Cooke Wins Stage 2 of Tour
Baden Cooke (La Francaise des Jeux.com) has given his team its second stage win in this year's Tour de France. The Australian outsprinted Jean-Patrick Nazon (Jean Delatour) and Jaan Kirsipuu (Ag2r) to win the rolling, 204.5-km ride from La Ferte-sous-Jouarre to Sedan in 5:06:33. Brad McGee, Cooke's teammate, remains in the yellow jersey.
The racing began early. At five km, Lilian Jegou (Credit Agricole) attacked, and Frederic Finot (Jean Delatour) joined him. The pair built an 11:20 lead by 74 km, but La Francaise des Jeux.com, Lotto, Fassa Bortolo, and Telekom began to chase in support of their sprinters. The break's chances were not helped when Jegou crashed into a French television motorbike and had to change bikes twice. Finot dropped his companion on the Cote de Longwe.
For a time, Finot held the peloton at bay. It appeared that he might take the stage win. The sprinters' teams, however, had too much horsepower. They captured the fugitive with 2.5 km left.
Brioches La Boulangere led the field into the last km. Cooke's leadout man, McGee, began sprinting too early, forcing Cooke to wait. Nazon attacked, but Kirsipuu passed him on the inside. Cooke edged both riders to win the stage.
In the overall, McGee leads David Millar (Cofidis) by 0:04 and Cooke by the same margin. Stage 3 will be another sprinters' stage that, with intermediate sprint bonuses and a finish-line bonus, could produce a change of overall leadership. The ride will be a rolling, 167.5-km affair from Charleville-Mezieres to Saint Dizier. Who will win it? Robbie McEwen (Lotto)? Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo)? Erik Zabel (Telekom)? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!
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