Wednesday's second Alpine stage of the Tour de France saw an aggressive performance from Lampre's Tadej Valjavec, who went clear with Sandy Casar (Française Des Jeux) and eventual stage winner Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) on the first climb of the day. The Slovenian rider was away for most of the stage and while he was caught before the line, he finished a solid 19th.
Also aggressive were Salvatore Commesso and Marzio Bruseghin, who were in a large chase group behind the leading three on the Galibier, and Damiano Cunego. The former Giro d'Italia winner was trying again after finishing second on l'Alpe d'Huez on Tuesday. He finished 14th on the stage, 4'21" behind Rasmussen, and is now 16th in the overall standings. Importantly, he is only 2'42" off the white jersey currently worn by Marcus Fothen (Gerolsteiner).
"It has been a tough stage," Cunego said afterwards. "I tried to be in some breakaways in the beginning, but there were no opportunities. So I stayed with the chasing bunch. On the last climb I worked hard and then I kept my place. Compliments to Rasmussen for the great ride. Tomorrow I will see what I can achieve."
Unfortunately, Lampre-Fondital also had some disappointment due to Daniele Bennati's withdrawal. The Italian sprinter started the day third in the points classification but then fell on the descent of the Galibier, pulling out due to an injured left leg. However a medical check revealed that the bone is not broken.