Tour of Britain is a Red Rose hit

Petr Vakoc celebrates winning Stage Two of the Tour of Britain from Clitheroe to Colne
Petr Vakoc celebrates winning Stage Two of the Tour of Britain from Clitheroe to Colne
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The joy of the Tour of Britain is in its unpredictability, says Chris Boardman.

The eight-day British national tour thrilled Clitheroe and East Lancashire on Monday, the second day of a challenging route which rewards the daring, but can punish too.

That is what makes it exciting, according to 1992 Olympic champion and three-times Tour de France yellow jersey wearer Boardman.

“The one thing we’ve come to learn is you just don’t know what’s going to happen in this race,” said Boardman.

“You get home riders, people trying to make their name, people coming back from injury, people building up for the worlds, people winding down.

“It’s such a mix it’s more who is the most tenacious who tends to win, not who is the best on that climb there.

“You can’t pinpoint where it’s going to happen. That makes good viewing.”

Dylan van Baarle won the 2014 edition ahead of Michal Kwiatkowski and Sir Bradley Wiggins.

Kwiatkowski went on to win the Road World Championships road race and Wiggins the time-trial, with both using the Tour of Britain as preparation.

Czech Petr Vakoc produced a fine solo performance to clinch victory in stage two in Colne on Monday.

Vakoc seized the yellow jersey after racing the last 20km of the stage on his own.

Owain Doull of Team Wiggins was the best-placed British rider, finishing in sixth position.

The race, which finishes in London on September 13, benefits from its point in the calendar as an alternative build-up event for the Road World Championships to the three-week Vuelta a Espana.

Wiggins, who won the 2013 edition, is present again, this time for his eponymous team after switching his major focus from the road to the track.

Ben Swift leads Team Sky’s six-man squad, which includes three other Britons in Andy Fenn, Pete Kennaugh and Ian Stannard.

The first stage from Beaumaris, Anglesey to Wrexham on Sunday saw a sprint finish, with Mark Cavendish denied victory after being pipped on the line by Team Sky’s Elia Viviani.

The second stage on Monday could yet prove crucial.

“The winner will probably come from a breakaway that goes away at some unspecified point, even as early as stage two because round Clitheroe it’s pretty nasty,” Boardman said.