Tour de Picardie: Feillu powers to stage two win
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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tour de Picardie: Feillu powers to stage two win

by VeloNation Press at 3:00 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
Crash splits peloton on the way to the finishing town

Romain FeilluRomain Feillu (Vacansoleil-DCM) notched up his fifth victory of the season today in stage two of the Tour de Picardie.  THe Frenchman was fastest as the field hit the line in Château-Thierry, beating Saïd Haddou (Team Europcar) and Mathieu Drujon (BigMat-Auber 93) into second and third respectively.  Yesterday's winner Lithuanian Egidijus Juodvalkis (Landbouwkrediet) remains leader in the general classification.

136 riders took the start today in Villers-Saint-Paul for the 166.5 kilometer stage.  Early into the stage a group of 34 riders had a small gap on the peloton, but they would come back together in a fast first hour of racing marked by a tailwind.  Despite the quick pace, a trio of French riders including Jean Lou Paiani (Saujasun-Saur), Johan Le Bon (Bretagne Schuller) and Nicolas Bazin (BigMat-Auber 93) managed to break free from the peloton to form the break of the day.

The Frenchmen rode to a maximum advantage of 5 minutes over the peloton, but as the kilometers counted down their lead did the same.  At the 92 kilometer mark the trio saw the first sprint of the day, with Bazin taking maximum points ahead of Paiani and Le Bon, with their lead down the 3 minutes on the chase.  Behind the Landbouwkrediet team continued to chip away at the three leaders' advantage in order to defend Juodvalkis' race lead.

With just over 25 kilometers left to race the trio only had 40 seconds in hand, and from there the peloton made short work of bringing them back into the fold.  A crash on the descent to the coast 15 kilometers from the line split the race into three, knocking some favorites out of contention and sealing up what would be a field sprint for victory.

On the run into the line it was Felliu who was fastest up the false flat to take the stage.  Juodvalkis finished safely in the front group to retain the leader's jersey, while Kenny De Haes (Omega Pharma-Lotto) captured the Green Jersey, and Le Bon sealed up the climber's jersey and most aggressive rider award.

Tomorrow's 189.5 kilometer final stage from Charly-sur-Marne to Péronne with its lumpy profile will test the sprinters to sort out the overall prize.


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