Great Britain’s Matt Gibson leads the general classification after the second day of the Course de la Paix, the UCI Nations’ Cup Juniors stage race in the Czech Republic.
Day two of the Bohemian race was a split stage with an 11.6km time trial in the morning followed by a 63-kilometre road stage in the afternoon. Gibson took the overall lead in the morning’s test against the clock and remained in the jersey after finishing fourth on stage 2b in the afternoon.
The day began with an 11.6-kilometre individual time-trial starting and finishing in Trebenice. The previous day, coach Matt Winston hinted that the time-trial was a yardstick for his riders and that he hoped to get a couple of riders in the top twenty.
However Matt Gibson delivered above and beyond expectation, beating USA’s William Barta by 12 seconds and taking the overall race leader’s jersey. Junior time trial world champion Igor Decraene of Belgium was third, 16 seconds back.
There was no time to reflect as the squad of Gibson, James Shaw, Joe Evans, Joe Holt, Gabriel Cullaigh and Leon Gledhill prepared for the second half of day two, the 63-kilometre stage starting and finishing in Roudnice nad Labem.
Prior to Gibson’s time-trial victory, the team’s goal for day two had been to aim for a sprint lead-out and work on team-riding skills, but their focus quickly shifted to defending Gibson’s maillot jaune.
"The plan was to defend the jersey and get the boys to learn how to ride and look after themselves and keep us in the jersey,” said coach Matt Winston. “We set the boys up to do that.
"We had our boys at the front just controlling it, maybe did a bit too much riding but it's the first time they've been in that situation and the first time as a team we've had to defend a jersey so it was a good learning day.
“A lot of points that we learnt; how to ride on the front; when do we bring the break back, all that sort of stuff, which we'll de-brief later."
Gibson’s fourth place came despite the rider puncturing with 10-kilometres to go. The 17-year-old took a wheel from teammate Shaw and regained the lead group with eight-kilometres to go.
Shaw then received a wheel from the team car and regained the group with five-kilometres to go, in time to lead Gibson out on the cobbled, uphill finish, the Great Britain rider taking fourth place and securing the maillot jaune ahead of the penultimate stage on Saturday, the longest of the race, taking the riders 101.8km from Teplice to Zinnwald with two ascents of the 900m Komárí Vížka climb.
"We'll take the yellow jersey into tomorrow's stage and we'll still have round about a 12-second advantage,” said Winston.
“No expectations there - just do our best. Give it 100 percent, see what happens on the other side of it really.”
At the end of day two yellow jersey Matt Gibson said: "I'm really happy to have my first international road win. Very pleased to be in yellow. I'll see what I can do tomorrow and hopefully try to keep it.
"I wasn't sure how well I'd do. I crashed the day before and my legs after that were feeling a bit ropy but in the morning I felt really good."
Great Britain go into stage three with three riders in the top twenty on general classification; James Shaw in 18th and Joe Evans in 19th after solid rides in the time-trial, which saw them finish 50 and 51 seconds respectively behind teammate Gibson.