Zabel wins sprint to take stage two in Yorkshire

Rick Zabel

Katusha Aplecin rider Rick Zabel is the son of famous German sprinter Erik Zabel

German Rick Zabel won a bunch sprint in pouring rain to take the second stage of the Tour de Yorkshire.

Britain’s Chris Lawless came third, behind Dutchman Boy van Poppel, as Zabel produced a dominant final burst.

British duo Andrew Tennant and Dan McLay were fourth and fifth but Mark Cavendish, who seemed well placed, did not contest the sprint in the end.

Dutch rider Jesper Asselman leads Zabel by a second in the overall standings of the four-stage race.

Cavendish ended up in 18th place after appearing to run out of power in the closing stages while four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome finished safely in the middle of the peloton for the Ineos Team.

Earlier in the day, Britain’s Lizzie Deignan finished in the pack in the opening stage of the women’s race, won by Dutch rider Lorena Wiebes.

Britain’s Jacob Hennessy retained the red King of the Mountains jersey on countback after New Zealand’s James Fouche won the only climb of the day.

Environmental protestors were again located at the start of the stage in Barnsley, to display their anger over Ineos’ proposed fracking plans in Yorkshire.

‘It was pure chaos’

Zabel was only brought in by the Katusha Alpecin team at the 11th hour after Wednesday’s withdrawal of sprinter Marcel Kittel.

But despite his lack of preparation, the German’s blistering finish was reminiscent of his father Erik Zabel, who won a record nine points classifications in Grand Tours and recorded 12 stage victories at the Tour de France.

With the rain pouring down in the final stretch of the 82-mile stage, the 25-year-old German moved through the field to win with a perfectly judged effort.

“It was very very hectic. A short stage is always full gas,” he said.

“We raced pretty hard and it started raining in the last 5km, so it was pure chaos. I was close to crashing a few times because it was chaos out there. I don’t know how I came into a good position.

“I thought I could do a long sprint and I thought I must go for it. I’m not a guy who wins often but maybe I can win today. It was such a relief to cross the line first.”

His effort was all the more remarkable given the depleted nature of the Swiss team, who are competing with just five riders, in comparison to the seven fielded by most of their rivals.

Stage two results

  1. Rick Zabel (Ger/Katusha Alpecin) 3 hrs 09 mins 16 seconds
  2. Boy van Poppel Ned/Roompot) Same time
  3. Chris Lawless (GB/Team Ineos)
  4. Andy Tennant (GB/Canyon DHB)
  5. Daniel McLay (GB/Great Britain)
  6. Andreas Stokro (Den/Riwal Readynez)
  7. Jonas van Genechten (Bel/Vital concept)
  8. Michael Rice (Aus/Hagens Berman)
  9. Cyril Barthe (Fra/EBC)
  10. Connor Swift (GB/Madison Genesis)

General classification after stage two

  1. Jesper Asselman (Ned/Roompot) 7 hrs 14 mins 50 seconds
  2. Rick Zabel (Ger/Katusha Alpecin) +1 sec
  3. Boy van Poppel (Ned/Roompot) +5 secs
  4. Filippo Fortin (Ita/Cofidis) Same time
  5. Jacob Hennessy (GB/Canyon DHB)

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