SPRINTER Rick Zabel won stage two of the Tour de Yorkshire in Bedale.

The 132km stage from Doncaster came down to a bunch sprint which Zabel took comfortably.

Mark Cavendish had looked well-placed but ended up boxed out and sat up short of the line to finish in the main pack.

Roompot-Charles' Boy van Poppel was second a day after team-mate Jesper Asselman won the opening stage, while Chris Lawless of Team Ineos was third.

Andy Tennant of Canyon dhb took fourth, with Dan McLay, racing for Great Britain, finished fifth.

A six-man breakaway was caught with a little over ten kilometres to go, and a handful of counter-attacks failed to set up the bunch sprint.

The men were treated to slightly better weather than the women on the ride north from Barnsley, with the rain relenting as the day went on, even if it remained cold.

The breakaway had gone clear early in the stage, with Wiggins Le Col rider James Fouche going clear to crest the day's only categorised climb in Lindley solo.

Their lead was never more than two and a half minutes, and while that was just enough for Asselman to take the win on Thursday's opening stage in Selby, the peloton would not make the same mistake twice.

Zabel told teamkatushaalpecin.com: “I’m so, so happy to win a race. I really couldn’t believe it. I just realised it when I went to the podium and I was standing here. Tears came to my eyes. 

"As a bike rider you want to win, and my last win was four years ago. Normally I am a lead out guy and I don’t have too many chances for myself. It’s just a super nice day for me that I can see ways to win races at the professional level.” 

The German added: "I don't know how, but I came in a good position in the last 500m, then I saw the 300m sign and I know I can do a long sprint. I thought 'OK, I must go for it. If someone comes over me at least I tried.' 

"I was so afraid when I came in the last 50m because I'm not a guy who wins often and I thought today maybe I can win, and I was so afraid if someone comes over - it was such a relief when I crossed the line.”

The result means Asselman retains the overall race lead but now just by one second from Zabel, with Van Poppel a further four seconds back.

Asselman said: “It was a tough stage, especially on the World Championships circuit, and my team had a good day because we defended the blue jersey and also got Boy [Van Poppel] in the green one. Hopefully the next few days will be equally good but it gets a lot harder from now on with a lot of steep climbs and I hope I can stay up there.”

The general classification standings are expected to receive a shake-up on today's (SAT) much tougher 135km stage from Bridlington to Scarborough, which features 1,850m of climbing.

Jersey Wearers after Stage Two

  • Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries GC Jersey: Jesper Asselman (Roompot-Charles)
  • LNER King of the Mountains Jersey: Jacob Hennessey (Canyon DHB p/b Bloor Homes)
  • Asda Points Jersey: Boy van Poppel (Roompot-Charles)
  • Dimension Data Digital Jersey: Jake Scott (Swift Carbon Pro Cycling)