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Roche 10 secs of Volta ao Algarve lead as Irish riders improve

Posted 16 February 2012


Nicolas Roche continues to lie just ten seconds off the race lead at the Volta ao Algarve despite dropping out of the top ten in GC after Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) won stage two and moved into the yellow jersey.
All four Irish riders in the race finished in the bunch after five hours of racing over 187.5 kilometres from Faro to Lagoa.
Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) was the best placed Irish rider on the stage finishing 38th in the main field. He is now 18th in the GC.
Ronan McLaughlin had another good day for the An Post Sean Kelly team. He too finished in the bunch in 52nd place improving slightly in the GC to 59th where he maintains a 17 second deficit.
Philip Deignan (UnitedHealthcare) also came home in the main field in 65th place improving to 75th in the GC as he too holds onto a 17 deficit ahead of tomorrow’s big day in the mountains.
Conor McConvey lost a small bit of ground in the final kilometre but finished just 23 seconds down in 144th position. He also gained a few placings and lies 139th in the GC at 2’04”.
The An Post Sean Kelly team demonstrated their intention to be part of the action during each stage when Niels Wytinck broke clear with Tomas Swift-Metcalfe (Carmin Prio) and Raul Alarcon (Efapel-Glassdrive) after just two kilometres of racing.
The trio gained a maximum lead of 5’40” during their 136 kilometre escape over two third category climbs but where hauled in with just over 50 kilometres to the finish.
A counter-attack from Alarcon’s Efapel-Glassdrive teammate Cesar Fonte and Preben Van Heche (Topsport Vlaanderen Mercator) survived all the way to the 16 kilometres to go mark.
Roche’s AG2R La Mondiale teammate Christophe Riblon and Thomas de Gendt (Vacansoleil) were next to try their hand but were kept on a short leash by the BMC and Omega Pharma-Quickstep teams before capitulating with six kilometres to go.
The narrow roads and street furniture which characterised the final two kilometre uphill drag to the finish saw a number of rider clips traffic bollards with An Post Sean Kelly riders McLaughlin and McConvey among the lucky ones to escape incident.
Roche took a back seat to teammates Anthony Ravard and Lloyd Mondory through the final bends onto the finishing straight with the two sprinters securing top ten placings behind Boasson Hagen, Kris Boeckmans (Vacansoleil) and Gerald Ciolek (Omega Pharma Quickstep).
Stage three is certain to see Deignan (UnitedHealthcare) emerge from the shadows with the 194.6 kilometre trek from Castro Marim to Malhao (Loule) well suited to the Donegal climber.
The queen stage, which is the longest in the race, features four category three climbs which are stuffed into 57 kilometres before the final showdown on the category two summit finish on the Alto de Malhao.
Volta ao Algarve
Stage 2: Faro – Lagoa, 187.5 kilometres
1.  Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling 4:57:23 
2.  Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM   
3.  Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Omega Pharma-QuickStep   
4.  Matti Breschel (Den) Rabobank   
5.  Anthony Ravard (Fra) Ag2R-La Mondiale   
6.  Lloyd Mondory (Fra) Ag2R-La Mondiale   
7.  Francesco Lasca (Ita) Caja Rural   
8.  Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Garmin-Barracuda   
9.  Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep   
10.  Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
38. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale m.t.
52. Ronan McLoughlin (Irl) An Post Sean Kelly m.t.
65. Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare - m.t
144. Conor McConvey (Irl) An Post Sean Kelly at 23  seconds
An Post Sean Kelly Team:
52. Ronan McLoughlin (Ire) m.t.
118. Mark Christian (Gbr) m.t.
133. Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel) at 17 seconds
134. Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) m.t.
144. Conor McConvey (Irl) at 23 seconds
146. Niko Eeckhout (Bel) m.t.
154. Joren Segers (Bel) at 2 minutes, 30 seconds
155. Niels Wytinck (Bel) m.t.
General classification after stage 2
1.  Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling 8:59:30 
2.  Gianni Meersman (Bel) Lotto Belisol   
3.  Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM 0:00:04 
4.  Greg van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team   
5.  Matti Breschel (Den) Rabobank 0:00:06 
6.  Anthony Ravard (Fra) Ag2R-La Mondiale 0:00:10 
7.  Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM   
8.  Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Garmin-Barracuda   
9.  Rui Costa (Por) Movistar Team   
10.  Lloyd Mondory (Fra) Ag2R-La Mondiale
18. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale at 10 seconds
59 Ronan McLoughlin (Irl) An Post Sean Kelly at 17 seconds
75. Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare - same time
139. Conor McConvey (Irl) An Post Sean Kelly at 2 minute, 04 seconds
An Post Sean Kelly Team:
59. Ronan McLoughlin (Ire) at 17 seconds
100. Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel) m.t.
120. Mark Christian (Gbr) m.t
129. Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) 40 seconds
139. Conor McConvey at 2 minutes, 04 seconds
140. Niko Eeckhout (Bel) at 2 minutes, 14 seconds
146. Niels Wytinck (Bel) at 3 minutes, 24 seconds
156. Joren Segers (Bel) at 15 minutes, 31 seconds

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