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Hunter conquers all in Caravaca de la Cruz

As the saying goes, 'success breeds success', and Robbie Hunter (Garmin-Transitions) personified the adage as he stormed to his second stage win at the Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia on Thursday.

In a carbon copy of the stage 24-hours previous, Hunter again topped the result sheets, with Graeme Brown (Rabobank) and Vicente Reynes (HTC-Columbia) filling the next two places.

Hunter's win also survived the scrutiny of the race jury after Brown's Rabobank team lodged a protest against the South African's sprint. Cleared of any misconduct Hunter was left to savour his win and possession of the overall leader's jersey for at least another day.

Hills provide the thrills on stage two

Sans Huub Duyn (Team Netapp) and Stephane Rossetto (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team), a 109-strong peloton departed Calasparra on a cloudy day in Spain. The day's route included a repeated ascent of the Category 1 Alto de San Juan, the second of which could come 40 kilometres before the finish in Caravaca de la Cruz.

With the climb providing a carrot to would-be escapees attacks began early with large groups attempting to get away. Several waves of 20-odd riders flooded off the front of the peloton, but each time were quickly reabsorbed thanks largely to the efforts of Cervélo, CCC Polsat and the Spanish National Team.

It took the first ascent of the San Juan - at 57 kilometres - to create the first successful escape. Serguey Lagutin (Vacansoleil) led José Herrada (Caja Rural), Stefan Denifl (Cervélo Test Team), Wouter Poels (Vacansoleil), Roman Kireyev (Astana) and Stef Clement (Rabobank) over the crest of the mountain, with RadioShack's Jason McCartney and Gregory Rast, Danny Pate (Garmin-Transitions) and Dominik Nerz (Milram) also along for the ride.

The climb also succeeded in splitting the peloton into two groups, with Lance Armstrong (RadioShack), Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and defending champion Denis Menchov (Rabobank) present and accounted for in the forward section. Over the next 30 kilometres the breakaway was able to stretch its advantage to around 1:20.

However, neither the separation of the peloton nor the break would last much longer. With Sky at the head of the re-formed main group the escape was neutralized in time for the race's second run at San Juan.

Lagutin stubborn in bolt to the finish

The mountain once again saw the race light up. Clearly not content with his earlier effort, Lagutin took line honours again at the summit. This time, however, the Uzbek rider was solo as he bombed down the other side with a lead of some two minutes over the rest of the field, 35 kilometres yet to cover.

Quickly, though, the Vacansoleil rider's grip on the lead began to slip. Within four kilometres his advantage had dropped to 1:25. Yet, in spite of the stampede behind, a time check of 1:05 at 26km-to-go indicated that Lagutin would go down swinging. With Robbie Hunter's overall lead also under threat Garmin-Transitions took responsibility for the chase.

The US squad's increased interest had an instant effect and with 20 kilometres left Lagutin's lead had halved. With the outskirts of Caravaca de la Cruz flashing past, the peloton caught sight of their prey. Somehow, Lagutin managed to kick again and prepared to enter the final 10 kilometres of the stage with a 40-second buffer.

Two kilometres later, the clock was still in favour of Lagutin, but only just; 25 seconds the gap. Alas, the fairytale was not to be, the brave effort reduced to nil as the reality of a sprint finale replaced the prior pursuit.

Déjà vu reigned at the finish as the result of stage one was repeated. Hunter defended his overall lead in the best way possible as he sprinted to his second sprint win in as many days. Graeme Brown (Rabobank) once again fell short of the top step as both he and Vicente Reynes (HTC-Columbia) claimed the remaining podium positions.

Full Results
1Robert Hunter (RSA) Garmin - Transitions4:20:12
2Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
3Vicente Reynes (Spa) Team HTC - Columbia
4Alexandre Blain (Fra) Endura Racing
5Daniel Schorn (Aut) Team Netapp
6Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Team HTC - Columbia
7Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin - Transitions
8Ian Wilkilson (GBr) Endura Racing
9Josep Jufre (Spa) Astana
10Daryl Impey (RSA) Team Radioshack
11Valentin Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana
12Michal Golas (Pol) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
13Peter Wrolich (Aut) Team Milram
14Sergey Shilov (Rus) Russian National Team
15Luke Roberts (Aus) Team Milram
16Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank
17Thomas Rohregger (Aut) Team Milram
18Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
19Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
20Egor Korolev (Rus) Russian National Team
21Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
22Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
23Jan Barta (Cze) Team Netapp0:00:05
24Salvador Guardiola (Spa) Spanish National Team
25Artur Ershow (Rus) Russian National Team
26Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana
27Martin Velits (Svk) Team HTC - Columbia
28Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank
29Jack Bauer (NZl) Endura Racing
30Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Team Netapp
31Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky
32Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana
33Henning Bommel (Ger) German National Team
34Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team Radioshack
35Lance Armstrong (USA) Team Radioshack
36Gregory Rast (Swi) Team Radioshack
37Danny Pate (USA) Garmin - Transitions
38Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
39Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank
40Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Team Radioshack
41Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
42Evan Oliphant (GBr) Endura Racing
43Mauricio Ardila (Col) Rabobank
44Robert Partridge (GBr) Endura Racing
45Stefan Denifl (Aut) Cervélo TestTeam
46Vitor Rodrigues (Por) Caja Rural
47Higinio Fernández (Spa) Caja Rural
48José Herrada (Spa) Caja Rural
49Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin - Transitions
50Dariusz Batek (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
51Marcel Wyss (Swi) Cervélo TestTeam
52Rubén Reig (Spa) Caja Rural
53Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
54Iñigo Cuesta (Spa) Cervélo TestTeam
55Oscar Pujol (Spa) Cervélo TestTeam
56Alexander Rybakov (Rus) Russian National Team
57José Luis Rubiera (Spa) Team Radioshack
58David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Transitions
59Gert Dockx (Bel) Team HTC - Columbia
60Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Team HTC - Columbia
61Roman Kireyev (Kaz) Astana
62Alexsandr Dyachenko (Kaz) Astana
63Jason Mccartney (USA) Team Radioshack
64Philip Deignan (Irl) Cervélo TestTeam
65Sergey Chernetskiy (Rus) Russian National Team
66James Moss (GBr) Endura Racing0:00:21
67Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Team Netapp0:00:32
68Patrick Gretsch (Ger) Team HTC - Columbia0:00:40
69Dominik Nerz (Ger) Team Milram
70Trent Lowe (Aus) Garmin - Transitions0:02:11
71Morris Possoni (Ita) Team Sky0:03:39
72Julian Dean (NZl) Garmin - Transitions0:05:16
73Arturo Mora (Spa) Caja Rural0:10:56
74Bolat Raimbekov (Kaz) Astana
75Joao Correia (Por) Cervélo TestTeam0:13:45
76Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Caja Rural
77José Carlos Lara (Spa) Spanish National Team
78Víctor Cabedo (Spa) Spanish National Team
79Timon Seubert (Ger) Team Netapp
80Nico Keinath (Ger) Team Netapp
81Stefan Schafer (Ger) German National Team0:13:48
82Roger Kluge (Ger) Team Milram0:13:49
83Marcel Barth (Ger) German National Team
84Erik Mohs (Ger) German National Team
85Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Team HTC - Columbia
86Ross Creber (GBr) Endura Racing0:18:09
87Russell Downing (GBr) Team Sky
88Theo Bos (Ned) Cervélo TestTeam
89Pablo Lechuga (Spa) Spanish National Team
90Krzystof Jezowsky (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
91Tomasz Lisowicz (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
92Alexander Sokolov (Rus) Russian National Team
93Maxim Kozyrev (Rus) Russian National Team
94Lukasz Bodnart (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
95Oleg Chuzhda (Ukr) Caja Rural
96Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Team Sky
97Robert Bengsch (Ger) German National Team
98Robert Bartko (Ger) German National Team
99Nicolas Portal (Fra) Team Sky
100Dominik Roels (Ger) Team Milram
101Bjorn Schroder (Ger) Team Milram
102John Lee Augustyn (RSA) Team Sky
103Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky
104Dmitry Kozontchuk (Rus) Rabobank
105Adan Sznitko (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice0:24:37
106Manuel Anton (Spa) Spanish National Team0:26:02
107Antonio Cabello (Spa) Spanish National Team
DNFDavid Calatayud (Spa) Spanish National Team
DNFTomasz Repinski (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice

Points - Finish
1Robert Hunter (RSA) Garmin - Transitions25pts
2Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank20
3Vicente Reynes (Spa) Team HTC - Columbia16
4Alexandre Blain (Fra) Endura Racing14
5Daniel Schorn (Aut) Team Netapp12
6Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Team HTC - Columbia10
7Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin - Transitions9
8Ian Wilkilson (GBr) Endura Racing8
9Josep Jufre (Spa) Astana7
10Daryl Impey (RSA) Team Radioshack6
11Valentin Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana5
12Michal Golas (Pol) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team4
13Peter Wrolich (Aut) Team Milram3
14Sergey Shilov (Rus) Russian National Team2
15Luke Roberts (Aus) Team Milram1

Sprint 1
1Alexandre Blain (Fra) Endura Racing3pts
2Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank2
3Erik Mohs (Ger) German National Team1

Sprint 2
1Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team3pts
2José Luis Rubiera (Spa) Team Radioshack2
3Roman Kireyev (Kaz) Astana1

Mountain 1 - Alto de San Juan, Category 1
1Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team10pts
2José Herrada (Spa) Caja Rural8
3Stefan Denifl (Aut) Cervélo TestTeam6
4Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team4
5Roman Kireyev (Kaz) Astana2
6Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank1

Mountain 1 - Alto de San Juan, Category 1
1Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team10pts
2Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team8
3Stefan Denifl (Aut) Cervélo TestTeam6
4Danny Pate (USA) Garmin - Transitions4
5Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin - Transitions2
6Trent Lowe (Aus) Garmin - Transitions1

1Team Milram13:00:36
2Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
3Team HTC - Columbia0:00:05
4Endura Racing
5Garmin - Transitions
8Russian National Team
9Team Netapp0:00:10
10Team Radioshack
11Caja Rural0:00:15
12Cervelo Test Team
13CCC Polsat Polkowice0:18:14
14Team Sky0:21:53
15Spanish National Team0:27:35
16German National Team0:27:42

General Classification
1Robert Hunter (RSA) Garmin - Transitions8:35:52
2Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
3Vicente Reynes (Spa) Team HTC - Columbia
4Daniel Schorn (Aut) Team Netapp
5Daryl Impey (RSA) Team Radioshack
6Ian Wilkilson (GBr) Endura Racing
7Michal Golas (Pol) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
8Alexandre Blain (Fra) Endura Racing
9Josep Jufre (Spa) Astana
10Luke Roberts (Aus) Team Milram
11Sergey Shilov (Rus) Russian National Team
12Egor Korolev (Rus) Russian National Team
13Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
14Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Team HTC - Columbia
15Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
16Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
17Thomas Rohregger (Aut) Team Milram
18Peter Wrolich (Aut) Team Milram
19Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank
20Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
21Dominik Nerz (Ger) Team Milram
22Artur Ershow (Rus) Russian National Team0:00:05
23Martin Velits (Svk) Team HTC - Columbia
24Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky
25Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
26Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana
27Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
28Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team Radioshack
29Gregory Rast (Swi) Team Radioshack
30José Herrada (Spa) Caja Rural
31Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank
32Lance Armstrong (USA) Team Radioshack
33Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Team Netapp
34Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank
35Danny Pate (USA) Garmin - Transitions
36Sergey Chernetskiy (Rus) Russian National Team
37Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Team Radioshack
38Vitor Rodrigues (Por) Caja Rural
39Gert Dockx (Bel) Team HTC - Columbia
40Rubén Reig (Spa) Caja Rural
41Alexsandr Dyachenko (Kaz) Astana
42José Luis Rubiera (Spa) Team Radioshack
43David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin - Transitions
44Jason Mccartney (USA) Team Radioshack
45Patrick Gretsch (Ger) Team HTC - Columbia0:00:40
46Jan Barta (Cze) Team Netapp0:00:43
47Salvador Guardiola (Spa) Spanish National Team
48Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana
49Evan Oliphant (GBr) Endura Racing
50Stefan Denifl (Aut) Cervélo TestTeam
51Marcel Wyss (Swi) Cervélo TestTeam
52Jack Bauer (NZl) Endura Racing0:01:03
53Oscar Pujol (Spa) Cervélo TestTeam0:01:09
54Mauricio Ardila (Col) Rabobank0:02:53
55Robert Partridge (GBr) Endura Racing
56Dariusz Batek (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
57Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin - Transitions
58Iñigo Cuesta (Spa) Cervélo TestTeam
59Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Team HTC - Columbia
60Philip Deignan (Irl) Cervélo TestTeam
61Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Team Netapp0:03:20
62Morris Possoni (Ita) Team Sky0:04:17
63Valentin Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana0:07:46
64Henning Bommel (Ger) German National Team0:07:51
65Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
66Higinio Fernández (Spa) Caja Rural
67Alexander Rybakov (Rus) Russian National Team
68Roman Kireyev (Kaz) Astana
69Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin - Transitions0:08:06
70James Moss (GBr) Endura Racing0:08:07
71Trent Lowe (Aus) Garmin - Transitions0:09:57
72Bolat Raimbekov (Kaz) Astana0:10:56
73Julian Dean (NZl) Garmin - Transitions0:13:02
74Víctor Cabedo (Spa) Spanish National Team0:13:45
75Roger Kluge (Ger) Team Milram0:13:49
76Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Team HTC - Columbia
77Erik Mohs (Ger) German National Team0:16:37
78Russell Downing (GBr) Team Sky0:18:09
79Krzystof Jezowsky (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
80Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Team Sky
81John Lee Augustyn (RSA) Team Sky
82Nicolas Portal (Fra) Team Sky
83Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky
84Arturo Mora (Spa) Caja Rural0:18:42
85Oleg Chuzhda (Ukr) Caja Rural0:18:47
86Theo Bos (Ned) Cervélo TestTeam0:19:17
87Bjorn Schroder (Ger) Team Milram0:20:01
88Dmitry Kozontchuk (Rus) Rabobank0:20:57
89Nico Keinath (Ger) Team Netapp0:21:31
90José Carlos Lara (Spa) Spanish National Team
91Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Caja Rural
92Timon Seubert (Ger) Team Netapp
93Joao Correia (Por) Cervélo TestTeam
94Stefan Schafer (Ger) German National Team0:21:34
95Marcel Barth (Ger) German National Team0:21:35
96Ross Creber (GBr) Endura Racing0:25:55
97Tomasz Lisowicz (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
98Dominik Roels (Ger) Team Milram
99Lukasz Bodnart (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
100Robert Bengsch (Ger) German National Team
101Robert Bartko (Ger) German National Team
102Alexander Sokolov (Rus) Russian National Team
103Maxim Kozyrev (Rus) Russian National Team
104Pablo Lechuga (Spa) Spanish National Team0:26:44
105Adan Sznitko (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice0:32:23
106Antonio Cabello (Spa) Spanish National Team0:33:48
107Manuel Anton (Spa) Spanish National Team

Points Classification
1Robert Hunter (RSA) Garmin - Transitions50pts
2Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank40
3Vicente Reynes (Spa) Team HTC - Columbia32
4Alexandre Blain (Fra) Endura Racing20
5Daniel Schorn (Aut) Team Netapp19
6Daryl Impey (RSA) Team Radioshack18
7Ian Wilkilson (GBr) Endura Racing14
8Roger Kluge (Ger) Team Milram14
9Michal Golas (Pol) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team13
10Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Team HTC - Columbia10
11Krzystof Jezowsky (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice10
12Josep Jufre (Spa) Astana9
13Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin - Transitions9
14Russell Downing (GBr) Team Sky8
15Valentin Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana5
16Bolat Raimbekov (Kaz) Astana5
17Víctor Cabedo (Spa) Spanish National Team4
18Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team3
19Egor Korolev (Rus) Russian National Team3
20Peter Wrolich (Aut) Team Milram3
21Luke Roberts (Aus) Team Milram2
22Sergey Shilov (Rus) Russian National Team2
23Luke Roberts (Aus) Team Milram2
24José Luis Rubiera (Spa) Team Radioshack2
25Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team2
26Rubén Reig (Spa) Caja Rural1
27Roman Kireyev (Kaz) Astana1
28Erik Mohs (Ger) German National Team1

Mountains Classification
1Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team20pts
2Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team17
3Stefan Denifl (Aut) Cervélo TestTeam12
4José Herrada (Spa) Caja Rural8
5Danny Pate (USA) Garmin - Transitions7
6Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team4
7Rubén Reig (Spa) Caja Rural4
8Alexandre Blain (Fra) Endura Racing2
9Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin - Transitions2
10Roman Kireyev (Kaz) Astana2
11Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank1
12Trent Lowe (Aus) Garmin - Transitions1

Teams Classification
1Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team25:47:36
2Team Milram
3Team HTC - Columbia0:00:05
4Russian National Team
6Garmin - Transitions
8Team Radioshack0:00:10
9Caja Rural0:00:15
10Endura Racing0:00:43
11Team Netapp0:00:48
12Cervelo Test Team0:02:35
13CCC Polsat Polkowice0:21:02
14Team Sky0:21:53
15Spanish National Team0:35:59
16German National Team0:46:02

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