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Roche climbing GC at Giro del Trentino

Posted 18 April 2012

By Cillian Kelly,

Nicolas Roche returned to form on stage two of the Giro del Trentino to finish eleventh on the mountain top finish at Sant’Orsola Terme.

Roche (AG2R-La Mondiale) reached the foot of the hors category climb with all of the GC contenders but lost contact with the lead group in the final kilometres.

He finished the stage just 12 seconds behind stage winner Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD)

Having opted for the Giro del Trentino over the Amstel Gold race and Fléche Wallonne, this result will be encouraging for Roche and will somewhat justify his decision to skip the two Ardennes classics.

The former Irish champion now sits in 15th place overall, just 61 seconds behind the new race leader Matthias Frank (BMC Racing).

The 152km stage came to life on the descent of the penultimate climb, the first category Passo Redebus. Pre-race favourite Ivan Basso, never the most confident going downhill, was dropped off the back of the front group. Immediately, the hammer went down and the Lampre-ISD team, who were working for Cunego and Michele Scarponi, worked to distance Basso completely.

With Basso out of the picture, the race approached the final climb of the Sant’Orsola Terme, a testing 10 kilometres with an avergae gradient of 5.7%.

The front of the race began to split as the leaders approached the summit finish. But Cunego proved once more how adept he is at winning a tough sprint finish from a small group as he out-gunned Carlos Betancur (Acqua e Sapone) and Roman Kreuziger (Astana) with Roche in touching distance.

Roche's perfromance makes up just part of a great day in general for his AG2R-La Mondiale team as Hubert Dupont ended the stage in sixth and John Gadret finished slightly further behind in 15th place.

Thanks to BMC Racing's stage winning performance in yesterday's team time trial, Mathias Frank's seventh place finish on the stage, just three seconds behind Cunego was enough to install him as the new race leader.

Tomorrow's penultimate stage sees the riders travel 167.8km from Piccoli Frutti Pergine to Punta Veleno. The final climb of the Punta Veleno is 8.5km long with some agonisingly steep sections with gradients of up to 20%. There follows a short descent to the finish line where Roche will once more be hoping to be present amongst the front group.

Results:

Giro del Trentino:

Stage 2 :  Mori – Sant’Orsola Terme, 152 kilometres

1. Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) 3:59:30
2. Carlos Betancur (Acqua e Sapone) s.t.
3. Roman Kreuziger (Astana) s.t.
4. Eros Capecchi (Liquigas-Cannondale) at 3 seconds
5. Franceso Reda (Acqua e Sapone) s.t.
6. Hubert Dupont (AG2R-La Mondiale) s.t.
7. Mathias Frank (BMC Racing) s.t.
8. Marc de Maar (United Healthcare) at 9 seconds
9. Alesandro Bisolti (Team Idea) s.t.
10. Bartosz Huzarski (NetApp) s.t.

11. Nicolas Roche (AG2R-La Mondiale) at 12 seconds

General classification after Stage 2:

1. Mathias Frank (BMC Racing) 4:15:20
2. Roman Kreuziger (Astana) at 3 seconds
3. Carlos Betancur (Acqua e Sapone) at 7 seconds
4. Marco Pinotti (BMC Racing) at 9 seconds
5. Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) at 10 seconds
6. Francesco Reda (Acqua e Sapone) at 16 seconds
7. Eros Capecchi (Liquigas-Cannondale) at 19 seconds
8. Miguel Angel Rubiano (Androni-Giocattoli) at 27 seconds
9. Bartosz Huzarski (NetApp) at 29 seconds
10. Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) at 34 seconds

14. Nicolas Roche (AG2R-LaMondiale) at 1 minute 1 second

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