Sunday 28 March 2010 at 20h46

This morning 116 riders came to the start of the second stage of the Critérium International 2010, close to the harbour of Porto-Vecchio. The sky was slightly cloudy but the Corsican spectators created a very good atmosphere.

The atmosphere in the peloton was quite the same, as you might have read already in my article Lance Armstrong helps young cyclists to progress in the Critérium International 2010.

The riders knew that the stage would be quite nervous due to the short distance but also that the sprinters planned to win it, fr the same reason. Despite a quite long escape the stage was finally indeed won in a sprint by the English rider Russell Downing of Team Sky who had to fight for the win to cross the finish line first.


Summary of the second stage of the Critérium International 2010

Egoi MartinezQuite quickly after the start, 6 riders formed a leading group: Dimitri Fofonov (Astana), Jussi Veikkanen (Française des Jeux), Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel), Thierry Hupond (Skil-Shimano), Renaud Dion (Roubaix-Lille Métropole) and Eduardo Gonzalo Ramirez (Bretagne-Schuller).
While the leading group was formed the sun also made its appearance and the temperature thus rose quickly on the island. The clouds disappeared as well and the biggest part of this 75 kilometer long stage took place under a clear blue sky.

Team SkyThe 6 riders were allowed to create a gap since they didn't form a threat for the leaders of the general classification because Egoi Martinez was the best placed rider at 2'02". The Bbox Bouygues Telecom riders controlled the race to limit the gap and Team Sky and HTC-Columbia finally work hard to reduce it even more since they wanted the stage to end in a sprint.

The gap went up to a maximum of 1'05", but at 5 kilometers from the finish, just after the riders entered the city of Porto-Vecchio, the 6 escapees were taken back and a bunch sprint is being prepared.

In the mean time the 6 riders did get on top of the only climb of the day first and Renaud Dion (Roubaix-Lille Métropole) took the first place, before Egoi Martinez and Jussi Veikkanen (Française des Jeux). They can however not take enough points to threat Pierre Rolland (Bbox Bouygues Telecom)'s polka dot jersey since he took 12 points in the leading group of the first stage between Porto-Vecchio and the Col de l'Ospedale.

At 3 kilometers from the finish Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team is still doing all the work, but when the riders get a free view on the finish line in the last kilometer which is a straight line, as expected the bunch sprint is being prepared by HTC-Columbia and Team Sky.
With only a few millimeters on Michael Albasini (HTC-Columbia), the winner of the Tour of Ireland 2009, Russell Downing (Team Sky), managed to win the stage. By finishing 3rd in this stage, Pierrick Fédrigo took 4 bonus seconds for his yellow jersey before the decisive time trial this afternoon.
Russell Downing wins the second stage of the Critérium International 2010 in the sprint
Russell Downing (Team Sky) wins the second stage of the Critérium International 2010 in the sprint, ahead of Michael Albasini (HTC-Columbia) and Pierrick Fédrigo (Bbox Bouygues Telecom)

Simon Gerrans (Team Sky) gave up during this stage after a fall early in the stage.

The photos of the second stage of the Critérium International 2010

You can view a selection of my pictures of this second stage of the Critérium International 2010 by clicking on the link the photos of the Critérium International 2010: stage 2 - Porto-Vecchio > Porto-Vecchio.

door Thomas Vergouwen
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this publication is published in: Critérium International


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