Cavendish finally comes through in Volta a Catalunya
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cavendish finally comes through in Volta a Catalunya

by Bjorn Haake at 11:42 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 

Mark Cavendish showed everyone that he is back on track for a successful 2010 season, when he outsprinted his competitors in the second stage of the Volta a Catalunya, from Salt to Banyoles (182km). Cavendish beat Juan José Haedo (Team Saxo Bank) and Aitor Galdos (Euskaltel-Euskadi). Milram's Paul Voss defended his slim lead over the RadioShack duo Levi Leipheimer (one second behind) and Andreas Klöden (two seconds) in the overall classification.

HTC-Columbia was one of the active teams to reel in the breakaway of Peter Stetina (Garmin Transitions) and Jonathan Castroviejo (Euskaltel), with 13km to go. The sprinters' teams then controlled the pace in the final to set up the bunch sprint.

Cavendish was happy but explained that setting things up for victory was difficult. "There were a lot of teams scraping for position at the end and it was quite dangerous," he said afterwards. "But even though we have a young squad here and they're still learning the ropes, they stayed together and gave it 100 percent. Without them I wouldn't have been able to do my sprint. I wouldn't have been there."

Cavendish admitted the season start without wins was hard for him. "By this point in the season last year I had six victories. This time the year began badly and not to have won anything so far has been frustrating. But my form's been getting better and better and the team never lost faith in me." It was his 52nd win of his professional career.

Euskaltel has good day

Third-placed Galdos said that third was a good result for him. "I felt quite good. It was a difficult circuit, with a lot of turns." Galdos' sprint wasn't quite perfect. "I had some problems with my gears - the chain jumped from the 11 into the 12. I needed to shift and return to sprinting, that way I lost second place."

Now he wants more. "I like the stage that finishes on the Montjuic the best. I think it really will suit me well. The team is battling quite hard and Castroviejo was in the break of the day."

Castroviejo took the lead in the special sprints. "Our director told us to pay attention to the breaks right from the start and I was able to get away with Stetina." They were going quite quickly and with 65km to go they still had eight minutes. "For a moment I thought we could make it, but then they got organized behind and it was impossible to stay away. In addition we had a head wind in the end and after 160km..."

He was happy to receive the special sprint jersey. "It is always important to go onto the podium. We'll see if we can defend it. Tomorrow is a tough stage, with a mountain of the special category."

Surprise at the start

The race started with a surprise, as Andy Schleck did not show up at the start line, due to stomach problems. The only difficulty of the day was the category one Alt Els Angels (kilometer 58). To establish a break before the climb, attacks started early. Stetina and Castroviejo took off at kilometer nine, followed by another pair: Pedro Merino (Footon-Servetto-Fuji) and Javier Ramírez (Andalucía-CajaSur).

Merino and Ramírez were chasing hard but never could close the gap to the front duo. After 25 kilometers, they were 1'28 behind the leaders, with the peloton at six minutes.

At the beginning of the climb, Merino and Ramírez were 2'30 behind Stetina and Castroviejo. The peloton, led by Milram, was at almost ten minutes. Over the top of the Alt Els Engels, the front two increased their lead on the chasers, although the peloton was able to cut the lead to 8'30.

Merino and Ramírez were absorbed by the peloton and after 100 kilometers the gap was around 6'30. The feed zone gave the two a little bit of a chance to increase the gap again, but with only a little more than 50 kilometers to go, the peloton started to take out time consistently.

When Stetina and Castroviejo entered the first of four finishing circuits, less than 40km from the finish, the gap was at 4'40. Their run was finally over 13km from the finish, shortly before the peloton entered the final lap.

Tomorrow's third stage goes from La Vall d'En Bas to La Seu d'Urgell, over 185 kilometers.

Results stage 2

1. Mark Cavendish (Team HTC-Columbia) 4:15:46
2. Juan José Haedo (Team Saxo Bank) m.t.
3. Aitor Galdos (Euskaltel-Euskadi) m.t.
4. Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis) m.t.
5. Michel Kreder (Garmin-Transitions) m.t.
6. Manuel Cardoso (Footon-Servetto-Fuji) m.t.
7. Kristjan Koren (Liquigas) m.t.
8. Nicola Roche (AG2R) m.t.
9. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions) m.t.
10. Daniel Moreno (Omega Pharma-Lotto) m.t.

General classification after stage 2

1. Paul Voss (Team Milram) 4:20:43
2. Levi Leipheimer (Team RadioShack) at 0'01
3. Andreas Kloden (Team RadioShack) at 0'02
4. Dominik Nerz (Team Milram) at 0'04
5. Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-Lotto)



 

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