British rider Lukas Nerurkar won the second stage of the ORLEN Nations Grand Prix, which took place entirely on Hungarian soil, ahead of Antonio Morgado (Portugal) in second and Alexander Hajek (Austria) in third. The stage, which started in Hatvan and ended in Bükkszentkereszt, covered 152 kilometres and featured three challenging climbs.
“I am happy that I was able to make it to the final climb, because it was really an incredible team effort that I was able to finish. It was a really good race for us,” said an excited Lukas Nerurkar. “It was a challenging road, which made the climb even harder because it’s harder to fight with the gravel. The rest of the stage was really scenic and really nice.”
The sunny weather that greeted the riders in Hatvan, with temperatures reaching 20 degrees, certainly had a positive effect on the 137 riders at the start.
From the first few kilometres of the race there were many attacks from different teams all along the route, but none of them managed to make a real difference. The last to surrender was Portuguese Alfonso Eulalio, who was caught by the peloton just before the final climb.
The Italian team set the pace on the final climb and one of the first to pay the price was race leader Nikolaj Mengel, who was dropped from the lead group with 3km to go when his deficit was around 30″.
A small group that had formed at the head of the peloton went on to fight for the stage win in Bükkszentkereszt, which was won by Lukas Nerurkar, followed by Antonio Morgado and Alexander Hajek a few seconds later.
Mengel handled the finish very well, finishing 41 sekunds behind the winner and maintaining his lead in the general classification. “I am relieved. The last climb was very tough and I got a lot of help from my team-mates. I am really happy about that. I managed to lose as little time as possible and I am ready to fight again tomorrow. We’ll give it our all tomorrow and hopefully I’ll be here again,” said a satisfied NIkolaj Mengel.
Tomorrow the caravan moves on to Slovakia for another mountain stage, which ends with the difficult uphill finish in Štrbské Pleso.
Will the leader of the ORLEN Nations Grand Prix change? We will have to wait until tomorrow to find out.