4/26/2012 12:00:00 AM - TEAM NEWS!
Hivert surprises with stage 2 win in Romandie
Wiggins retains overall lead
Jonathan Hivert (Saur-Sojasun) won stage two of the Tour de Romandie from Montbéliard to Moutier. The Frenchman beat Rui Costa (Movistar) and Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank Cycling Team) in an uphill finish.
Race leader Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) kept himself out of trouble and finished in the main field, retaining his grip on the leader’s yellow jersey. The Brit sits at the top of GC with teammate Michael Rogers in second, 7 seconds down, and Rabobank’s Bauke Mollema a further two seconds adrift.
After yesterday’s unexpected sprint win for Wiggins, today’s stage revolved around consolidation and it was the perfect opportunity for Sky to flex their Tour de France credentials, with a controlled defence of Wiggins’s lead.
The British team allowed Lars Bak (Lotto Belisol Team) and Christian Meier (GreenEdge Cycling Team) to escape in the early stages of the race and the pair had a gap of 3:50 after 43 kilometres of racing. With Bak coming back from injury Meier was the most dangerous of the leading duo, sitting within two minutes of the yellow jersey.
Sky, however, quickly assumed control of the race and Wiggins's general classification lead was never in doubt.
Heading onto the final climb of the race, the Col de Ranjiers, the thin blue line marshalled their leader to the head of the field and began to ride a tempo. By now Bak and Meier were surviving on fumes and it was the Canadian who buckled first as the gradient rose toward 15 percent.
Bak pushed on but with the gap down to 30 seconds he was reeled in by Fabrice Jeandesboz (Saur-Sojasun) and Peter Stetina (Garmin-Barracuda). The Frenchman, wearing the pink jersey as the leader of the mountains classification, was clearly in a mood to defend his tally, and along with Stetina he dispatched of Bak before the top of the climb.
Behind, Sky were measuring their chase to suit Wiggins’s needs, never opening the throttle fully, but setting a pace that was too hot for many of the sprinters, including their own Mark Cavendish.
On the run-in to Moutier the Jeandesboz-Stetina tandem had a lead of 30 seconds but as the road flattened a number of teams, including BMC and GreenEdge, set about reducing the lead.
Stetina was reeled in inside the final 5km, as the race headed for the final short ascent to the finish.
Ryder Hesejdal (Garmin-Barracuda) led through the final 200 meters but it was Hivert who timed his run to perfection, sweeping through the far side just as the road narrowed, to take the win ahead of Costa.
"I just saw the line coming up and I thought I’d give it more, and that was the main thing in my mind at the time," said Hivert. "I didn’t have any idea what the finish was like. I knew it was uphill but that was it."
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