By Jack Wynne – Deputy Sports Editor
Stage two of the Tour of Britain brought some of the best cyclists in the world to Preston.
2011 World Road Race Champion Mark Cavendish and Sir Bradley Wiggins, who won the Tour de France in 2012, were amongst the competitors taking part.
Spectators caught the likes of Wiggins and Cavendish in the outer areas surrounding Preston, including Ribchester, Longridge and Chipping.
The eight stages of the event will see riders start in Anglesey, ascend up to Lancashire, pass Edinburgh, Blyth, Fakenham and Ipswich before finishing in London on 13 September.
Cavendish is part of Belgian team Etixx-Quick Step, which along with nine other teams, belong to road cycling’s top division (UCI world teams).
Meanwhile, Wiggins brings his own Team Wiggins to the annual event for the first time and will be looking to improve on his third place finish last year.
The Tour of Britain is the highest ranked cycle race in the UK and this year will be the 12th edition.
Stage one: Team Sky’s Elia Viviani pips Cavendish
Italian Elia Vivani just sailed past Cavendish on the line in Wrexham, with German Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) not far behind in third.
Wiggins, who was taking part as a member of his own team (Team Wiggins), finished in the main bunch.
Viviani finished the day by also taking the leader’s yellow jersey after a four-man break was caught in the final two kilometres.
Tom Stewart, Pete Williams, Kristian House and Conor Dunne were nine minutes ahead of the main group at one point and still remained a minute ahead with nine kilometres remaining.
Cavendish was one of the favourites at the start of proceedings and the progress of his team along the main body of the route ensured he had a prime position when setting off to sprint for the finish line.
However the Etixx-Quick Step rider, who was watching Greipel, finished second after Viviani narrowly edged past the Brit on the line.
Today Petr Vakoc won the second stage at the Tour of Britain and has taken the overall lead. Juan Jose Lobato from Spain came second with Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway coming third.
Vakoc was clearly on the Quick Step team with 20km remaining on the 159.3km ride from Clitheroe to Colne. Vakoc will be in the yellow jersey for tomorrow’s third stage from Cockermouth to Kelso.
Owain Doull came sixth as the best-placed Briton and Cavendish came 66th.
Pete Kennaugh from Team Sky dropped to 39th overall after receiving a 20-second time penalty for taking an illegal feed with under 15km to go in the stage.
For more information visit the Tour of Britain’s official website.