US Postal Team Report
Cruz wins second stage of Tour de l?Ain.
Following solid team tactics and a strong final surge to the line, Antonio Cruz won his first career European race today by taking the second stage of the Tour de l'Ain in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
Cruz found himself in an eight-rider breakaway on the finishing circuits of today's 142 kilometer stage from Lagnieu and followed an acceleration from behind from teammate Jose Azevedo once the break was caught in the final kilometers of the stage. Cruz then sat on as his teammates led him to the final turn before he started his winning sprint.
"In the finishing circuits, Azevedo was just lighting it up, and I had said to myself, I may need a bit of a head start on the circuits or he may drop me," said Cruz and continued, "So I found myself in an eight-man break which turned out to be perfect. Jose then came ripping past us and I made the right move, jumping on his wheel. He, ( Benjamin) Noval and ( Daniel) Rincon came through and I sat with them and they kept hammering all the way down to the finish."
On his first win in the European peloton, the former Olympian and U.S. Pro Criterium Champion said, "It's funny, I was telling the guys that when I knew I was going to win, in an instant it all turned into slow motion. I was also looking ahead making sure nobody slipped away. There's nothing worse than posting up and having someone 20 meters ahead. When I saw I was clear, I was so happy."
Team assistant sports manager Dirk Demol was also extremely pleased.
"A win is a win and we are all real happy for Tony," said Demol. "He is a real teammate. Whatever you ask him to do, he always does it. The whole group was happy for him. Tony has had a few wins in the
Stage one winner Jerome Pineau of Broiches La Boulangere finished third today and remained the race's overall leader.