Garmin-Cervelo wins team time trial

Never have four seconds been so crucial to the happiness a team. For Garmin-Cervélo, during a year in which criticism and intrigue has plagued the American squad, its win in the Tour de France team time trial is like gold dust, sprinkled from the skies above Les Essarts.

The US team saved one of its best performances for the Tour, beating BMC by four seconds after 23km of super fast racing, allowing Hushovd to pull on the yellow jersey by a mere 47 hundredths of a second ahead of Cadel Evans (BMC). And Jonathan Vaughters’ crew did it the hard way, setting the fastest time of 24:48.10 after being one of early runners on a course that was not overly challenging but found some of the big teams wanting when the moment mattered.

Those teams included HTC-Highroad, highly fancied before today’s start, Leopard-Trek, RadioShack and Saxo Bank, with all four finishing close but failing to fully fire on the big stage. Consequently Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins and BMC captain Cadel Evans will benefit from the changes in the general classification. The Australian is now third overall, just one second behind Garmin-Cervélo duo Thor Hushovd and David Millar. Wiggins is further back but only at four seconds.

“This is a great day. We did a really good team effort. Everything worked perfectly,” Hushovd said.

“Every rider gave 100 percent for the team. It’s incredible. When I look back to 10 years ago when I won the same TTT, it’s crazy. It’s an incredible day for me and the team. I’m proud to wear the rainbow jersey at the Tour de France but to pull on yellow is incredible for me.”

Evans is tantalizingly close to the yellow jersey but remained upbeat, knowing he has gained more precious seconds on his overall Tour rivals.

“The first goal was not to lose any time and the second was to see if we could gain any time,” said Evans after the finish. “The fact that we were there in the running to nearly win the team time trial was really something. It was a faint hope but it was also a realistic one.”

He wasn’t making bold predictions about his chances of a stint in the yellow jersey, preferring to concentrate on Monday’s stage, which is one for the sprinters. “We’re going to have a look at today, have an analysis of everything and get through tomorrow without any problems,” he said.

Instead it was Hushovd thinking about the overall ascendancy, swapping his rainbow stripes for the yellow jersey. Having taken third on Saturday’s stage, just six seconds behind winner Philippe Gilbert, Hushovd found today’s labours fruitful and can now enjoy another stint in the race lead to go with the maillot jaune he garnered in the 2006 Tour by winning the prologue in Strasbourg. Hushovd has come under fire this season for a lack of winning performances as world champion but a stage victory in the recent Tour de Suisse and a start in the yellow jersey tomorrow will go some way to making amends.

Garmin-Cervelo team manager Jonathan Vaughters was ecstatic about his team finally winning the team time trial, the stage he loves the most and won himself in 2001.

"I think I just made a fool of myself but I can't say I care. This has been a long time coming,” he said. “We've fought hard and we've always done it as a team. For our first win to be as a team, it's phenomenal.”

"We don't have the biggest budget or the biggest staff, but we have the most passion. Today it came together. We put out a plan that got us to the line the fastest. The amount of sacrifice the guys had to do to get it done is amazing. I'm very proud of our guys."

Contador under pressure

Whilst Garmin-Cervélo can celebrate, one man sure to be under pressure is Alberto Contador. The defending champion lost more valuable time in the test against the clock with Saxo Bank-Sungard finishing eighth – 28 seconds behind the stage winners, giving the Spaniard more than a sour French public reception to consider.

Saxo Bank was the first team off and set a good but not spectacular time. Soon after, it was time for the eventual winners to lay down a time in pursuit of the stage victory.

Going through all intermediate splits the fastest, a smooth, consistent performance from Garmin-Cervelo ensured the American team set a time that would ultimately prove hard to overcome.

That first intermediate check was safe until Team Sky’s men set a time of 9:02 for the opening nine kilometres, although they couldn’t match Garmin-Cervélo’s second intermediate split, sitting four seconds behind after 18.5km and seven men with which to ride to the finish. They were down to five by the line, the quintet recorded the second best time to that point of 24:52. Close but quite fast enough.

Disaster struck HTC-Highroad early in its ride, with the experienced Austrian Bernhard Eisel coming down in the first corner – the team's misfortune was reflected in a first split of 9:11. Meanwhile, RadioShack also recorded an opening intermediate split of 9:11 but was 10 seconds down on Garmin’s time by the finish – not bad for overall favourites Levi Leipheimer, Andreas Klöden, Janez Brajkovic and Chris Horner – but not good enough for a stage win.

Soon after, and with Mark Cavendish charging down the final 300 metres, HTC-highroad recovered well to take third on the line with a time of 24:53. It would eventually be good enough for fifth, after the arrival of Leopard-Trek and BMC Racing.

The latter of those two squads, boasting green jersey Evans and experienced heads such as George Hincapie and Marcus Burghardt, set the third fastest first intermediate with 9:04, demonstrating that this American squad has come with serious intentions to put Evans into the overall ascendancy during this Tour de France.

Leopard-Trek took third on the line from HTC-Highroad by mere hundredths of a second, with time trial world champion Fabian Cancellara towing his men through the 23km to ensure the Schleck brothers wouldn’t lose too much time overall. It was enough to keep the Luxembourg team in fourth by day’s end and a solid performance, despite missing the stage victory by five seconds.

Soon after Evans, Hincapie & Co almost stole the show with a stunning finale to finish just four seconds behind Garmin-Cervélo. Whilst the team had dodged a bullet with a seemingly awkward middle sector of the course, the final kilometres were ridden strongly and like fellow GC contender Wiggins had done before him, Evans pulled his charges along in stunning fashion.

Nevertheless, nobody could match Garmin-Cervélo’s superiority and for the man who wears the rainbow jersey, tomorrow will be all about another colour – yellow.

Full Results

Swipe to scroll horizontally
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Team Garmin - Cervelo0:24:48
2BMC Racing Team0:00:04
3Sky ProcyclingRow 2 - Cell 2
4Team Leopard-TrekRow 3 - Cell 2
5HTC - Highroad0:00:05
6Team Radioshack0:00:10
7Rabobank Cycling Team0:00:12
8Saxo Bank Sungard0:00:28
9Pro Team Astana0:00:32
10Omega Pharma - Lotto0:00:39
12Team Europcar0:00:50
13AG2R La Mondiale0:00:53
14Quick Step Cycling Team0:00:56
17Lampre - Isd0:01:04
18Katusha TeamRow 17 - Cell 2
19Movistar Team0:01:09
21Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne0:01:20
22Euskaltel - Euskadi0:01:22
Swipe to scroll horizontally
General classification after stage 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Thor Hushovd (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo5:06:25
2David Millar (GBr) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 1 - Cell 2
3Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team0:00:01
4Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling0:00:04
5Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Leopard TrekRow 4 - Cell 2
6Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard TrekRow 5 - Cell 2
7Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Leopard TrekRow 6 - Cell 2
8Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky ProcyclingRow 7 - Cell 2
9Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 8 - Cell 2
10Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard TrekRow 9 - Cell 2
11Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard TrekRow 10 - Cell 2
12Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky ProcyclingRow 11 - Cell 2
13George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 12 - Cell 2
14Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Highroad0:00:05
15Peter Velits (Svk) HTC-HighroadRow 14 - Cell 2
16Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-HighroadRow 15 - Cell 2
17Lars Ytting Bak (Den) HTC-HighroadRow 16 - Cell 2
18Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-HighroadRow 17 - Cell 2
19Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) HTC-HighroadRow 18 - Cell 2
20Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team RadioShack0:00:10
21Christopher Horner (USA) Team RadioShackRow 20 - Cell 2
22Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team RadioShackRow 21 - Cell 2
23Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Team RadioShackRow 22 - Cell 2
24Ben Swift (GBr) Sky Procycling0:00:11
25Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:00:12
26Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Team RadioShack0:00:23
27Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana0:00:32
28Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Pro Team AstanaRow 27 - Cell 2
29Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spa) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 28 - Cell 2
30Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:00:33
31Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:00:39
32Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 31 - Cell 2
33Sebastian Lang (Ger) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 32 - Cell 2
34Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 33 - Cell 2
35André Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 34 - Cell 2
36Gianni Meersman (Bel) FDJ0:00:46
37William Bonnet (Fra) FDJRow 36 - Cell 2
38Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar0:00:50
39Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 38 - Cell 2
40Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 39 - Cell 2
41Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale0:00:53
42Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team0:00:56
43Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 42 - Cell 2
44Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 43 - Cell 2
45Kevin De Weert (Bel) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 44 - Cell 2
46Maciej Paterski (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale0:00:57
47Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 46 - Cell 2
48Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 47 - Cell 2
49Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:01:01
50Jérémie Galland (Fra) Saur - Sojasun0:01:02
51Laurent Mangel (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 50 - Cell 2
52Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD0:01:04
53Grega Bole (Slo) Lampre - ISDRow 52 - Cell 2
54Egor Silin (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 53 - Cell 2
55Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre - ISDRow 54 - Cell 2
56Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 55 - Cell 2
57Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 56 - Cell 2
58Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team0:01:09
59José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 58 - Cell 2
60Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 59 - Cell 2
61Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:01:14
62Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:01:15
63Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Lampre - ISD0:01:17
64Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team0:01:18
65Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky ProcyclingRow 64 - Cell 2
66Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne0:01:20
67Tony Gallopin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En LigneRow 66 - Cell 2
68Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit En LigneRow 67 - Cell 2
69Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 68 - Cell 2
70Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:01:23
71Mark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-Highroad0:01:24
72Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:01:26
73Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 72 - Cell 2
74Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard Trek0:01:35
75Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard0:01:42
76Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha Team0:01:45
77Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:01:49
78Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 77 - Cell 2
79Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Leopard Trek0:01:53
80Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team0:01:55
81Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Team RadioShack0:01:59
82Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Team RadioShackRow 81 - Cell 2
83Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ0:02:00
84Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:02:01
85Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team0:02:06
86Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team0:02:10
87Kristijan Koren (Slo) Liquigas-Cannondale0:02:11
88Nicki Sörensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard0:02:17
89Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank SungardRow 88 - Cell 2
90Yuriy Trofimov (Rus) Katusha Team0:02:18
91Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha Team0:02:20
92Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana0:02:21
93Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:02:23
94Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:02:29
95Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJRow 94 - Cell 2
96Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Team RadioShackRow 95 - Cell 2
97Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:02:31
98Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 97 - Cell 2
99Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne0:02:32