Cavendish Catapults to Second Missouri Stage Win in Two Days
For the second consecutive day, Team Columbia-HTC's Mark Cavendish was the first to cross the line in the 2009 Tour of Missouri. The star sprinter extended his lead in the overall classification by gaining a ten-second time bonus in stage two Tuesday.
Cavendish, the six-times stage Tour de France stage winner this year, emerged at the front just before the finish of the 180.9 kilometre (112.4-mile) Sainte Genevieve to Cape Cirardeau road race in 4 hours, 16 minutes 53 seconds.
The 26-year-old Cavendish, who won three Tour of Missouri stages last year, also extended his slim overall race lead.
Thor Hushovd of Norway and Juan Jose Haedo of Argentina finished second and third, the reverse of the duo's placings in the opening circuit race Monday in St. Louis, also won by Cavendish.
American Christian Vande Velde, the defending champion, withdrew just after the start of the second stage.
Vande Velde, eighth overall in the Tour de France, fractured a finger in a late crash but was expected to continue.
Just after the start of the second stage, however, Vande Velde, who also crashed out of the Tour of Italy, pedalled back towards the start and abandoned the third-year event.
Three riders built more than a 4 1/2-minute lead in the second stage, but the fast-paced peloton caught the final two escapees, Francois Parisien of Canada and American Timothy Duggan, on the wide road seven kilometres before the finish.
"The guys really looked after me again today," commented Cavendish after the win. "It was a bit hectic in the last kilometres, but George [Hincapie] kept me out of trouble."
The $170,000 race continues on Wednesday with the 165.3 kilometre (114.3-mile) Farmington to Rolla road race. The seven- stage event concludes Sunday in Kansas City, Missouri.
Watch 2009 Tour of Missouri video highlights in the Roadcycling.com video section at www.roadcycling.com/video