Bertagnolli Wins Stage 2 of Vuelta: McGee Takes Race Lead
Leonardo Bertagnolli (Cofidis) was won Stage 2 of the Vuelta a Espana.
Leonardo Bertagnolli (Cofidis) was won Stage 2 of the Vuelta a Espana. The Cofidis rider took a seven-up sprint to win the downhill, 189.3-km run from Granada to Cordoba in 4:52:27. Bradley McGee (Francaise des Jeux) finished second, and Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa Bortolo) took third. McGee donned the maillot oro to become the first Australian to lead all three Grand Tours. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
David De La Fuente (Saunier Duval) and Herve Duclos-Lassalle (Cofidis) sallied off of the front at 24 km. The pair built a 10:58 lead before Quick Step began to chase. The Belgian squad wanted to set up Tom Boonen for the sprint and to propel Rik Verbrugghe into the race lead.
By 112 km, 6:17 separated the bunch from the break. At 116 km, De La Fuente dropped Duclos-Lassalle. He led the Frenchman by 2:25 at 120 km.
The peloton caught De La Fuente on the Category 2 Alto de San Jeronimo. Unai Osa (Illes Balears), Gorka Gonzalez (Euskaltel), and Bernhard Kohl (T-Mobile) attacked at the base of the ascent, and Bertagnolli, Unai Yus (Bouygues Telecom), Pablo Lastras (Illes Balears), McGee, Francisco Vila (Lampre), Joaquin Rodriguez (Saunier Duval), Angel Vicioso (Liberty Seguros), Flecha, Carlos Garcia Quesada (Comunidad Valenciana), and Luis Perez (Cofidis) caught the trio. On the descent, Bertagnolli led the field, but McGee bridged up to him.
The pair established a 13-second lead on Vila, Flecha, Rodriguez, Vicioso, and Yus. With a km to go, the two began jockeying for position in the sprint. McGee wound up leading out, and Bertagnolli jumped him for the win.
In the overall, McGee leads Bertagnolli by 0:22 and Flecha by 0:31. Stage 3 should end in a bunch sprint. The rolling, 153.3-km ride from Cordoba to Puertollano will have only one categorized climb, the Category 3 Alto de la Sierra de Cardena. Who will take the stage? Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo)? Tom Boonen (Quick Step)? Erik Zabel? (T-Mobile)? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!