De Groot Wins Stage One of Med Tour
Bram De Groot (Rabobank) has won Stage One of the Tour of the Mediterranean. The Dutchman rode away from seven breakaway companions to win the 112-km run in Arma Di Taggia, Italy in 2:37:20. Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) outsprinted Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) for second at 0:01.
The stage featured three climbs--the Poggio, the Torima, and San Bartolomeo. On the last of these ascents (69 km), eight riders--De Groot, Bettini, Hushovd, Laurent Brochard and Christophe Oriol (both from Ag2r), Mirko Celestino (Saeco), and Sylvain Chavanel and Thomas Voeckler (Brioches La Boulangere)--attacked. The octet forged a 1:25 lead by the finish.
With one km left, De Groot stole a march on his companions. Bettini led the pursuit of the Dutchman, but the seven chasers came up short.
In the overall, De Groot leads Bettini by 0:05 and Hushovd by 0:07. Stage 2 will be tough. The 109-km run from Menton to Le Cannet will feature a series of climbs, including an uphill finish in Le Cannet. A small group could battle for the day's honors. Will De Groot keep his overall lead? Check in on http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!