However, the Czech Road Champion never faltered, expanding the gap to 40" with 9.8km remaining. Thanks to a consistent rhythm by Vakoc ahead, he kept a 24" advantage with 4.7km left ro race.
Etixx - Quick-Step teammates gave Vakoc support from the peloton, moving to the front and disrupting the collaboration of the chasing field. They also stayed in good position to contest the minor places.
Vakoc kept his tempo even with the uphill roads of the final kilometers. Vakoc crossed the line with a fist pump in the air, as the solo victor and new race leader of Aviva Tour of Britain. Vakoc demonstrated the same impressive strength that won him Tour de Pologne Stage 2 in 2014, which was a solo victory after attacking with 25km left to race. That win was his first as a professional.
Vakoc's victory is the 48th for Etixx - Quick-Step in the 2015 season.
"It was a really hard race, I am so happy I could finish it with a win," Vakoc said. "I was part of an eight rider group that went away with about 50 kilometers to go. At a little more than 18 kilometers to go, it looked like we would be caught. So, I tried my chance. It was a long way to the finish. But I had really good legs, so I attacked, and stayed clear. This is a huge success for me, one of the biggest victories of my career so far. It was a long day out front alone and it's so beautiful to have this win added to my palmares. Now I am the race leader, which is a huge honor. We had the chance to meet and greet the public yesterday after the stage, thanks to TourX bus powered by our sponsors Etixx and Tacx, and I have to say I was really impressed. The British public loves cycling and showed great support to our team. So, I am very motivated with this race leader's jersey on my back. We will try our best to defend this jersey in the next days. It's still early at Tour of Britain. There are six more stages to go. It will be difficult with only six riders. But I am looking forward to it with the support of my teammates, who are riding strong. A 2nd place yesterday, and now a win today, shows we are riding well as a unit. The next few days will be flatter, so we'll see what we can do in the next days."
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