Ciolek Wins Stage 2 of Vuelta
Gerald Ciolek (Milram) has won Stage 2 of the Vuelta a Espana. The German bested the field in a bunch sprint to take the flat, 203.7-km run from Assen to Emmen, the Netherlands in 4:43:12. Fabio Sabatini (Liquigas) finished second, and Roger Hammond (Cervelo) finished third. Stage 1 winner Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) remains the overall leader.
The racing, which took place in the race, started early. At four km, Tom Leezer (Rabobank), Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil), Francisco Jose Perez (Andalucia), David Garcia (Xacobeo Galicia), and Dominik Roels (Milram) sallied off of the front. At 60 km, the five riders led the field by six minutes.
Garmin began to chase. Saxo Bank and Quick Step joined Garmin at the front, and with 60 km remaining, the escapees' lead was down to 3.25. Twenty km later, the gap was down to 2:25. With 25 km remaining, the bunch trailed the break by about fifty seconds.
The break reached a cobblestone stretch and began to disintegrate. Westra attacked his companions, but he never had more than a minute on the pursuit. With 10 km remaining, the peloton was together.
Columbia took over at the front. Liquigas brought up Daniele Bennati, and Garmin and Quick Step were at the front for Tyler Farrar and Tom Boonen, respectively. Columbia led the field into the final km, but Andre Greipel, their sprinter, got boxed in. With 100 m left, Ciolek burst into the lead and held off Sabatini to win.
In the last few km, the field split. Several important riders lost 0:18. They were Alexander Vinokourov (Astana), Damiano Cunego (Lampre), Samuel Sanchez and Igor Anton (both from Euskaltel), and Frank and Andy Schleck (both from Saxo Bank). The time losses will stand because crashes or mechanical problems did not cause them.
In the overall, Cancellara leads Ciolek by 0:08 and Boonen by 0:09. Stage 3 will be a flat, 189.7-km ride from Zutphen to Venlo, the Netherlands. Thirty km of the stage will run through Germany. The stage should end in another bunch sprint. Who will win it? Will the winner take enough seconds to grab the overall lead? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!