"V" for Victory as Cavendish cruises to Romandie stage two
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Thursday, April 29, 2010

"V" for Victory as Cavendish cruises to Romandie stage two

by Ben Atkins at 11:56 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour of Romandie

mark cavendishMark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) won the second stage of the Tour de Romandie in a sprint finish in Fribourg. After being dropped towards the end of yesterday’s first stage it was a simple victory for the Manx Express at the end of the rolling 171.8km course. Danilo Hondo (Lampre-Farnese Vini) was second and Robbie Hunter (Garmin-Transitions) was third.

The often-controversial young Briton crossed the line with a two-fingered salute aimed at those people in the media who have criticised his less than successful start to the season. “Certain people think that the team and me have lost our motivation, our form,” he said after the stage. “But I knew that my form would return. Today I’ve proved that I’ve lost none of my talent, despite what has been said and written by certain people.”

A breakaway of four escaped the peloton after 10km, consisting of: Mikhail Ignatyev (Katusha), Denis Van Winden (Rabobank), Alan Perez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Chad Beyer (BMC Racing). Beyer was also in the break yesterday and wears the sprint competition jersey; he would be looking to increase his lead in the competition in the two intermediate sprints on the course. After 45km the lead was 4’25”, and at the feedzone after 88km the lead was 4’55” over the Liquigas-Doimo led peloton.

As the escapees crossed the climb of La Lourette, just after they crossed the finish line in Fribourg for the first time to start the two finishing laps, the lead was down to 3’30”.

With the Liquigas team in no hurry to pull them back, with 50km to go the gap was still almost 3 minutes, with 40km to go it was down to 2’20”, and as they passed through the finish line to start the final lap it was less than 2 minutes. Just like yesterday Beyer was forced to let the other breakaways go on the final climb, but his first place on the day’s first sprint means that he will keep his jersey for another day. Soon he, and Van Winden, would be back in the peloton as Philippe Gilbert (OmegaPharma-Lotto) drove the pace with Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne) in close attendance.

With 33km to go the gap held by Ignatyev and Perez over the peloton was just 33 seconds.

As the peloton got closer to the two remaining breakaways, Charly Wegelius (OmegaPharma-Lotto), David Lopez (Caisse d’Epargne) and David Loosli (Lampre-Farnese Vini) jumped forward to join them. At 30km from the finish the breakaway was over as it was finally absorbed by the front group of the peloton, which, like yesterday, was splitting under pressure from the strong teams at the front.

After a number of attacks on the peloton Jérémy Roy (Française des Jeux), third place overall, managed to escape with Simon Spilak (Lampre-Farnese Vini) and Tom Stamsnijder (Rabobank). The three riders managed to pull out a small gap of 12 seconds as the peloton regrouped behind them. The trio was soon caught though, and the next to go was Mattias Brandle (Footon-Servetto) on his own.

With no team willing to commit to the front of the peloton this early Brandle managed to claw out a lead of 45 seconds, but with 15km to go this was reduced to 30. Steve Morabito (BMC Racing) managed to bridge across to Brandle, and as the pair entered the closing stages they were joined by Christophe Riblon (AG2R-La Mondiale). The lead was 12 seconds with just under 10km to go, with the peloton led by Euskaltel-Euskadi.

With 5km to go it was all over for the breakaways and the peloton headed for and inevitable sprint at the finish in Fribourg, led by Cavendish’s HTC-Columbia team. Race leader Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Doimo) and a number of other sprinters were among those present at the front of the peloton, but in the end it was a simple victory for the Manxman.

Sagan finished fifth on the stage and retains his lead overall.

Result stage 2
1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Columbia
2. Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre-Farnese Vini
3. Robert Hunter (RSA) Garmin-Transitions
4. Lucas Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank
5. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Doimo

Standings after stage 2
1. Peter Sagan (SVK/LIQ) 9hrs 24min 28sec
2. Marco Pinotti (ITA/THR) at 09sec.
3. Jérémy Roy (FRA/FDJ) 09
4. Danilo Hondo (GER/LAM) 11
5. Michael Rogers (AUS/THR) 12
6. Christophe Moreau (FRA/GCE) 14
7. Francesco Gavazzi (ITA/LAM) 15
8. Roman Kreuziger (CZE/LIQ) 15
9. Ruben Plaza (ESP/GCE) 15
10. Haimar Zubeldia (ESP/RSH) 15


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