Great Britain's Mark Cavendish was outsprinted by Leigh Howard as the Australian claimed victory on the second stage of the Tour of Britain yesterday.
Cavendish, the sprint world champion who on Saturday stated his desire to leave Team Sky, was led out by Bradley Wiggins and stage one winner Luke Rowe but did not have enough in the tank to take the win on the 180.7km trek from Nottingham to Knowsley Safari Park near Liverpool.
The Netherlands' Boy Van Poppel, of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, took third place and with it the lead in the general classification from Rowe.
Team Sky dictated the pace with several lone breakaways coming to nothing, and as the stage entered its closing stages it was Tour de France winner Wiggins out front and seemingly poised to tee up Cavendish for the win.
Rowe took over the lead-out duties, but when it came to Cavendish's moment to strike, the Manxman appeared to get boxed in and Howard was able to escape.
"With 600m to go I led into it with Cav in my wheel," Rowe said. "He said he wanted to try and let me go and slip a few wheels back. We knew there was a bit of a dip and he'd use the run.
"Unfortunately on that dip the riders switched from right to left and he got a bit chopped up.
"Cav's shown how fast he was in that finish. It's frustrating but you could see how fast he was coming up at the line."
The eight-stage Tour moves to Scotland today with the third stage from Jedburgh to Dumfries.Reuse content