NUYENS TAKES ETOILE STAGE AND LEAD, CAVENDISH QUITS
Former Tour of Britain winner Nick Nuyens has secured his first victory for new team Cofidis after he broke away with three other riders on the toughest stage of the Etoile de Besseges on Friday.
On the 138 kilometre stage from Cendras to La Gran Combe, Nuyens was the fastest in a four-man break that finished some 45 seconds ahead of a 24-strong chasing group containing overnight leader Baden Cooke (Unibet.com).
Following his highly encouraging start to the race, T-Mobile’s Mark Cavendish had a rough day, and ending by quitting. Cavendish started the stage with bad stomach cramps and was advised by team doctors he should abandon. Cavendish had placed second in the sprint on stage one of the five-day French season-opener.
“He had nothing left in his legs, it was really the only thing he could do.” T-Mobile team manager Allan Peiper told CW. “This was one of the toughest stages of the race, with two 13 kilometre climbs, and that didn’t help.”
T-Mobile’s other British rider, Roger Hammond, is reported by Peiper “not to be in the greatest of shape. He had a crash at in the GP D’Ouverture [on Tuesday], hurt his hip and now it looks like the pain is spreading into his back.” Hammond nonetheless finished the stage and is expected to start on Saturday.
The Etoile de Besseges finishes on Sunday. Saturday’s stage is a 151 kilometre loop starting and finishing in Les Fumades.