France’s Arnaud Demare (FDJ) sprinted to an outstanding win on stage two of the Eneco Tour, just over a week after winning in similair style at the RideLondon-Surrey Classic.
Demare had to navigate a climb just before the finish, but did so impressively as he beat World Champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC), who usually thrives on such terrain, into second. American Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) took third, as yesterday’s winner and over night leader Mark Renshaw (Belkin) failed to contest the sprint having suffered an unfortunately timed puncture with three kilometres to go.
The win puts Demare into the lead on the general classification and Belgium’s Gilbert into third, while Renshaw – who was placed by the officials in a group 20 seconds off the winner – slips into second, three seconds off Demare.
While Monday’s stage was distinctly flat, Tuesday’s produced six punchy climbs along the 177km parcours, with the finish line atop the final ascent.
The early part of the stage saw a breakaway form of four riders, including Gediminas Bagdonas (AG2R La Mondiale), Mat Hayman (Sky) as well as Laurens De Vreese and Tim Declercq of Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise.
The quartet built up a lead of more than seven minutes, but turned into a trio as Bagdonas lost contact on a climb at around 15km from the finish.
The escapees held out bravely until there were only two kilometres left, but were absorbed by the peloton as a number of teams including BMC, Belkin and FDJ applied the pressure in hope of a bunch sprint.
But Belkin’s hopes were shattered as Renshaw punctured as the race climaxed, and the glory was grabbed by 21-year-old Demare.
Meanwhile the day turned sour for the British riders involved, as Sky’s Bradley Wiggins finished over a minute behind the winner and moved down to 147th place in the GC, more than five minutes in deficit to Demare. Ben Swift, also of Sky, failed to even start the stage after suffering shoulder pain, while worst of all Alex Dowsett of Movistar abandoned the race, dislocating his thumbs in a crash.
Stage two result
1 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ, 4:03:34
2 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC, same time
3 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp, st
4 Marko Kump (Slo) Saxo-Tinkoff, st
5 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, st
6 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Accent.jobs – Wanty, st
7 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida, st
8 Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC, st
9 Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin, st
10 Mathieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ, st
1 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ, 8:04:40
2 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Belkin, +3sec
3 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC, +4
4 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp, +6
5 Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin, +7
6 Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC, +8
7 Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol, +9
8 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, +10
9 Mathieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ, st
10 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Accent.jobs – Wanty, st