Voigt Wins Stage 2 of Criterium International: Takes Overall Lead
Jens Voigt (CSC) has won Stage 2 of the Criterium International. Voigt, who has won this race twice before, took the hilly, 98.5-km ride from Les Vielles Forges to Montherme in 2:29:00. Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d?Epargne) outsprinted Andreas Kloden (Astana) for second at 0:48. Voigt has taken the overall lead from Olaf Pollack (Wiesenhof).
As was the case in Stage 1, Romain Feillu (Agritubel) attempted an early escape. The peloton reeled him in, and Danny Pate (Slipstream) made an unsuccessful getaway attempt. Voigt, Sebastien Joly (Francaise des Jeux), and Gorazd Stangelj (Lampre) attacked and got away. At 30 km, they led the Caisse d?Epargne-paced peloton by about 1:30.
At the summit of the Cote de Perrieres (49 km), the trio led the peloton by almost 2:00. With 34 km left, Voigt, realizing that his companions were tiring and that the peloton was accelerating, attacked. At the summit of the day?s penultimate climb, the Cote de Mont Malgre Tout (77 km), the German led the field by 1:25. Behind, Damiano Cunego (Lampre) attacked from the peloton. The resulting combustion created a chase group consisting of Alexander Botcharov (Credit Agricole); Laurent Brochard (Bouygues Telecom); Felix Rafael Cardenas (Barloworld); Giampaolo Caruso (Lampre); Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis); Andreas Kloden (Astana); Thomas Lovkvist (Francaise des Jeux); Jose Alberto Martinez (Agritubel); Frank Schleck (CSC); and Luis Leon Sanchez, Francisco Perez, and Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d?Epargne). The pursuers came within 0:48 of Voigt, but the German veteran was the man of the match.
In the overall, Voigt leads Brochard and Caruso by 0:48. Stage 3, the final and deciding stage of the race, will be an 8.3-km time trial in