Two years on from an impressive solo victory in the Tour of Britain on the south coast in Brighton, Julien Vermote outsprinted home favourite Steve Cummings at the end of an arduous stage through Cumbria and the Lake District, for win number two in Britain’s biggest professional cycle race.

Unlike then, when Vermote was already someway down on General Classification by Stage Seven, this time the Etixx Quick-Step rider was shaping the race, and pulled on the Yellow Jersey presented by Eisberg non-alcoholic wine post-stage.

“I knew once the break it had gone it would be very difficult to catch us or if they did catch us they would have wasted a lot of energy as well.

“Once I saw Cummings coming back I knew I had to stay in his wheel because once he gets a little gap he’s gone. We had good co-operation between us but I’m really glad I could take the stage win.”

Discussing a race that the he clearly enjoys riding in, the affable Belgian said;

“I asked the team to come here, I knew it wasn’t originally in the programme but I knew there would be some opportunities. It’s an open race with only 6 riders per team so that makes it different to all the other races. It’s a really tough race though, small roads and up and down all day but I’m just really happy I took my chance.

“It was a really long day for me, part of a 15 man breakaway with some really good riders in there. It was not so easy to stay at the front but that was our advantage at the end when it came to the really steep climb.

“It definitely helped being with Cummings at the end because when you are together as two strong riders and there’s some hesitation behind you it better if you’re with someone who can just go for it.”

You can watch highlights of Stage Two and Vermote's victory in our wrap-up package here.

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