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Critérium du Dauphiné 2013: Stage 2

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Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage from the Dauphine.

Good morning. You join us for stage 2 of this year's race, a 191km stage from Châtel to Oyonnax.

 

We've covered just shy of 90km with roughly 100km still to go.

We have a break of four riders up the road already. José Mendes (Netapp), Rudy Molard (Cofidis), Thomas Damuseau (Argos Shimano) and Arnaud Gérard (Bretagne-Séché) have four minutes on the peloton lead by Europcar.

Yesterday David Veilleux pulled off a sensational win to claim the opening stage. Here's where we stand on GC.

 

1 David Veilleux (Can) Team Europcar 3:17:35
2 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:01:56
3 Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team 0:01:57
4 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling
5 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling
6 Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Movistar Team
7 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
8 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team
9 Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack Leopard
10 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura

Two main casualties from yesterday's challenging course were Thomas De Gendt and Andrew Talansky. Both were dropped on the penultimate climb of the stage. The American has been sick for several days but we're not sure what De Gendt's problems were. Worrying signs with the Tour de France just a matter of weeks away.

Away from the Dauphine for just a brief moment, and Robert Millar has penned another blog for the website, this time on the reasons why Wiggins has not made the selection for the Tour de France with Sky. Well worth a read if I do say so  myself.

Damuseau was of course in the break yesterday and he's looking to take as many KOM points as possible. He picked up the maximum amount on the first climb of the day (3) and with five more categorised climbs to come he'll be looking to snaffle up as many points as possible today.

93km remaining from 191km

The leaders have pushed their advantage out to 4'20 with 93km remaining in the stage.

The break have just passed through the feedzone and the peloton will be coming through in four minutes.

 

If you're looking for a break (another shameless plug) then check out our video channel which is bursting at the seems with Giro content.

Damuseau is wearing the KOM jersey today because Veilleux is in yellow. Since the first climb though the gap has shrunk from 5 points to 3. If the Argos rider keeps up this progress he'll be in the KOM jersey again tomorrow.

Here's a list of the five remaining climbs for the stage:

- Côte de Mons (km 120.5), 1km at 5.5%
- Côte de Lancrans (km 136), 3.1km at 5.2%
- Côte de Communal (km 151.5), 5.6km at 6.3%
- Côte du Bugnon (km 168.5), 1.9km at 6.1%
- Col du Sentier (km 179.5), 2.7km at 7.6%

Three of the riders - all expect Damuseau - are 1'57 down on GC so there's not much chance of the break surviving in today's stage.

The lead of the break has stretched out a little further and is now at 4'55.

Damuseau leads the break over the côte de Mons and now leads the KOM competition by a single point.

77km remaining from 191km

Less than 80km remaining and the gap is down to four minutes, having peaked earlier at 4'55.

The peloton has taken a further 45 seconds off the break's advantage, which is down to 3'15 with 58km remaining.

The gap continues to tumble, and it's down to 2'57.

Perfect racing conditions out there at the moment with the sun out and dry roads. The four leaders are still working well together but the bunch have them under control.

Molard has a puncture and needs assistance. He has a quick change and he's back chasing again.

Back in the bunch and Europcar are setting the pace. Froome is close to the front and looks comfortable.

There's a crash in the middle of the bunch.

A rider from Euskaltel is fixing his bike and Docker is also down.

The Orica rider is on his feet but he's not looking great at the moment.

There's another crash. Another Euskaltel rider is down, along with Westra.

It's Sicard. Both men are on their feet and should be okay.

Contador has now moved up the front of the peloton, with Fuglsang pulling out a similar move.

The race leader has his yellow jersey unzipped as he moves up and talks to his teammates who continue to set the pace. Voeckler is at the front but seemingly working in his own pace line.

 

As Westra is now back with the doctor's car.

He's got some cuts and scrapes on his right arm but he should make it through today's stage. He's with a teammate who will help bring him back to the peloton.

40km remaining from 191km

40km remaining at the gap is now down to 2'42.

QucikStep have posted a man on the front to help with the pace setting. The peloton is starting to fracture on the climb though and they'll be looking to test the legs of the race leader and set up Meersman up for the win.

Veilleux has slipped back a few places but is still within the peloton.

Talansky is having another tough day in the saddle and has slipped off the back.

35km remaining from 191km

The four leaders have had their advantage cut to 1'21.

QuickStep continue to set the pace on the front of the peloton. Their work has seen a number of riders dropped, including Thor Hushovd.

Chavanel on the front at the moment and he's reduced the gap to 59 seconds pretty much all on his own. He's four teammates lined up behind him too.

The four leaders have started to attack each other Molard the first to make a move.

The Cofidis rider has a small gap but with the peloton at just 44 seconds it's an impossible task.

The rest of the break has sat up but Molard is still pushing on alone. He's got a gap of 48 seconds as he tackles the final climb.

Molard has pushed his lead out to 57 seconds now with Omega easing off slightly.

More riders are being dropped by the QuickStep led peloton. Apologies Molard still has one final climb to go. Cannondale have moved up at the front of the peloton to join QuickStep.


Sky look comfortable at the moment too, with their riders lined out with Froome in touch.

Flecha has now attacked from the bunch and there's been a reaction from a RadioShack rider.

I think that's Laurent Didier from RadioShack.

The lone leader has 44 seconds with 23km to go.

There's a crash in the field with a Sky and Cannondale rider in trouble.

Didier can't quite make it up to Flecha's wheel as Molard begins the descent towards the final climb.

Didier has blown and Flecha is about to be caught by the bunch too.

22km remaining from 191km

22km to go and Molard has just 29 seconds.

Voeckler is now setting the pace for his team. The gap has dropped to just 14 seconds.

Molard is about to be caught with 15km to go.

And Voeckler continues to lead the peloton as they approach the final climb of the stage. It will be interesting to see if any of the GC contenders make a move.

Stannard is dropped, a number of others in the same position as Sky now put a man on the front of the peloton for Froome.

Omega are looking to set a steady tempo for a sprint.

There's an attack from Movistar but it's fairly timid.

Gerrans has also been dropped.  That's a bit of a surprise, even though he did struggle yesterday.

Santaromita now leads the race with a dig of his own. Taaramae goes right passed him though and is clear. That's a good move from the Cofidis rider.

Taaramae is out of the saddle and goes over the top of the climb with a handful of seconds.

Slagter has been dropped too.

And Taaramae almost loses it on the descent, just managing to keep the bike on the road.

Omega, Astana and Sky are doing the chasing back  in the bunch.

Taaramae continues to lead with 7km to go. The gap is 14 seconds. Now Chavanel moves to the front to try and shut the move down.

He's not the cleanest descender but he's giving it everything as Chavanel briefly drops the bunch. The gap is now 11 seconds with 5km to go.

Chavanel checks back to see the gap he's created. He'll have to ease up slightly but the gap is down to 9 seconds.

Chavanel has eased up, finally.

Taaramae has to use this hesitation to push on and create a gap of around 20 seconds. Cannondale are now leading the bunch. Is Viviani still  in the bunch?

Less than 2km to go and Taaramae is caught.

Gallopin is here, Thomas too, and Meersman. Matthews is near the front as well. with 1km to go .

It;s going to be a chaotic sprint.

600 to go

Meersman is in third, Vivianni in fifth.

Meersman opens the sprint but it looks like he's gone too early.

Viviani comes through and he's going to take the win.

Viviani takes the stage and Meersman has to settle for second.

Veilleux finished in the main field and will keep yellow. Slagter is just coming to the line now so he'll be out of the white jersey.

1 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling
2 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
3 Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack Leopard
General classification
1 David Veilleux (Can) Team Europcar
2 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 00:01:56
3 Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack Leopard 00:01:57

Thanks for joining us today. You can find our report, images and results, right here.

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