Italian sprinter Sacha Modolo
narrowly pipped Mark Cavendish on a deceptive uphill sprint at the second stage of the Tour de San Luis in Argentina to take over the race lead.

The 25 year-old from Bardiani-CSF Inox nipped around the former world champion after he had been released by Omega Pharma-Quickstep team-mate Matteo Trentin. He finished a wheel clear of Cavendish in a reversal of the previous day’s stage.

Nevertheless Cavendish will take some positives from the result against a decent field on a finish that suited the lighter sprinters more than the peloton’s powerhouses.

In only his second start for NetApp-Endura, Scott Thwaites registered an impressive tenth place from a strong field including Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Merida). His squad also found themselves top of the team rankings at the end of the day.

Cavendish is likely to wave goodbye to his hopes of the overall classification after the two first category climbs that make an appearance in tomorrow’s third stage. 

The second of these climbs is an uphill finish to the Mirador del Potrero de los Funes where we should see the first shots fired between the real GC contenders Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Tejay Van Garderen (BMC).

Leigh Howard, Mark Cavendish and Sacha Modolo battle up the final kick to the line. Scott Thwaites (fourth from left) isn’t far off.





Modolo pips Cavendish to take over the (rather fetching) leader’s jersey

Results

Tour de San Luis, stage two: Tilisarao to Terraza del Portezuelo, 171.4km

1. Sacha Modolo (Bardiani-CSF Inox) 3-50-08

2. Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quickstep)

3. Leigh Howard (Orica-GreenEdge)

4. Jens Debusschere (Lotto-Belisol)

5. Peter Sagan (Cannondale)

6. Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Merida)

7. Francesco Chicchi (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia)

8. Manuel Belletti (Ag2R-La Mondiale)

9. Francesco Lasca (Caja Rural)

10. Scott Thwaites (NetApp-Endura) all at s.t.

Others

64. Jonny McEvoy (NetApp-Endura) s.t.

Overall standings after stage two

1. Sacha Modolo (Bardiani-CSF Inox) 7-38-12

2. Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)

3. Leigh Howard (Orica-GreenEdge)

4. Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Merida)

5. Peter Sagan (Cannondale)

6. Francesco Lasca (Caja Rural)

7. Manuel Belletti (Ag2R-La Mondiale)

8. Jacob Keough (UnitedHealthcare)

9. Miguel Angel Rubiano (Androni-Giocattoli)

10. Enzo Josue Moyano (Caja Rural) all at s.t.

Others

37. Scott Thwaites (NetApp-Endura) s.t.

93. Jonny McEvoy (NetApp-Endura) s.t.

Related links

Perfect start for Cavendish in San Luis

Mark Cavendish: ‘Omega Pharma can be better than HTC’