Viviani Sprints to Victory in Stage 2 of Dauphine Libere 2013
Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) finished second, and Tony Gallopin (RadioShack-Leopard) took third. David Veilleux (Europcar) remains the overall leader.
The downhill roads of the early part of the stage made breakaways difficult, and several abortive sallies occurred before Thomas Damuseau (Argos-Shimano), Rudy Molard (Cofidis), and Arnaud Gerard (Bretagne-Seche Environnement) escaped at 22 km. Eventually Jose Mendes (NetApp-Endura) bridged up to the move, which led the field by 4:55 at 104 km.
Europcar paced the peloton on behalf of Veilleux. The gap narrowed to 2:40 with 42 km left, when Omega Pharma-Quick Step took command. Damuseau led the break over the Category 2 Cote de Communal, with the bunch 1:55 behind them.
With 30 km left and 0:40 separating bunch and break, Molard attacked his companions. Two km later, he led the field, which had reeled in the remains of the break, by 1:03. Omega Pharma-Quick Step picked up the pace. When the field reached the Category 4 Cote du Bugnon, Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM), Laurent Didier (RadioShack-Leopard), and Warren Barguil (Argos-Shimano) jumped away from the peloton.
At the summit, Molard led Flecha and Barguil by 0:33, but the peloton reeled in the chasers on the descent. With 18 km left, the bunch was 0:12 behind Molard. Omega Pharma-Quick Step led the peloton as it overtook the Frenchman and onto the day's final climb, the Category 3 Col du Sentier.
Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) led the field onto the climb, but Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Sky were close behind. With 12.5 km left, Jose Herrada (Movistar) attacked, and Ivan Santaromita (BMC) joined him. Rein Taaramae (Cofidis) got clear and led at the summit.
Taaramae led the field by 0:12 with 8 km left. Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Sky, Astana, and Saxo Bank-Tinkoff led the pursuit. With 4 km to go, Cannondale took over at the front. The Italian squad reeled in the Estonian and led the run to the finish.
Several teams battled for position behind Cannondale. Meersman started the sprint, but Viviani jumped him with 150 m left. The Belgian had no chance as the Italian powered past him for the win.
In the overall, Veilleux leads Meersman by 1:56 and Gallopin by 1:57. Stage 3, a 167-km run from Amberieu-en-Bugey to Tarare, will feature two late-stage Category 3 climbs. The ascents, however, should not prevent a bunch sprint from deciding matters. Will Viviani win again? Will Meersman break through? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!