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Live coverage

Critérium du Dauphiné 2011: Stage 2

62km remaining from 179km

Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of stage two of the Criterium du Dauphine, from Voiron to Lyon.

As we pick up the action with 62km still to race, there is a three-man break up the road with a lead of over four minutes. Brice Feillu (Leopard Trek), Jurgen Van De Walle (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Martin Tjallingii (Rabobank) have been collaborating solidly throughout the afternoon.

The trio escaped just 10km into today's stage and have been out in front ever since.

Van De Walle was first over the top of the first climb of the day, the 4th category côte de Miribel-les-Echelles (21km).

Feillu led over the côte du château de Saint-Julien (91km), where the trio's lead was 3:30.

The peloton still have two category four climbs to tackle, the côte de Pérouges (1.6 km at 4,4 %), with 45km still to ride, and then the haul to the finish in Lyon, atop the côte de la Croix-Rousse. The Côte de la Croix-Rousse climbs for 1.4km at an average gradient of 4.8%. It's certainly not the sharpest sting in the tail, but it could be a fascinating dress rehearsal for the opening stage of the Tour de France, which finishes at Mont des Alouettes.

55km remaining from 179km

A puncture for Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), but the French champion is safely back in the peloton, thanks to the help of a platoon of his teammates.

Today's stage started under steady rainfall, but conditions have improved considerably since then. Skies are overcast on the approach to Lyon, but the roads are dry.

As expected, Astana have been working at the front of the peloton, as they defend the interests of race leader Alexandre Vinokourov. However, it's interesting to note that Cofidis have also begun to contribute to the chase effort. Samuel Dumoulin is clearly looking to put on a show in Lyon this afternoon, coming as he does from nearby Vénissieux.

49km remaining from 179km

The gap has come down inside four minutes now thanks to Cofidis' pressing. The trio up front are showing no signs of weakness and are continuing to work well together, but they'll be doing well to stay clear to Lyon at this rate.

Overall, Vinokourov has a lead of 5 seconds over yesterday's stage winner Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Omega Pharma-Lotto), with Cadel Evans (BMC) a further two seconds back in third. Of the men in the top ten, the rider most likely to shine today is perhaps Edvald Boasson Hagen. The young Norwegian looks to have recovered from the injuries sustained in his crash at Scheldeprijs, and he'll be looking to test himself today with week one of the Tour in mind.

45km remaining from 179km

Not surprisingly, Brice Feillu is the man driving the break up the day's penultimate climb, the Côte de Pérouges. The Frenchman wasn't initially due to ride the Giro d'Italia and not the Tour de France, but as Leopard Trek withdrew from the Giro in the wake of the tragic death of Wouter Weylandt, Feillu may now find himself in the shake-up for a place in the team's July plans.

In spite of Feillu's efforts, the gap is continuing to tumble under the joint impetus of Cofidis and Astana. 3:26 is the margin now, and the pace is still relatively sedate in the peloton.

Indeed, Astana have left the pursuit up to Cofidis for now, while Nicolas Roche's Ag2r-La Mondiale squad are also massing at the head of the bunch.

Cadel Evans is another man who is staying close to the front. The Australian is wearing the green jersey today, even though he is in fact in third place in the points standings, behind Vinokourov and the king of the mountains leader Van Den Broeck.

40km remaining from 179km

Van De Walle puts in a big turn on the front, but the gap is continuing to tumble gently. They now have a lead of 3:15.

Tjallingii has words with Feillu at the end of the race, it seems as though the Dutchman is explaining how the break should position themselves as they negotiate the crosswind.

Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) is ensconced in the peloton today. The Italian has had a difficult start to this Dauphine. After riding a stilted prologue, he coughed up another three minutes on yesterday's stage. Basso explained afterwards that he is here purely to prepare for the Tour de France as he continues his recovery from a training crash he sustained at Mount Etna in May.

34km remaining from 179km

Three minutes the gap as the break rides through Le Montellier. The gap seems to be dropping by around a minute every ten kilometres now as the pace begins to pick up in the peloton.

As the peloton bowls along wide and straight tree-lined roads, the pace ratchets up accordingly. Cofidis are still doing the lion's share of the pace-making up front.

Meanwhile, the three escapees are out of the trees and battling with more exposed conditions. The peloton should be able to make serious inroads into their advantage here.

31km remaining from 179km

Garmin-Cervelo have also begun to contribute to the pursuit. Tyler Farrar will certainly be hoping it all comes down a bunch finish today, as it might offer an indication of his chances on stage one of the Tour de France.

28km remaining from 179km

As expected, the bunch have sliced another 30 seconds or so off the gap on emerging from the trees. 2:22 the margin now.

Daniel Lloyd and Ramunas Navardauskas are stringing out the peloton now. A lot of Rabobank jerseys visible near the front now, but rather than impeding the chase in a bid to help Tjallingii, it seems that they are trying to keep Robert Gesink out of trouble.

25km remaining from 179km

Unsurprisingly there's a sharp increase in road furniture on the approach to Lyon. The bunch makes it safely through a roundabout, but when the road narrows soon afterwards there are a number of fallers. Julien Vermote (Quick Step) is among them, but nobody seems to be hurt and he's back on his back straight away.

The bunch is really beginning to line out under Navardauskas' pressure and some splits are appearing. The overall contenders will have to be careful not to switch off here...

21km remaining from 179km

The gap to the break is down to 1:30, but more interestingly the bunch has split in two.... Cadel Evans is among those caught behind, and they might be hard-pressed to close that gap before Lyon.

Edvald Boasson Hagen is also behind, and Bradley Wiggins is putting in a huge pull at the head of the group in a bid to pull them back.

There are around 40 riders in the front split, with Garmin-Cervelo and Astana now putting the hammer down. Vinokourov knows he has a real chance to put some time into Evans here.

18km remaining from 179km

All of this means that the break's lead is dwindling rapidly. Tjallingii leads them on a long downhill section, but the high pace behind means the gap is inside 40 seconds.

16km remaining from 179km

Tjallingii attacks by himself from the front group as the Astana-led front of the peloton breathe down their necks.

Movistar and Europcar are also well-represented in the front group.

15km remaining from 179km

Feillu and Van De Walle are swallowed up by the front peloton. Tjallingi remains a handful of seconds clear but he will soon be caught.

12km remaining from 179km

24 seconds the gap between the Vinokourov and Evans groups.

Sky are doing the majority of the chasing from the Evans group as they seek to bring Boasson Hagen back into contention for the stage win.

Tyler Farrar is in the front group, hence Garmin-Cervelo's desire to keep the pace high.

Boasson Hagen has lost contact with the second group. It appears that he has mechanical trouble of some kind, and that will surely put an end to Sky's pursuit. It's bad news for Evans, who doesn't have too many teammates with him.

8km remaining from 179km

Evans' luck is in, however. Sky were within touching distance when Boasson Hagen was dropped and the two front groups are now back together.

The pace has dropped slightly now that Sky and Evans are back on, and that might give Boasson Hagen a chance to make it up to the front group. The Norwegian is currently chasing among the cars, however, so he'll have to use up a lot of energy to get up there again.

6km remaining from 179km

More and more traffic islands now in the outskirts of Lyon, but so far the peloton have negotiated them safely.

5km remaining from 179km

Cofidis and Nicolas Roche's Ag2r-La Mondiale are heading up the peloton with a little over 5km still to race.

The bunch bowls along the banks of the Rhone on the approach to that final haul to the line. Vacansoleil-DCM are now leading it out.

4km remaining from 179km

It's a very technical run-in to the line, with traffic islands aplenty. BMC have now come to the front in support of Cadel Evans, who looks none the worse for his earlier pursuit.

3km remaining from 179km

Vinokourov's yellow jersey is very prominent too, and he has been perfectly positioned throughout the day.

2km remaining from 179km

A little over a kilometre to the foot of the final climb. The pace is very, very high and so far nobody has dared to show his hand by attacking alone.

1km remaining from 179km

Thomas Voeckler is eyeing an attack here as the bunch hits the foot of the climb.

Voeckler is in third wheel, with Rabobank leading the bunch. Meanwhile, Van Den Broeck has fallen at the rear of the peloton.

1km remaining from 179km

Marco Bandiera (Quick Step) attacks under the red kite, but is smartly caught by Cofidis.

Voeckler makes his move with 600 metres to go

Dumoulin latches onto Voeckler's wheel and brings the bunch back up to him.

Dumoulin leads out the sprint but John Degenkolb (HTC-Highroad) comes past him in the finishing straight.

And Degenkolb crosses the line in first place. He had time to sit up and savour that win, he had far more too much for Dumoulin in the finale.

Dumoulin dived for Voeckler's wheel on the final bend, but Degenkolb came around the French champion on the other side, and simply ripped clear of Dumoulin.

Paul Martens (Rabobank) was third, ahead of Joaquim Rodriguez and Thomas Voeckler.

Nicolas Roche came home in 8th place.

Boasson Hagen never succeeded in getting back on, and he crosses the line well down.

The top 10 on today's stage:

1 John Degenkolb (Ger) HTC-Highroad 4:02:39
2 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
3 Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team
4 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team
5 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar
6 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
7 Grega Bole (Slo) Lampre - ISD
8 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale
9 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Leopard Trek
10 Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team

 

Luckily for Van Den Broeck, his accident took place inside the final 3km, and he has lost no time to Vinokourov overall.

The overall standings after stage 2 are as follows:

General classification after stage 2

1 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana 7:45:48
2 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:00:11
3 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling
4 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:13
5 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:17
6 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 0:00:23
7 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Team RadioShack 0:00:26
8 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 0:00:27
9 Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:00:29
10 Rui Alberto Faria Costa (Por) Movistar Team 0:00:34

 

 

General classification after stage 2

1 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana 7:45:48
2 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:00:11
3 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling
4 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:13
5 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:17
6 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 0:00:23
7 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Team RadioShack 0:00:26
8 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 0:00:27
9 Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:00:29
10 Rui Alberto Faria Costa (Por) Movistar Team 0:00:34

 

 

General classification after stage 2

1 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana 7:45:48
2 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:00:11
3 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling
4 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:13
5 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:17
6 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 0:00:23
7 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Team RadioShack 0:00:26
8 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 0:00:27
9 Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:00:29
10 Rui Alberto Faria Costa (Por) Movistar Team 0:00:34

 

 

Thank you for joining us for today's live coverage of the Criterium du Dauphine. We'll be back tomorrow with live coverage of the crucial time trial around Grenoble. In the meantime, stay tuned to Cyclingnews for full results, report and pictures from stage two, as well as all the news and reaction from Lyon.

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