In a deja vu from the previous day – or is it from last year – Mark Cavendish of the Columbia-HTC team easily took the bunch sprint to claim stage 2 in back-to-back victories at the Tour of Missouri. The same three men were on the podium but with a flip as Thor Hushovd (Cervelo Test Team) finished second and JJ Haedo (Saxo Bank) was third.
“Every time I put my leg over the bike, I want to win.” said Cavendish.
Just as Alex Candelario said prior to the stage, the Kelly Benefit squad came to the front with 5 kilometers to go, to try and wrestle control away from Cavendish’s team. Chaos ensued as the OUCH team got into the mix and the Columbia-HTC team had to put more riders into the chase, leaving only George Hincapie to pilot Cavendish.
“George took me to one K[ilometer], we used up a lot of guys riding, Marco Pinotti had to ride later on. When Cervelo took it on, I could get on Thor’s wheel, there was no need to use energy of George, he still has GC aspirations so I shouted to him that it was okay, I’d just switch off to Thor’s wheel.”
Going into the final kilometer, the Cervelo train was going full gas, with two teammates leading Hushovd into the second to last turn and Brett Lancaster taking Hushovd through the last corner, making Cavendish the third man out of the turn. Cavendish then jumped and went around both men for the win. Lancaster finished fourth on the stage.
The same three guys also placed in the top 10 as Canadian Martin Gilbert (Planet Energy) finished fifth, Candelario was sixth and BMC’s Tony Cruz (see our pre-race interview) was eighth on the stage. Gilbert’s teammate Guillaume Boivin, a stagiaire on the Planet Energy squad and the U23 Canadian Road Champion, finished ninth,
In the general classification, Hushovd moves up from fifth to second overall, 10 seconds behind Cavendish. Haedo remains in third overall, with the same time as Hushovd.
The break. The field of 116 pro riders averaged 26.25 miles per hour over the 112.4 mile (180.9 km) route. Three riders, Kiel Reijnen (Jelly Belly), Timmy Duggan (Garmin-Slipstream) and Canadian Francois Parisien (Planet Energy) broke away for 75 miles of the race.
“It went pretty quickly from the start, breaks were going on and off and nothing was going to go anywhere until that last KOM was played so I waited and waited, tried to follow wheels. The peloton at one point after the second KOM slowed down, I counter attacked a guy from Quick Step. I just went solo until Timmy Duggan joined me.” said Parisien about the break.
The Columbia-HTC controlled peloton kept the gap between four and five minutes for most of the stage until they stepped on the gas.
“You always race for the win, that’s the only reason I race my bike, it’s to try and win races. I was hoping that we could go and at one point, between 20 and 10 k to go, it was not going down super fast so I was still hoping that’s why I tried to attack Timmy Duggan to try and go solo because we were not fully committed to ride together until the end so when I saw that, I tried to go solo a few times, it didn’t work then we got caught.” replied Parisien when asked if he thought the break would make it.
The trio became a duo as Reijnen suffered a mechanical in the final but the duo was finally caught setting the stage for the sprint finish.
The KOM battle. Two riders battled it out for the KOM points early in the race, with Moises Aldape (Team Type 1) winning both KOM and tying with Chris Anker Sorensen (Saxo Bank) on points. With the tie breaker being the highest placed rider, Aldape takes the lead in the competition.
Team Type 1 Director Vassili Davidenko said the squad took aim at the King of the Mountains jersey since Aldape earned points in the classification during his long breakaway on Stage 1 in St. Louis.
“Our strategy at the beginning of the stage was a simple tactic,” Davidenko said. “If there was a break, we needed to have riders in it. Our team is designed to have good endurance and riders for breakaways, so our goal was to get a guy in every one today.”
Bad luck. A significant casualty of the day was the withdrawal of Tour of Missouri defending champion Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Slipstream). He started Stage 2 in Ste. Genevieve, but abandoned after the first few miles due to discomfort in his right hand from a hairline fracture at the base of his second metacarpal. He suffered the injury in the final 500 meters of Monday’s circuit race in St. Louis.
“However painful it was to crash yesterday, riding back to the bus by myself was even more painful. The Tour of Missouri means a lot to me, my team and my sponsors. I would have loved to have been able to finish it,” Vande Velde stated shortly after pulling out of the race.
The jerseys. The 24-year-old Cavendish retains three award jerseys – Missouri Tourism Leader’s jersey, Edward Jones Sprint jersey and the 180 Energy/Icelandic Glacial Water Best Young Rider jersey. Aldape takes over the Michelob Ultra KOM jersey, and the Drury Hotels Most Aggressive Rider jersey was presented to Parisien.
Wednesday’s Stage 3 is the longest of the week, covering 114.3 miles (183.9 km), from Farmington to Rolla, and is presented by Emerson. There will be over 7,000 feet of climbing on the day, passing to the north of the highest point in Missouri, Taum Sauk Mountain in the Saint Francois Mountains.
Complete results here.
Gallery (Click for larger images)
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