Caleb Ewan takes overall lead after Frenchman Bouhanni wins in Harrogate

Caleb Ewan takes overall lead after Frenchman Bouhanni wins in Harrogate

Nacer Bouhanni won the second stage of the Tour de Yorkshire, crossing the finish line in first place on Harrogate's iconic Parliament Street.

"It will be the hardest stage in the three years of the race, and it would be the hardest stage on most races".

"It was a good day out", Horton said. The stage was pretty local for me and my parents came to watch.

"I love racing here - the crowds here are probably the best in the world", he said, before reiterating what seems to be another universally accepted constant here - that the riding is extremely tough. "I tried to hang in there once we got caught, but my legs were cooked and I was just going backwards".

Aqua Blue Sport rider Blythe has not arrived at the Tour de Yorkshire in peak condition, but he has still earmarked stage two between Tadcaster and Harrogate as an opportunity to make his mark on home soil.

"Normally Danny would have been sprinting but he wasn't on a great day so I got the backing of the boys".

"I am glad I missed all the commotion at the finish".

He had also been runner-up on stage one and now leads by two seconds from Bouhanni with previous blue jersey wearer Dylan Groenewegen third, also at two seconds.

It was quite a hard stage, quite hilly, but in the finale, I was always well placed in first 15 positions.

"I produced my effort with 400m to go and when Jonathan Hivert kicked I knew I had to react immediately".

"I had to launch my sprint early. I think this is the ideal race for the young guys to see where they can be".

"It'll be a good last hit-out I think before the Giro", he said.

Ahead of the Tour de Yorkshire starting today, defending champion Thomas Voeckler helped Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries mark a milestone as he handed over the 5,000th bike to the initiative. "It's my first time here, a lot of spectators".

New Tour de Yorkshire GC leader Caleb Ewan says the British race will be the ideal preparation for his assault on the Giro d'Italia, which starts next Friday in Sardinia.

"I was a bit exhausted and didn't have the best feelings all day", said Blythe, who was crowned national champion last summer ahead of Mark Cavendish in Stockton-on-Tees.