Nacer Bouhanni won the second stage of the Tour de Yorkshire, crossing the finish line in first place on Harrogate’s iconic Parliament Street.
Day Two’s racing saw the riders travel from Tadcaster and through Wetherby, Knaresborough, Pateley Bridge and Ripon, before the Frenchman edged out Caleb Ewan and Jonathan Hivert in what was a grandstand sprint finish.
Reflecting on his success, the Cofidis Solutions Crédits ace 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”.
After the stage, Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity 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.”
Despite Bouhanni’s triumph on the day, it was Orica Scott rider Ewan who took over the blue leader’s jersey from Dylan Groenewegen.
Stage Three gets underway in Bradford on Sunday and draws to a conclusion at Fox Valley, Sheffield.
Top 10 finishers (Stage Two):
1. Nacer Bouhanni (FRA) Cofidis Solutions Credits 2:45:51
2. Caleb Ewan (AUS) Orica-Scott
3. Jonathan Hivert (FRA) Direct Energie
4. Dylan Groenewegen (NED) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
5. Chris Lawless (GBR) Great Britain
6. Kristian Sbaragli (ITA) Dimension Data
7. Soren Kragh Andersen (DEN) Team Sunweb
8. Tony Hurel (FRA) Direct Energie
9. Matthew Homes (GBR) Madison Genesis
10. Adam Blythe (GBR) Aqua Blue Sport