Ravard wins Poitou-Charentes stage ahead of Rollin
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ravard wins Poitou-Charentes stage ahead of Rollin

by Bjorn Haake at 2:52 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 
Roux keeps his overall lead after second stage

Anthony RavardAnthony Ravard of the French AG2R team sprinted to victory in the second stage of the Tour of Poitou-Charentes, ahead of Canadian Dominique Rollin. Anthony Roux stays in the overall lead after his day one victory. Ravard is second, five seconds behind Roux. Rollin also is well placed, in fifth, nine seconds adrift.

The winner was quite happy with his coup, following the right man in the end. "In the final kilometers I found myself behind the wheel of [Jimmy] Casper. I went with 250 meters to go and I was successful, despite the head wind, Ravard said. He drew strength from the team which put all its trust in the Frenchman. "Already in Limousin, the team was looking out for me quite well and that really helped my morale. It is my third victory of the season and that feels good." He had won two stages at the Circuit de la Sarthe earlier this year. "I want to win races, I am not here to get 10th!"

Ravard is feeling much better than this summer. "I had a lot of concerns with my back this year and I am coming from really far," he said. "I wasn't very well in the training camp in July in La Toussuire and I was asking myself a lot of questions." Nonetheless, he started the Tour of Poland. "But I didn't feel very well and I stopped after four days. The Tour du Limousin allowed me to get back into it and I came to the Tour du Poitou-Charentes with the desire to win one."

Rollin came ever so close to his first Pro win in mainland Europe, having already tasted success in the Tour of Ireland. Rollin is one for the tough races and today was no exception. "Today’s stage was a hard one with a lot of wind," said his sports director Marcello Albasini. "There was a breakaway of two riders, who eventually reached a maximum gap of six minutes."

Then the Cervélo TestTeam picked up the pace. "In the last 50 km we started to move up to the front, because of the wind. At the front we started to pull and other teams helped us and then we prepared the sprint for Dominique." Rollin could count on two fast men to get him into an ideal position. "Jeremy Hunt and Gabriel Rasch helped him out in the final and Dominique sprinted to a second place, though he came really close, and was narrowly beaten by Anthony Ravard."

Despite Rollin's good standing, a yellow jersey for him is not in the plan. "We are still in a good position with [Konovalovas] Ignatas, who is our designated GC rider, as we head into tomorrow's two stages - a short one in the morning and the individual time trial in the afternoon."

The BMC team was less thrilled with the day in France. Both Steve Morabito and John Murphy abandoned the race. Murphy crashed hard with 30km left to go in the 178 km race, in a section where the course narrowed and a rider stopped suddenly in front of him. After being examined at the hospital, the American was diagnosed with a separated left shoulder and a badly bruised elbow, but has no broken bones, said BMC Racing Team physician Dr. Scott Major. Steve Morabito withdrew due to lower back pain, Major said.

The team did still manage a sixth place, through Alexander Kristoff. Teammates Cole House and Danilo Wyss moved Kristoff into good position and he was on the wheel of Ravard in the final kilometer. "But in the last corner, someone came on my inside and pushed me out in the barriers," Kristoff said. "I came close to crashing and lost 10 positions. I made my way back to a good position, but had to take a lot of wind and did not have anything left the last 200 meters."

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