Back-to-back wins for Williams who extends the race lead
After yesterday’s stage win and race leadership, our riders faced today’s stage two with the pressure of defending Stevie Williams’ leader’s jersey. The stage featured a mountaintop finish, with almost 8 kilometers at a nine percent average gradient. The day was off to a nervous start and our George Stavrakakis was involved in one of the crashes shortly after the stage was on. 

A group of 15 riders formed the breakaway of the day, with our Ide Schelling representing the Academy interests in the front. The race went on without any major incidents with our other five riders well-placed in the bunch and keep the legs fresh for the hard final. The breakaway lost members up to the point to begin the climbs with just three riders left, including our 20-year Dutchman, but shortly after the peloton reached the slopes of the infamous Goliere Neige, the race was back in one piece. After the excellent effort that Stravakakis, Lenderink, and Hoole put on the flat part of the stage to control the break, Maas and Schelling took over and set the pace for the first part of the climb. The slopes over 10% made it an elimination race with Williams being in the favorites group all the way. With 500 m the Welshman launched his attack and rode solo to the file, taking his second win in two stages and extending his overall lead. 

After back-to-back wins, Williams leads the overall classification with a 29-second margin to his closest rival. The 21-year old climber also took the lead in the KOM jersey after dominating the two uphill finishes races so far. Tomorrow’s stage three holds a flatter but tricky parcour that will take the riders from Lévignac to Boulogne-sur-Gesse through a 153 km long loop.

Stevie Williams, two out of two stages to his name in the 2018 Ronde de l’Isard: 
“I am beyond happy for this win. I want to thank my teammates who rode incredibly all the long, not only keeping me safe but also controlling the race and setting the pace uphill. In the end, it was just an elimination race as the toughness of the climb dropped the riders that were not that strong. In the final part, I just felt that I had that bit extra and I went with 500 m to go, and it worked. We have two stages left, so we must keep on working the way we have been doing it so far”.