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Roche 9th to Cavendish in Romandie

Posted 29 April 2010

Mark Cavendish responded to his critics in more ways than one by winning today’s second stage of the Tour de Romandie while Nicolas Roche finished 9th slipping one pace to 11th in GC.

Cavendish gave a two fingered victory salute as he crossed the line in Fribourg and later explained that it was intended to remind people who knew “jack shit about cycling” to think twice before writing him off.

The Manx man recovered from a disastrous stage the previous day where he lost contact with peloton on the final climb trailing in 9:46 behind stage winner Peter Sagan (Liquigas Doimo).

He fared better in today’s 171.8 kilometre loop around Fribourg which began with a 98 kilometre undulating route around the town before the riders faced two circuits of a shorter 37 kilometre loop featuring the first category cobbled climb of the Lorette.

An early four-man breakaway comprising Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha), Dennis Van Winden (Rabobank), Alan Perez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Chad Beyer (BMC Racing) carried a 3:27 lead over the first ascent of the climb having been out front since the 10 kilometre mark.

That lead was reduced to 1:46 at the start of the second 37 kilometre loop with Beyer, who led the points classification after being part of yesterday’s long breakway, losing contact as the leaders hit the base of the climb.

Van Winden was next to crack while Ignatiev and Perez preserved a slender 34 seconds advantage over the peloton at the summit before being eventually reeled in 29 kilometres from the finish.

Cavendish survived the climb and was chaperoned by his HTC Columbia teammates as a series of counter attacks split the peloton into smaller groups in the fast return journey to Fribourg.

GC contender Jeremy Roy made a bid to improve his third place standing pulling clear with Simon Spilak (Lampre-Farnese Vini) and Tom Stamsnijder (Rabobank) but the attack was short lived.

Footon-Servetto rider Matthias Brandle countered with 21 kilometres to go gaining a 41 second advantage before Steve Morabito (BMC Racing) joined him 12 kilometres from the finish.

Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale), Arthur Vichot (Francaise des Jeux) and Jaroslaw Marycz (Saxo Bank) each took advantage of the reluctance of the sprinters team to take control of the race to get across to the two leaders who held a 12 second advantage as the race entered the closing 8 kilometres.

Ivan Basso (Liquigas Doimo) was first to take the initiative in organising the chase and HTC Columbia team were quick to respond with Cavendish finding his legs as the finish line beckoned.

The leading quintet survived until 4 kilometres to go with HTC Columiba winding it up while Lampre Farnese Vini worked for Danilo Hondo and Milram and Garmin Transitions formed lead out trains for Gerald Ciolek and Robbie Hunter.

Roche was once more in the thick of things in the final kilometre riding fifth as the front group hit 300 metres to go but there was no matching Cavendish and he made light of the finish where he had plenty of time to deliver his message to anyone watching.

“It is just really to say I am back. I think a lot of things have been taken out of context this year. I had a bad start to the year and instead of doing races where I could win races, doing flat races I could win, I was doing mountain days to get fitter because of the green (Tour de France) jersey.

“A lot of people that know jack-shit about cycling, even journalists, say I have lost what I lost but today shows I haven’t lost it and today shows that my team hasn’t lost it and it (the two fingered salute) is a sign to them to kind of think about what they say before they say it,” Cavendish said at the finish.

Results

Tour de Romandie, Stage 2, Fribourg-Fribourg, 171.8 kilometres

1. Mark Cavendish (HTC Columbia) 4 hours, 28 minutes, 59 seconds 
2.Danilo Hondo (Lampre-Farnese Vini) same time
3. Robbie Hunter (Garmin Transitions) same time

9. Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) same time

General Classification after Stage 2:

1. Peter Sagan (Liquigas Doimo) 9 hours, 24 minutes, 28 seconds
2. Marco Pinotti (HTC Columbia) at 9 seconds
3. Jeremy Roy (Francaise des Jeux) at 9 seconds

11. Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) at 16 seconds

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