Vaugrenard foxes the sprinters in Algarve stage 1
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Vaugrenard foxes the sprinters in Algarve stage 1

by Ben Atkins at 11:50 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Volta ao Algarve
 

Benoît Vaugrenard (la Française des Jeux) surprised the sprinters’ teams with a late attack to take a solo victory in the first stage of the Volta ao Algarve. He finished three seconds clear of fellow breakaway specialist Joan Horrach (Katusha), who in turn was two seconds ahead of the peloton, led by André Greipel (HTC-Columbia).

The main breakaway of the day featured three Portuguese riders, Hugo Sabido (LA-Rota dos Moveis), Luis Pinheiro (Madeinox-Boavista) and Pedro Lopes (Centro Ciclismo de Loule-Louletano), eager to impress in their home race. They were joined by Belgian Jérôme Baugnies (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator) and, despite the rainy conditions, built up a maximum lead of 9’30” at the second intermediate sprint with 60km to go, before the peloton began to reel them in.

With a fierce pace set on the front by Greipel’s HTC-Columbia team the gap fell steadily, and with 45km to go it was down to just 4’30”; just 15km later it was down to 2’15”. With the breakaway’s capture imminent, Lopes made a bid for solo victory, but with 14km remaining he too was reeled in and the peloton was all together.

Despite the rain stopping and the sun coming out, the roads were still slippery and a crash in the bunch brought down several riders, including RadioShack’s sprinter Tomas Vaitkus.

Just when a sprint looked inevitable, Vaugrenard launched his attack. Horrach, who spent much of last week in solo attacks on his home island of Mallorca, decided to follow the Frenchman. He was unable to catch Vaugrenard but managed to keep the peloton at bay to finish second, ahead of a fast-finishing Greipel.

Tour de France champion Alberto Contador (Astana) finished safely in the peloton in his first race of the season.

Result stage 1
1. Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) la Française des Jeux
2. Joan Horrach (Spa) Katusha @ 3s
3. André Greipel (Ger) HTC-Columbia @ 5s
4. Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) la Française des Jeux
5. Nick Nuyens (Bel) Rabobank
6. Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quick Step
7. Rui Costa (Por) Caisse d’Epargne
8. Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervélo TestTeam
9. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
10. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Cofidis

Standings after stage 1
1. Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) la Française des Jeux
2. Joan Horrach (Spa) Katusha @ 7s
3. André Greipel (Ger) HTC-Columbia @ 11s

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