His parents opened a restaurant in Los Angeles, but Max preferred the nomadic life of a professional bike racer. That is why he turned up in Gateshead yesterday, sprinting fast enough to hold off Adri van der Poel, a Dutchman who has a habit of finishing second, notably in five world championships.
His victory margin, plus a time deduction for winning, deposed the overnight leader, Hendrik Redant, of Belgium, and installed Sciandri in the yellow jersey by three seconds from the Dutchman Jos van Aert. It was Sciandri's third win of the season, the 15th of his pro career, and joined his prestigious stage successes in the Tours of Italy and Romandy.
Sciandri's English relatives, anticipating great things, have already rented a house in Leeds, Friday's finishing point, for a weekend party. 'I have never won a stage race. Twice I have been third, so I will try to hold on to the jersey,' Sciandri said. 'I realised that I would have to lead from the last corner if I wanted to win.'
He turned that corner with Van der Poel, the Swiss Heinz Imboden and Van Aert in his wake. They had caught Van Aert with a lap to go on the finishing circuit, but not before he had gained a time deduction for winning an intermediate sprint.
For most of the 133 miles from Edinburgh, Redant's vigilant Lotto racers kept a tight rein. They lost their grip in Gateshead, however, and Redant slipped to fourth overall, eight seconds behind Sciandri.
KELLOGG'S TOUR OF BRITAIN: Second stage (Edinburgh to Gateshead, 133 miles): 1 M Sciandri (Motorola, It) 5hr 38min 02sec; 2 A Van der Poel (Tulip, Neth); 3 H Imboden (Subaru- Montgomery, Swit); 4 J Van Aert (PDM, Neth) all same time; 5 E Bouwmans (Panasonic, Neth) +7sec; 6 M Kummer (PDM, Ger). Selected: 8 P Anderson (Motorola, Aus); 16 S Yates (Motorola, GB); 19 R Millar (TVM, GB); 21 H Redant (Lotto, Bel) all +7; 78 G LeMond (Z, US) +2min 17sec. Overall positions: 1 Sciandri 7hr 40min 01sec; 2 Van Aert +3sec; 3 Van der Poel +7; 4 Redant +8; 5 O Ludwig (Panasonic, Ger) +16; 6 J Museeuw (Lotto, Bel) +18. Selected: 7 Anderson +20; 14 Yates +22; 19 Millar same time; 79 LeMond +2min 32sec.