Sutton Wins Stage 2 of 2011 Vuelta; Bennati Takes Red Jersey
Chris Sutton (Team Sky) has won Stage 2 of the 2011 Vuelta a Espana.
Chris Sutton (Sky) has won Stage 2 of the 2011 Vuelta a Espana. The Australian took a bunch sprint to win the flat, 174-km run from La Nucia to Playas de Orihuela in 4:11:41. Vicente Reynes (Omega Pharma-Lotto) finished second, and Marcel Kittel (Skil-Shimano) took third. Daniele Bennati (Leopard-Trek) has taken the red jersey from teammate Jakob Fuglsang.
The hostilities began early. In the first km, Adam Hansen (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Paul Martens (Rabobank), Steve Houanard (Ag2r-La Mondiale), and Jesus Rosendo (Andalucia-Caja Granada) escaped. The peloton, which was probably deterred by the 95-degree heat, did not chase initially, and the quartet had forged a six-minute lead by 60 km.
For most of the remainder of the stage, the gap between bunch and break hovered between five and six minutes. In the last 45 km, however, HTC-Highroad went to the front and began to chase. The American squad's pursuit was hindered somewhat when Matthew Goss became the first rider to abandon the race, but the gap gradually narrowed. With 33 km left, Hansen attacked and dropped his companions.
Hansen's lead maxed out at 1:20, and he led by 0:50 with 20 km left. Two km later, the bunch caught Hansen.
In the next 10 km, Omega Pharma-Lotto, Rabobank, Skil-Shimano, and Leopard-Trek assisted HTC-Highroad. With five km left, Sky took command. The British squad led the field into the last km. In the last km, Davide Vigano (Leopard-Trek) pushed hard in the uphill run to the finish. Reynes had a go, and Sutton went with him. With 400 m left, the Australian came around the Spaniard for the win.
In the overall, Bennati leads Fuglsang by 0:01 and Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) at 0:04. Stage 3 will be another stage that a sprint, albeit a smaller one, will decide. The rolling, 163-km ride from Petrer to Totana will feature an ascent of the Category 3 Alto de la Santa 13 km from the finish. This will open the door to a late escape. Who will be in it? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!