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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

Tour of Britain Cycling News for September 1, 2005

Edited by Jeff Jones, reporting by Shane Stokes

Blaudzun aiming for yellow

Danish rider Michael Blaudzun was given the yellow jersey at the end of yesterday's second stage of the Tour of Britain, but race leader Nick Nuyens later successfully appealed that he and many others had been delayed by a crash inside the last three kilometres. The CSC rider is second overall and is hoping to take the maillot jaune for real, starting the hilly third stage to Sheffield with a deficit of just seven seconds.

"This is the hardest stage of the Tour, there is no doubt about that," he said. "We will see what is going to happen. QuickStep is going to control the race from the beginning, but we will see at the end if I have some power in the legs and can try something."

Nick Nuyens finished second on this stage twelve months ago, but Blaudzun also knows these roads. "I was here last year, and have also done the climbs in the Leeds Classic many years ago. They are pretty hard and there are four or five on the road, so that will be tough.

"Nuyens seems pretty strong and we will see what is going to happen. If I don't get away today, I will gamble everything on the small time trial on Saturday, and hope for the best. It will be hard as the time trial is too short. Normally longer time trials suit me, but this one is like a prologue. It is also pretty important that you cut the corners right on a short time trial like that. If you do that and have good legs, then you can do something in a short time trial like that. But we will see.

"Normally I am a better rider than Nick in longer time trials but I don't know what will happen on a prologue like that. I don't know how strong he is in the short time trials."

Southam unsure of climbing form

British rider Tom Southam told Cyclingnews before the start of the Tour of Britain that his form was bad after a series of crashes earlier this season. However, the Barloworld rider found himself with good legs on stage one, getting into the crucial move and ending the day fifth overall courtesy of some time bonuses taken in the sprints. He started today's stage 8th overall, 17 seconds behind race leader Nick Nuyens.

Southam wasn't sure what to expect. "I don't know how my form really is, we will see after today. So far, the race hasn't been really hard so it is hard to tell. I am not sure what my climbing will be like, that is what I am worried about. I am fine on the flat but not sure how I will be on the hills today.

"My form is definitely getting better for the worlds, though. I have got some good races after this one and then I have got the worlds. Obviously Roger [Hammond] has got strong form so that is good for us. I'd like to get a decent end to the season because it has been a sh*t year so far, with accidents and whatnot."

Irish hope to go well

Former professional Morgan Fox is managing the Irish team and was hoping for a good showing from the guys in green today. "This is going to be the big day with Holme Moss and the Snake Pass featuring," he said. "Hopefully we can get David McCann and Paul Griffin up there. It is all up to us at this stage because we missed the move on the first day. We have got to pull something out of the bag.

"Griffin is psyched, he reckons he can get over the top with the leaders. If I move goes before that...I reckon something could happen going over the Cow and the Calf, that first climb. You have got 30 miles between that and the Holme Moss climb, so if we can get one or two up into the move before that, then Griffin and Davy can try to get across later on."

Indeed that is what happened, with Irish cyclo cross champion and FBD Insurance Rás stage winner Roger Aiken making the early break. He was in an eleven man group starting the climb of Holme Moss this afternoon, with the main fireworks set to start after that.

Fox said that he and the team are keen to make up for missing out on the stage one break. They chased hard with one or two other teams, and while they succeeded in reducing the lead from two minutes to forty seconds, they couldn't close that final gap. "It has been really disappointing, especially missing that move on the first day. That shouldn't have happened. The guys got caught out, they were down the back of the bunch and they didn't expect it to go. You have got one chance to get into the move, otherwise it is very hard to do it later. We chased hard but couldn't quite get it back. The Great Britain and Recycling teams came up later on to do a bit, but by then it was way too late."

Cyclingnews also talked to David McCann before the stage. "I will see how I go on the hills, I will take it as it comes. I don't have any big ambitions for this race as my programme is so busy afterwards, but we will just see how it goes. If I get into the right place at the right time, I will do something.

"After this race I do the Tour of Indonesia, a big ten day in Asia. I will hopefully come back to Europe and do the worlds road race, then go straight from there to another 2.2 in Iran for a week. Hopefully I will go to the Sun Tour and hopefully the Tour of Taiwan to end the season. Including this event, I have five stage races between now and November".

McCann and Giant Asia team-mate Ghader Mizbani are both highly placed in the Asian Tour classification. The aim is that one or other of them will win the competition.

Donkey damage

A crash inside the final three kilometres of yesterday's stage to Blackpool caused several riders to hit the deck, and also caused a split in the bunch. It turns out that it was not the wet conditions but another type of muck which was to blame. "There was this brown stuff on the road which caused it," said one rider who was involved, Paul Healion. One of his DFL team-mates was a little more descriptive. "It was sh*t from the donkeys," he said, referring to the trademark animal rides in this holiday destination.

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