Monday, 13 September 2010

Henderson triumphs to secure Sky sucess

Another overcast day with buffeting winds lay in store for the riders as they began stage two.  

Disapointed and left wanting in the sprint finish of stage one, Sky were ever-eager to put to rest concerns about their performance to date.

Sucessful in the breakaway ahead of stage one victor Greipel (THR), Henderson (SKY) made his intentions for the stage clear early on.

The 100 mile loop of Stoke on Trent saw 18 men gain a four minute advantage over the peloton as they stormed the course to cover 47 miles in the first hour. With three riders in the breakaway Sky had the strongest placing, but with Hausler freshly recovered from an earlier injury and Richie Porte both in the mix, it left the peloton short of strong men to organise the chase-down while opening up possibilities for the stage victory from within the breakaway ranks. 

Geraint Thomas rode a strong ride in the breakaway but it was his team leaders unmistakable calmness that controlled the Sky-dominated tempo. Riding with his familiar expression of surrenity he looked as comfortable as ever; a far cry from the pained expression of agonising torture he wore for much of the TDF earlier in the year.

The days ultimate climb, Gun Hill, with it's tricky descent is famed in British Cycling lore. Not for the faint hearted, the climb is difficult with a fast descent that attracts large crowds of fans who come from far and wide to witness the pain that the climb inflicts on those who dare to tackle it.  

Richie Porte was the brave lone rider who threw the gauntlet down on the ascent. With the others struggling to bridge the gap, the demanding pace was too much for the weakest who began to trickle off the back of the leading group.

By the final sprint, three riders had sucumed to the pace as 15 riders remained ahead of the peoloton 5km behind.  With Sky the best placed with their three riders still in the breakaway group, all eyes were on them to suceed in the tough finish ahead.  

Wiggins worked hard to controll a high pace as his team mates fell in line in the final km as the breakaway group strung out in their textbook train. 

A tight and tough finish, Sky's efforts paid off as Henderson stormed to a well deserved victory that gave Sky some much longed for glory.

His sixth stage win this year, the victory put him in the leaders jersey as Greipel moved out of the top ten.

Stage three sees the race head into Wales and a brutal finish in Swansea.

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