Circuit Franco-Belge: Marcel Kittel takes win number eleven on aggressive stage two
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Friday, September 28, 2012

Circuit Franco-Belge: Marcel Kittel takes win number eleven on aggressive stage two

by Ben Atkins at 12:06 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
German sprinter fastest yet again after a day of attacks on hilly Poperinge circuit

marcel kittelMarcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) was the fastest of the sprinters yet again as he took victory in the second stage of the Eurométropole Tour/Circuit Franco-Belge between Antoing and Poperinge. The German sprinter was led to the line at the end of the 178.9km stage, which ended with three laps of a 24.4km finishing circuit, based on the climb of Mont Rouge, after a number of breakaways dominated the race.

In second place was Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ-BigMat) - who still seeks his second victory in the French champion's jersey - with Aidis Kruopis (Orica-GreenEdge) third.

Reactions to follow

The first break of the day came from David Boucher (FDJ-BigMat), Stijn Neirnynck (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator), Justin Van Hoecke (Wallonie Bruxelles-Crédit Agricole) and Loic Desriac (Roubaix-Lille Métropole). The four riders escaped in the opening ten kilometres, and managed to open up their maximum advantage of 4’50” by the 50km point before the Lotto-Belisol team began to pull them back.

A crash in the peloton after 70km saw Ben Swift (Team Sky) and Sep Vanmarcke (Garmin-Sharp) abandon the race. The peloton was still 3’20” behind the four leaders as Neirninck led them over the top of the Mont Rouge for the first time after 90.4km, but was down to 1’28” as Boucher led them across the finish line for the first time, after 105.7km, to take the first intermediate sprint.

As Neirnynck led over the climb for the second time the lead was still 1’31”, but it fell quickly after the descent and they were finally caught after 128km, shortly before they reached the finish line for the first time.

There was an almost immediate counterattack from Bjorn Thurau (Europcar), and the sone of the German former World champion was joined by Marcus Burghardt (BMC Racing), Christopher Juul Jensen (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), Florent Barle (Cofidis) and Kenneth Van Bilsen (AN Post-Sean Kelly). This new group was 1’12” clear as they crossed the climb for the third time - with Burghardt leading the way - and was still 58” seconds as the BMC Racing rider took the second intermediate sprint shortly afterwards.

As they crossed the line, to start the final circuit with 24.4km to go, the five leaders were 32 seconds clear, but were caught shortly afterwards, as the climb began. With the peloton now all together, Laurens De Vreese (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator) took the points over the top of the climb, to protect teammate Neirnynck’s new lead in the mountains classification.

Roelandts took first place over the third and final intermediate sprint, with 12.2km to go, to take three bonus seconds; the Belgian only increased his lead over Rabobank’s Maarten Wynants however, as he took second place. There was a brief solo attack from British champion Ian Stannard (Team Sky) but the Argos-Shimano team was lined up on the front of the peloton, and delivered Kittel to his eleventh victory of the season.

Roelandts’ time bonuses saw him increase his lead slightly, while Wynants moved up to second place ahead of Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), just eleven seconds behind the Lotto-Belisol rider.

Result stage 2
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano
2. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ-BigMat
3. Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Orica-GreenEdge
4. Jürgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
5. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen
6. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan
7. Steven Caethoven (Bel) Verandas
8. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin-Sharp
9. Andy Fenn (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
10. Kenny Van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM

Standings after stage 2
1. Jürgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
2. Maarten Wynants (Bel) Rabobank @ 11s
3. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step @ 12s
4. Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Team Sky @ 16s
5. Karsten Kroon (Ned) Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank @ 17s
6. Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Orica-GreenEdge @ 50s
7. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ-BigMat @ 51s
8. David Boucher (Fra) FDJ-BigMat @ 52s
9. Stijn Neirnynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator @ 54s
10. Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team


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