Daniel Moreno (Katusha) took benefit of the form he built at the Tour of Italy working for Joaquim “Purito” Rodriguez to win stage 2 of the Dauphiné in the style of his captain who scored twice at uphill finishes one year ago and also won the Flèche wallonne and two stages at the Giro this year. The Spaniard preceded Frenchman Julien Simon of Saur-Sojasun who is another hilltop sprint specialist. The overall classification remained unchanged with Bradley Wiggins still one second ahead of Cadel Evans.
Wiggins in an early move
The undulating terrain of stage 2 from Lamastre to Saint-Félicien was rather auspicious of skirmishes from the gun but only after 7.5km and despite many attacks earlier on, Rémi Pauriol (FDJ) and Maxime Médérel (SAU) managed to create some gap over the peloton. An interesting reaction by Team Sky led to a counter-attack including race leader Bradley Wiggins, best young rider Edvald Boasson Hagen and Michael Rogers, but also Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Italian star Vincenzo Nibali (LIQ). From that group, French champion Sylvain Chavanel (OPQ) rode away solo but after 20km of racing, it was all together again.
Moncoutié on the move
While Pierrick Fedrigo (FDJ) abandoned the Dauphiné as his right knee was still too painful after his crash yesterday, David Moncoutié (COF) managed to go clear in the col de Montivernoux. The Frenchman generated a front group of four riders with his compatriots Christophe Kern (EUC) and Blel Kadri (ALM) as well as Colombia’s José Sarmiento (LIQ). They reached a maximum advantage of 3.45 after 82km of racing but Team Sky kept the peloton under control and prevented the gap from giving the attackers a chance to succeed. At the top of the 2nd category col de Lalouvesc with 39km to go, the deficit was reduced to 35 seconds.
Moreno sprints like Purito
In the col de Fontaille, Wesley Sulzberger (OGE) attacked from the bunch. Anthony Roux (FDJ) followed him, so did Steve Morabito (BMC), Maxime Médérel (SAU) and Kevin Reza (EUC) but the rider from FDJ-BigMat continued on his own. Roux rejoined the four escapees with seven kilometers to go but only one kilometer further, it was game over and an uphill sprint finish was in preparation at the head of the bunch. Mikaël Chérel (ALM) had no more luck in his solo attempt. Despite BMC and Liquigas gearing up for a duel between Cadel Evans and Vincenzo Nibali, it came down to a rush by Spain’s Daniel Moreno (KAT) who preceded Julien Simon (SAU) and Tony Gallopin (RNT), while race leader Bradley Wiggins (SKY) brought the yellow-blue jersey safely home as he crossed the line in ninth position.
“Considering the finale, it was a good stage for me today. Maybe I wasn’t considered a favourite by everyone but I made myself a favourite and I wanted to win. With last year’s stage of the Vuelta [at the top of Sierra Nevada] and the Tour of Piedmonte, this is one of my three best victories I collected. The end of the stage was very nervous before the final climb.”
Top 5 in Saint-Félicien:
1. Daniel Moreno (KAT)
2. Simon (SAU)
3. Gallopin (RNT)
4. Nocentini (ALM)
5. Van den Broeck (LOT)
6. LL Sanchez (RAB)
7. Evans (BMC)
8. Brajkovic (AST)
9. Wiggins (SKY)
10. Voeckler (EUC)
Daniel Moreno (KAT) beats in the sprint Julien Simon (SAU) and Tony Gallopin (RNT).
Vincenzo Nibali is right on the wheel of Evans.
Chérel has been caught and Evans is well positioned for the uphill sprint.
The BMC team is leading the bunch strongly behind Chérel.