'Thrilling' stage ends with victory for Cameron Meyer
This year’s ‘thrilling’ Devon Stage of the Tour of Britain was one by Commonwealth Games time trial champion Cameron Meyer.
Meyer took victory in Stage Two of the 2018 OVO Energy Tour of Britain after sprinting to win in Barnstaple.
The 174.9 km stage started in Cranbrook and was the tenth time in 12 years The Tour of Britain visited Devon with the county hosting starts and finishes annually between 2009 and 2014 with the last Devon Stage held in 2016.
This year was the first time in the modern history of the Tour that the race was routed through a building - South Molton's Pannier Market.
Australian Cameron Meyer rider, who last claimed a road race victory in February 2015, beat breakaway companion Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF) after the pair had been a part of the stage’s five-man escape group that went clear in the opening 15 kilometres.
However Tonelli’s six-second time bonus on the line plus advantage over a strong chasing group containing Wout Poels (Team Sky), Primoz Roglic (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) and Quick-Step Floors duo Julian Alaphilippe and Bob Jungels just behind means he moves into the OVO Energy Green Jersey.
“It was always going to be close,” said Meyer of the finale. “I heard that the gap was one minute with 10 kilometres to go, and that there was a strong group of favourites coming fast from behind, so I wanted to push on. It’s been a few years since I rode in this race, but I remember getting caught twice inside final kilometre. I didn’t want déjà vu to happen again.
“I was pretty confident that with my track background that I could negotiate a sprint against whoever I had to go up against. Coming into the finish, I got the Italian [Tonelli] to go up to the 500m to go mark – I knew I had him covered from there.”
Exeter’s George Pym finished 89th out of 116.
The race saw thousands of spectators line Devon’s roads to support the event.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Management with a responsibility for cycling said: “What a fantastic Devon stage that was. Looking at the numbers of people lining the 175-mile route it’s clear that Devon has really embraced the Tour of Britain.
“Early indications suggest that at least 200,000 people turned out with £4m of extra spending generated in the county. I’m confident that once the official figures are in it will prove to be one of the most successful Devon stages ever held.