Tour of Britain stage 2: Robin Carpenter solos to win in Exeter, takes race lead

Rally Cycling rider surges to breakaway victory, dropping his companions and holding off a late charge from the peloton. He now leads Wout van Aert by 22 seconds in the GC.

Photo: Harry Trump/Getty Images

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Robin Carpenter (Rally Cycling) romped to victory in Exeter on stage 2 of the Tour of Britain, making him the new overall race leader.

Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) won the sprint from the bunch some 33 seconds behind Carpenter with Alex Peters (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling) in third.

Carpenter started the day just 20 seconds down on the race leader, and stage 1 winner, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma). With his substantial winning margin, he now leads the race by 22 seconds over van Aert with Hayter in third at 26 seconds.

“I’ve been wanting a win in Europe for a number of years now and I’ve come really close, so it feels really amazing,” Carpenter said at the finish. “We’ve had a lot of success in the last few weeks, and this just builds on it. The leader’s jersey is something that I didn’t expect but I’m very excited and the team has done so well recently.

“I dropped him and then I saw that there was 25 to go and I thought ‘oh my’ it’s going to be a long day. It was hot out there. It seems like it doesn’t get that hot here very often. I just tried not to blow up and keep the pace steady. I knew there were some downhills and if I could recover then I could keep going that little bit.

“We still had five minutes with 40k to go, so I knew I had to get rid of everybody else and not worry about taking anybody else to the line or having to worry about anybody else sprinting. I’ve been out-sprinted before in finishes like this, so I wanted to make sure I wasn’t worried about anybody else this time.”

Carpenter drops his breakaway companions

Carpenter was the last man standing from a five-rider escape that went clear early on after a frenetic start to the stage.

The 29-year-old from Philadelphia dropped the last of his breakaway companions with just under 25k to go. After holding an advantage of over four minutes at the start of his solo effort, he began losing time in the final 15k, but the late chase from the peloton behind couldn’t deny him his first UCI win since 2017.

With 600 meters to go, Carpenter was assured of his win and a big smile spread across his face as he charged towards the finish. In a sign of just how much it meant to him, Carpenter flung his sunglasses into the cheering crowd as he crossed the line.

With small teams, the Tour of Britain is often unpredictable and a difficult race to control but and Rally will face a difficult task in defending Carpenter’s overall lead. The first major challenge for Carpenter and his Rally teammates will be the team time trial Tuesday.

“I’m just going to try not to get dropped by my team tomorrow. I had to go really deep today. I wanted the stage win and the leader’s jersey is a big plus. I’m just going to try and defend it as best I can,” Carpenter said.


  1. Robin Carpenter (Rally Cycling) 04:45:56
  2. Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) + 00:33
  3. Alex Peters (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling)
  4. Max Kanter (Team DSM)
  5. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)
  6. Rory Townsend (Canyon dhb SunGod)
  7. Mikkel Honoré (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)
  8. Ethan Vernon (Great Britain)
  9. Kristian Sbaragli (Alpecin-Fenix)
  10. Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka-NextHash)

General classification

  1. Robin Carpenter (Rally Cycling) 09:19:33
  2. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) +00:22
  3. Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) +00:26
  4. Gonzalo Serrano Rodriguez (Movistar) +00:28
  5. Alex Peters (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling)
  6. Rory Townsend (Canyon dbh SunGod) +00:32
  7. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)
  8. Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka-NextHash)
  9. Kristian Sbaragli (Alpecin-Fenix)
  10. Mikkel Honoré (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)

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