SAN DIEGO, July 2, 2012 – He is called the “Manx Missile” for good reason. Team Sky rider Mark Cavendish from the Isle of Man won the first group sprint at the line in Stage 2 of the 2012 Tour de France. Cavendish held off challengers Andre Greipel of Lotto Belisol and Matthew Goss of Orica-Green-Edge to notch his 21st stage win at the Tour.
After riding for nearly five hours at a pace that most cyclists would consider challenging, it’s an impressive accomplishment to have that much energy left to put on a burst of speed like the world’s best sprinters. It’s fun and exciting when they come out to play.
Cavendish had to get the victory on his own, without the help of the lead-out train of riders from his previous team HTC. In a lead-out train, a group of teammates go to the lead in a line of two to four riders in front of their sprinter. One by one they pour on the speed until they burn out and fall away, like stages of a Saturn V rocket. The sprinter can conserve his speed until the last 200 to 300 meters and take off in a burst of speed to win at the finish line. It takes timing and coordination, and a bit of luck, and the speedy Cavendish has mastered this art.
Tour leader Fabian Cancellara of Radio Shack-Nissan finished in the main group of 145 riders to get the same time, and maintains his overall lead, wearing the yellow jersey for a third day.
On a long flat stage like this one, the most important outcome for the GC (general classification) competitors is an uneventful ride with no crashes and no drama. The 128-mile Stage 2 was successful in this way. Nevertheless, there are already some banged up riders. Tony Martin of Omega Pharma-QuickStep, initially reported as out on Sunday, started and finished Stage 2 with a fractured scaphoid (a carpal bone in the wrist on the thumb side) from his crash Sunday. Rabobank rider Luis Leon Sanchez has a broken left hand.
There was a small breakaway group of three, but they were reeled in by the peloton with about 15 kilometers to go.
There is no change among the top ten riders:
1. Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) RadioShack-Nissan
2. Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) Team Sky
3. Sylvain Chavanel (Franace) Omega-Pharma-QuickStep
4. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing
5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway) Team Sky
6. Denis Menchov (Russia) Katusha
7. Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) BMC
8. Cadel Evans (Australia) BMC
9. Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) Liquigas
10. Ryder Hesjedal (Canada) Garmin-Sharp
Tejay van Garderen of BMC kept his white jersey as the best young rider. Michael Morkov of SaxoBank held on to his polka dot jersey as the “King of the Mountains.” Despite Cavendish’s victory today, Peter Sagan is now the owner of the green sprinters’ jersey. Anthony Roux of FDJ-Big Mat was awarded the most aggressive rider jersey for surviving in the breakaway for nearly four hours.
Among American riders, Christian Vandevelde stays in 15th place, 22 seconds back; Tom Danielson moved up one position to 34th, 31 seconds back; Levi Leipheimer of Omega Pharma-Quick Step is now in 50th place, 45 seconds back. Chris Horner of Radio Shack-Nissan is 78th, now one minute, 29 seconds out.
George Hincapie with BMC is in 98th place, 2:27 seconds back, but his objective is to protect teammate Cadel Evans and successfully complete his 16th Tour de France at age 39. Tyler Farrar is in 148th place, 3:53 seconds back. David Zabriskie of Garmin-Sharp lost another 20 seconds, and is 4:27 back in 167th place.
Frank Schleck of Radio Shack-Nissan hung in with the leading peloton and remains 38 seconds back in 45th place.
Tuesday’s Stage 3 finally reaches France. It is another long stage, 122-miles from Orchies to Boulogne-sur-Mer, mostly flat with multiple short climbs. Since it is early in the race it isn’t likely to do serious damage to the leaders, leaving it for a rider to come out of the peloton to grab a little glory for himself and his sponsors.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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