Tour de Wallonie: Danilo Napolitano sprints into the lead on stage two
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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tour de Wallonie: Danilo Napolitano sprints into the lead on stage two

by Ben Atkins at 2:42 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
Italian takes lead on equal time after another breakaway dominated stage

danilo napolitanoDanilo Napolitano (Acqua & Sapone) sprinted himself into the overall race lead with victory in the second stage of the Tour de Wallonie, between Binche and Mettet. The Italian beat compatriot Davide Appollonio (Team Sky) - who was not quite able to match teammate Mark Cavendish, who was busy taking victory in the final stage of the Tour de France - into second place, with Frenchman Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil-DCM) third, at the end of the rolling 205.5km stage.

The stage was dominated by a two-man attack from Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) and Luke Rowe (Team Sky), who escaped after just five kilometres. The two riders were able to build a maximum lead of 5’40” after 30km, but were caught with 27km to go. There was a late attack from Vladimir Isaychev (Katusha), but he was pulled back before the finish.

Stage one winner Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ-BigMat) could only manage ninth on the stage and, with Napolitano awarded a ten-second time bonus on the line, the Italian drew level on time and took the race lead from the French champion.

The stage began with immediate attacks from a number of riders, before Ignatiev and Rowe managed to escape and, once they were away, the peloton relaxed and allowed them to go. After 30km they were 5’40” ahead before the peloton reacted and began to bring them back.

On the Côte de Foy with 72km to go Preben Van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator) attacked from the peloton and tried to get across to the two leaders. The Belgian managed to get within 55 seconds with 50km to go, but his attack turned out to be a “chasse patate” as this was as close as he was to get.

With the two leaders less than a minute ahead, there was another counter move from RadioShack-Nissan duo Jakob Fuglsang and Nelson Oliveira, but they too were pulled back. At 29km to go, Ignatiev attacked Rowe to try to get away alone, but the break was all over just two kilometres later.

There then followed attacks from Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator), who was joined by Gianni Meersman (Lotto-Belisol), then from Dutch champion Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), but it was Isaychev that managed to get clear, inside the final ten kilometres.

The Russian managed to get ten seconds clear, but was being pursued by the combined forces of FDJ-Big Mat, Team Sky, Garmin-Sharp and Omega Pharma-Quick Step, and was caught with just over three kilometres to go.

Garmin-Sharp led into the final kilometres, but Napolitano was the fastest as the peloton reached the finish.

Result stage 2
1. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
2. Davide Appollonio (Ita) Team Sky
3. Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM
4. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
5. Kevyn Ista (Bel) Verandas
6. Kristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
7. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan
8. Julien Stassen (Bel) Idemasport-Biowanze
9. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ-BigMat
10. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator

Standings after stage 2
1. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
2. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ-BigMat
3. Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky @ 2s
4. Kévin Van Melsen (Bel) Accent Jobs-Willems Vérandas @ 3s
5. Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Katusha Team
6. Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM @ 4s
7. Davide Appollonio (Ita) Team Sky
8. Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale @ 5s
9. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan @ 6s
10. Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM


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