Eneco Tour: Arnaud Démare takes the lead with stage two victory
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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Eneco Tour: Arnaud Démare takes the lead with stage two victory

by Ben Atkins at 10:35 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Eneco Tour
 
Time bonuses give French star the jersey as Mark Renshaw suffers late puncture

arnaud demare Arnaud Démare (FDJ.fr) sprinted into the lead of the 2013 Eneco Tour with victory in the second stage, between Ardooie and Forest, on the outskirts of the Belgian capital Brussels, in an uphill bunch sprint. The French former under-23 World champion beat current elite rainbow jersey Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) into second place in the dash for the line, with American Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) taking a season’s best result in the WorldTour with third.

A puncture for race leader Mark Renshaw (Belkin) with two kilometres to go prevented the Australian from contesting the sprint. While the incident’s occurring inside the final three kilometres meant that Renshaw was given the same time as the stage winner, the time bonus on the line meant that Démare took over the white and red jersey.

“I actually didn’t feel that great at the beginning of the race,” said Démare afterwards. So I was surprised that I could do something in the finale. I saw riders like Philippe Gilbert and Filippo Pozzato [Lampre-Merida] getting ready for a sprint and I just followed them. In the end I managed to outsprint everyone. I’m very happy with my victory.”

The uphill straight was not unlike that in Copenhagen, Denmark, where Démare took his under-23 title in September 2011, which was something not lost on the 21-year-old Frenchman.

“I like finishes with an incline,” he said. “You could compare the finale of this stage to Copenhagen where I won in the under 23 category.

“I didn’t even know I’d also be leading in the Eneco Tour,” he added. “There has had to be another rift in the group, but this double victory is amazing. We’ll see what we can do to hold on to the white jersey in the days to come.”

The 176.9km stage saw a four-man breakaway from Laurens De Vreese and Tim Declercq (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Mathew Hayman (Team Sky) and Gediminas Bagdonas (AG2R La Mondiale), which escaped after just seven kilometres. After 33km the quartet was 7’17” clear, but this was as wide as its advantage was allowed to grow, as Renshaw’s Belkin team - wearing black armbands to mourn the death of Dutch Prince Friso the previous day - steadily pulled it back.

With 20km to go the four riders still had 2’30” but attacks in the peloton began to see its speed increase sharply. Gert Steegmans (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) managed to get away on the Alsemberg climb and, as the big Belgian was pulled back, his teammate Niki Terpstra went up the road with Matti Breschel (Saxo-Tinkoff). The two riders were able to get a small gap, but Breschel was unable to stay with the former Dutch champion and was soon back in the fold.

Up ahead, at the final Eneco sprint with 13.8km to go, Hayman attacked the break, and only De Vreese and Declercq were able to follow. Terpstra soon caught Bagdonas, but they were soon back in the peloton; into the final nine kilometres the three remaining leaders were just 51 seconds clear, and they were caught with two kilometres to go.

As the sprinters’ teams were lining their men up for the uphill sprint, race leader Renshaw punctured, and Démare was led out by his teammates to beat Gilbert by several lengths.

Result stage 2
1. Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ.fr
2. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
3. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
4. Marko Kump (Slo) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
5. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
6. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Accent.jobs-Wanty
7. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida
8. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team
9. Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling
10. Mathieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ.fr

Standings after stage 2
1. Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ.fr
2. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Belkin Pro Cycling @ 3s
3. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team @ 4s
4. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp @ 6s
5. Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling @ 7s
6. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team @ 8s
7. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol @ 9s
8. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quick Step @ 10s
9. Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ.fr
10. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Accent.jobs-Wanty

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