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2010 Vuelta a España Recap and Updates: Stage 2

| by Sports Nickel
Stage 2 – Alcalá de Guadaíra to Marbella – 173.7 km (107.7 mi)

Sunday/29 August 2010


With the stage from Alcalá de Guadaíra to Marbella running through the hill country, the first King of the Mountains points would be on offer Sunday in a stage that promised to see the first action between the elite sprinters of the Vuelta peloton. The team time trial the night before representing the first evening affair in Vuelta history, the first road stage of the 2010 race was organized to begin in the Spanish afternoon to give riders the opportunity to recover a bit from the previous efforts. Right from the start the race heated right up in the Andalucian summertime, four riders escaping off the front in the traditional early breakaway. Javier Ramírez (Andalucia Cajasur), Mickaël Buffaz (Cofidis), Johnnie Walker (of Footon-Servetto rather than Scotch fame) and Mickael Delage (Omega Pharma-Lotto) had a one-minute lead on the main field just six kilometers into the stage, and it looked as though one amongst this quartet would be walking away at the end of the stage with the first King of the Mountains lead in 2010.

Twenty kilometers into the 173km stage, the four leaders had ballooned their gap to nearly five minutes. They yo-yoed off the front, as race leaders Columbia monitored the gap and kept it right around that five-minute mark. Content to allow the quartet to stay clear as long as possible to discourage counterattacks, Columbia were hoping to set up the sprint for their red-clad race leader Mark Cavendish. The Manxman, who has twenty individual stage victories to his name already at just 25 years of age, was hoping that the Vuelta would afford an opportunity to earn his first Spanish grand-tour stages and bulk up that grand total of stage victories. And the way he’s been riding as of late, it is really not a matter of if but when he’s going to snag that first stage.

But the focus at this point, about a third of the way through the day’s stage, was still that breakaway. The four leaders approached the Alto de Pruna, a third-category climb whose summit would yield the first mountain points of the 2010 Vuelta. Delage eclipsed Ramírez and Walker at the line, claiming the three points afforded to the victor and ensuring that he’d get to stand on the podium in Marbella no matter the success or failure of the breakaway. Unfortunately Buffaz was the first casualty of the race while in the lead group, crashing on the climb and breaking his collarbone. It would prove a sad way to depart the Vuelta, as the Cofidis rider headed to the hospital instead of to the finish line. After their head-to-head battle on the Pruna, though, the three remaining riders off the front returned to their cooperative effort in hopes that they might still be able to stay away to the finish line long enough so that they could battle for the stage victory amongst themselves.

The heat started to take its toll, though, the mercury in Spanish thermometers spiking near 100 degrees in the region through which the cyclists were riding. The leading trio started to fracture, as each man started to form visions of a solo ride into Marbella. The scrambling and dysfunction up in the leading group allowed the peloton to reel the gap in, teams like Columbia and Garmin and Lampre preparing for the big finish. The long downhill stretch did little to energize the flagging chances of Delage, Ramírez and Walker, minutes melting away from their lead as their hopes of a stage win began to look more and more futile with each passing kilometer.

And thus the catch came, 12 kilometers from the finish in Marbella. The sprinters’ teams jockeyed for position on the outskirts of the town, as the accelerated pace caused some of the hopefuls to lose parts of their lead-out trains. Alessandro Petacchi and Tyler Farrar were left to freelance their way to the finish, while Cavendish appeared to be in the best position for the victory. Instead, though, all the big names were usurped at the line as Belarussian sprinter Yauheni Hutarovich burst through their ranks to steal away the Stage 2 win ahead of a clearly-disappointed Cavendish and hard-charging Farrar. The 26-year-old earned his first-ever grand tour stage victory in the process, the biggest win in his burgeoning career.

This race may yet prove to be Cavendish’s to shine — remember that we saw him fail to win in the first few stages at this year’s Tour de France, too, and all the questions which emerged about his form were moot by Paris. But on this day through sunny southwestern Spain, it was the man from Belarus who earned the plaudits. It was a masterful performance by Hutarovich, the FdJeux rider knocking off some of the biggest names in the sport to claim his inaugural stage in one of the sport’s three grandest races. The sprinters will take a backseat tomorrow and hope to hang on during the leg-busting climb to Valdepeñas de Jaén on tomorrow’s Stage 3 after taking the Sunday spotlight, none bigger than the one shining on Hutarovich…


1 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) FDJ 4:35:41  
2 Mark Cavendish (GBR) Team HTC-Columbia    
3 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Transitions    
4 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini    
5 Manuel Cardoso (Por) Footon-Servetto    
6 Koldo Fernandez De Larrea (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
7 Benjamin Swift (GBR) Team Sky    
8 Robert Förster (Ger) Team Milram    
9 Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Team Katusha    
10 Andreas Stauff (Ger) Quick Step    


1 Mark Cavendish (GBR) Team HTC-Columbia 4:49:35  
2 Kanstantin Sivtsov (Blr) Team HTC-Columbia 0:00:12  
3 Peter Velits (Svk) Team HTC-Columbia    
4 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) Team HTC-Columbia    
5 Matthew Goss (GBR) Team HTC-Columbia    
6 Hayden Roulston (NZL) Team HTC-Columbia    
7 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Transitions 0:00:21  
8 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 0:00:22  
9 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo    
10 Frederik Willems (Bel) Liquigas-Doimo    


1 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) FDJ 25 pts
2 Mark Cavendish (GBR) Team HTC-Columbia 20  
3 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Transitions 16  
4 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini 14  
5 Manuel Cardoso (Por) Footon-Servetto 12  
6 Koldo Fernandez De Larrea (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 10  
7 Benjamin Swift (GBR) Team Sky 9  
8 Mickael Delage (Fra) Omega Pharma-Lotto 8  
9 Robert Förster (Ger) Team Milram 8  
10 Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Team Katusha 7  


1 Mickael Delage (Fra) Omega Pharma-Lotto 3  
2 Javier Ramirez (Spa) Andalucia-Cajasur 2  
3 Johnnie Walker (Aus) Footon-Servetto 1  


1 Team HTC – Columbia 14:01:09  
2 Liquigas-Doimo 0:00:10  
3 Cervelo Test Team 0:00:13  
4 Team Saxo Bank 0:00:14  
5 Lampre-Farnese Vini    
6 Garmin – Transitions 0:00:17  
7 Omega Pharma-Lotto    
8 Team Milram 0:00:18  
9 Team Katusha 0:00:20  
10 Quick Step 0:00:23  

2010 Vuelta a España – Stage 2 News and Notes is a post originally from: SportsNickel.com - In Sports We Trust

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