Harry Tanfield was named most combative rider as Nacer Bouhanni won the second stage of the Tour de Yorkshire in Harrogate.
The 22-year-old Yorkshireman got himself in a four-man breakaway and scooped an intermediate sprint before winning the race’s public vote as the peloton geared up for a bunch kick.
He will wear the grey jersey for the third and final stage on Sunday as the battle for the general classification comes to a head in Sheffield.
As the race got under way in Tadcaster, stage one hero James Lowsley-Williams attempted to get away again but he was quickly brought back by a motoring peloton. Team-mate Tanfield made his early dig stick, though, and escaped with three riders.
The Great Ayton rider had former Pedal Heaven team-mate James Gullen, now of JLT Condor, for company. And the front group was completed by Team Raleigh’s Sebastian Mora and Connor Swift, of Madison Genesis.
The quartet built up a comfortable lead before the intermediate sprint in Knaresborough, which Tanfield won from Swift, with Spaniard More scooping the remaining point with third.
And then it was on to the climb of the Cote de Lofthouse. Tanfield and Mora were unable to live with the pace set by their breakaway rivals and it was Gullen who bagged maximum points at the summit.
The BIKE Channel Canyon man was not done there, though, and with the help of Mora battled to rejoin the leading pair as the peloton began to step on the gas.
Having pegged the gap at two minutes, they cranked up the chase and as the escapees approached the final intermediate sprint in Ripon, it was hovering around 60 seconds.
Mora edged Tanfield out in the sprint after Gullen had launched a hopeful solo bid and with little over 20km remaining, the catch was made. Jacques Janse van Rensburg, of Dimension Data, counter-attacked but his move had little impact.
Direct Energie’s Bryan Nauleau was the next to go on the offensive as the peloton powered inside 15km to go. Dexter Gardias then bridged to the Frenchman, dragging Jack Pullar with him as the team lit the blue touchpaper for a thrilling final 10km.
The peloton were in no mood to pass up the chance for a bunch sprint, though, and brought it back before Bouhanni showed his strength in a brutal uphill kick to the line.
Chris Opie launched his bid for success and in an extremely grippy finale crossed the line in 14th, with Max Stedman, Rob Partridge and Gardias all in the front group, keeping their general classification hopes alive.