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Martin and Roche sit tight as Cav claims 21st Tour win

Posted 02 July 2012

Mark Cavendish reaffirmed his status as the world’s fastest sprinter with his 21st stage win on stage two of the Tour de France while Nicolas Roche and Dan Martin finished safely in the bunch.

Cavendish opened his 2012 stage winning account after going head-to-head with former HTC-Highroad teammates Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) and Matt Goss (Orica GreenEdge) at the end of the 207.5 kilometre stage from Vise to Tournai.
The classic sprint came after a nerve-wracking final 17 kilometres which forced Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) and Martin (Garmin-Sharp) to fight hard to stay out of trouble.
The hammer went down as soon as the peloton pulled back the three-man break of Anothy Roux (FDJ), Christophe Kern (Europcar) and mountains classification leader Michael Morkov (Saxo-Bank).
The trio came together just 28 kilometres in the stage  enabling Morkov to extend his lead in the mountains classification by claiming the solitary point on offer on the fourth Cote de la Citadelle de Namur which was the only bump on what was an otherwise flat stage.
The Orica-GreenEdge and Omega-Pharma Quickstep teams ramped up the speed once the race regrouped with the combination of a headwind, narrow streets and roundabouts also helping to split the peloton.
Sprinter Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) was among the first to lose contact before the decision of defending champion Cadel Evans to put his BMC team on the front of the race wreaked havoc.
The fight for safe positions was intense with Roche and Martin relying heavily on their wits and bike handling skills to stay upright as the race constantly split and regrouped after negotiating tight corners and roundabouts.
Cavendish did a remarkable solo job to position himself on Greipel’s wheel as the race hurtled onto the finishing straight, jumping with 150 metres to go to hold off the German by half a wheel ahead of a distant Goss.
Roche placed 52nd with Martin further back in 145th. Both riders succeeded in completing the stage without losing any time and maintain their GC positions with Martin 23rd at 24 seconds and Roche one place and one second behind.
Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack-Nissan) retains the race leader’s yellow jersey ahead of Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma Quicstep) who are tied at seven seconds.
Tour de France
Stage 2: Vise - Tournai, 207.5 kilometers
1.  Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling 4:56:59
2.  André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol Team
3.  Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
4.  Tom Veelers (Ned) Argos-Shimano
5.  Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre - ISD
6.  Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale
7.  Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) FDJ-Big Mat
8.  Juan José Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank
9. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team
10. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Sharp
52. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp - same time
145. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale - same time
General classification after stage 2
1.  Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan 10:02:31
2.  Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:07
3.  Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
4.  Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:10
5.  Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling 0:00:11
6.  Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team 0:00:13
7.  Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
8.  Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:17
9.  Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:18
10. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Sharp
23. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 24 seconds
24. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale at 25 seconds

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