Hincapie Wins Stage 2 of Dauphine Libere
George Hincapie (High Road) has won Stage 2 of the 2008 Dauphine Libere. Hincapie took a bunch sprint to win the rolling, 184-km ride from Bourg-Saint-Andeol to Vienne in 4:32:38. Sebastien Chavanel (Francaise des Jeux) finished second, and Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner) took third. Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) remains the overall leader.
In the first five km, Stephane Auge (Cofidis), Benat Albazuri (Euskaltel), and David De La Fuente (Saunier Duval) escaped. Credit Agricole went to the front and rode tempo. The fugitives' lead maxed out at 4:35 at 25 km. At 120 km, the break led the bunch by 3:40.
At the foot of the Category 4 Cote de Lupe (134 km), Albazuri crashed. He remounted quickly and rejoined his companions, but he was dropped at the top of the climb. Albazuri would get back on, but the Basque would be dropped permanently later.
High Road joined Credit Agricole at the front. The escapees' lead dropped to one minute at the foot of the Cote de la Croix-Regis and 0:33 at the summit.
With 12 km left, the break was reeled in. Yaroslav Popovych (Silence) crashed, and Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis) and Aurelien Passeron (Saunier Duval) attacked. They scratched out an 0:08 lead before the bunch caught them.
High Road had intended Andre Greipel to be its man for the sprint, but he punctured with 15 km left and could not get back on. With 700 m left, Lang attacked but Hincapie countered and took Chavanel with him.
In the overall, Hushovd leads Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) by 0:01 and Levi Leipheimer (Astana) by 0:05. Stage 3 will probably produce a change of race leadership. The rolling, 31-km individual time trial that will begin and end in Saint-Paul-en-Jarez should see Cadel Evans (Silence) or Leipheimer leap into the lead. Who will don the yellow jersey at day's end? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!