Boonen Wins Stage 2 of Tour
Tom Boonen (Quick Step) has won Stage 2 of the Tour de France. The Belgian took a bunch sprint from Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) and Robbie McEwen (Davitamon) to win the flat, winding, 181.5-km run from Challons to Les Essarts in 3:51:31. David Zabriskie (CSC) remains the maillot jaune.
The racing, which took place on a warm summer day, began early. At nine km, Sylvain Calzati (Ag2r) sallied, but the bunch caught him at 13 km. At 28 km, Laszlo Bodrogi (Credit Agricole), Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom), David Canada (Saunier Duval - Prodir), and Calzati attacked. At 36 km, the quartet led the field by 2:05, and Bodrogi, who had begun the day in fifth place at 0:59, was maillot jaune virtuel. CSC rode tempo in support of Zabriskie.
The fugitives? advantage grew gradually. It was 2:50 at 50 km, 4:10 at 81 km, and 4:15 at 100 km. Quick Step, La Francaise des Jeux, and Lotto joined CSC at the front to set up their sprinters, and the lead gradually fell.
With 37 km remaining, 2:00 separated the bunch from the break. With 16 km left and the peloton bearing down on the escapees, Bodrogi was dropped. Ten km later, the break was caught.
La Francaise des Jeux, Liquigas, and Quick Step took over at the front. McEwen made the first move, but Boonen had his measure. Hushovd overtook the Australian for second. Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r) crashed in the final km, but he suffered no injuries, and the entire bunch received the same time.
In the overall, Zabriskie leads Lance Armstrong (Discovery Channel) by 0:02 and Bodrogi by 0:47. Stage 2 will be another sprinters? stage. The flat, 212.5-km run from La Chataignerie to Tours will finish on the Avenue Grammont, where the Paris-Tours race ends each year. Will Boonen win again? Will McEwen upend the Belgian? Will Hushovd break through for the win? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!
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