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92nd Tour de France - GT

France, July 2-24, 2005

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Stage 2 - Sunday, July 3: Challans - Les Essarts, 181.5 km

Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Tim Maloney and Anthony Tan

Complete live report

Live coverage starts: 13:07 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:15 CEST

12:52 CEST   
Welcome to sunny Challans for our live coverage of the second stage of the Tour de France. Today's leg is 181.5 km, with the first half heading south east along the coastline before turning north for the last 80 km and finishing in Essarts. There is one Cat. 4 climb en route at the Côte du lac de la Vouraie with 16.5 km to go, and there are three intermediate sprints at Orouet (km 17.5), Talmont-Saint-Hilaire (km 69.5), and Château-Guibert (km 150). They should spice up the green jersey competition a bit, as the yellow is essentially out of reach of most the sprinters after yesterday's 19 km time trial, where Dave Zabriskie and Lance Armstrong put major time into the rest of the field with incredible rides.

Zabriskie will wear the yellow jersey today, and his CSC team should ride to defend it as it would give them an advantage in Tuesday's team time trial to start last. Armstrong, only 2 seconds behind Zabriskie, could even make that up in a time bonus sprint, but Discovery Channel will probably choose to follow the CSC train and conserve its men.

The sprinters teams, particularly Davitamon-Lotto, Quick.Step, and Francaise des Jeux should ride for a bunch sprint today, and not let any breaks get too far. That's the plan, anyway.

The weather is very nice today: it's sunny and humid, with temperatures between 25-28 degrees, and a little bit of wind. There were good crowds at the start, and Zabriskie was completely hounded by the press.

12:56 CEST   
Today's stage started at 12:35pm with a lengthy neutral section out of Challans, but race director Jean-Marie Leblanc will only drop the flag for the official start at 13:07(ish). Then there will be attacks.

13:10 CEST   
Besides Zabriskie in yellow today, we will see Lance Armstrong in the green points jersey (even though Zabriskie actually leads that competition) and Swiss Fabian Cancellara (Fassa Bortolo) in the white jersey of Best Young Rider. Cyclingnews spoke to Cancellara this morning and asked him about his ride yesterday, where he finished seventh at 1'02 behind Zabriskie:

"I was a little disappointed that I didn't do better yesterday," said Cance. "I really wanted to win. But you know, I'm OK with the white jersey for now. This is the Tour so I'm going on the attack. I'm not that far out of the lead. That's my plan, to do what I can do get into yellow."

Cancellara has the freedom this year to do so, because he doesn't have team sprinter Alessandro Petacchi to work for.

13:15 CEST    9km/172.5km to go
The stage started a little earlier than scheduled at 13:01 CEST. So far, there have been no early attacks as the peloton heads along the coast.

13:26 CEST    13km/168.5km to go
The attacks are raining hard now, with Sylvain Calzati (Ag2r) the first to make a move at 9 km. That was the signal for war, and several groups have tried to get clear from the CSC-led peloton. Rabobank has been particularly active, as they don't really have a sprinter or a top GC rider.

13:32 CEST   
OK there is Menchov for Rabobank :-) He was 46th yesterday at 1'55.

13:38 CEST    27km/154.5km to go
Joost Posthuma has led a group of 14 riders off the front of the peloton, shortly before the first sprint at Orouet. But the group has come back, leaving just four riders with 15 seconds lead: David Canada (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Laszlo Bodrogi (Credit Agricole), Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom), and Sylvain Calzati (Ag2r-Prevoyance).

There has been a crash in the peloton, but everyone is back on their bikes.

13:43 CEST    30km/151.5km to go
The leading four have now extended their advantage to 1'30 over the peloton, putting Laszlo Bodrogi in the virtual maillot jaune (the space above riders' mantelpieces is full of these). Bodrogi started the day in fifth, 0'59 behind Zabriskie.

13:44 CEST   
Results of the first sprint: 1. Robert Hunter (Phonak, 6pts), 2. Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner, 4pts), 3. Philippe Gilbert (Francaise des Jeux, 2pts).

13:56 CEST    36km/145.5km to go
The four leaders have now extended their advantage up to 2'05, and CSC will happily let them sit out there, even with Bodrogi in the break.

13:59 CEST   
The best placed sprinter after yesterday's stage is South African Robert Hunter (Phonak), who is sitting in 23rd at 1'30. Cyclingnews caught up with him this morning in Challans to ask about his prospects today.

Do you think you'll get any help from your team in the sprint? "No, I don't think anyone from our team is concentrating on helping me in the finale," he replied. "I think I'll do my own thing today, and that's fine. I'll just follow one of the guys from one of the other teams. That's not a problem at all."

Hunter admitted that yesterday was hard: "Yeah it was a lot longer than normal, but right now I'm the best placed sprinter."

How has your training been lately? "Leading up to the race, I've been feeling good and riding well. Now there's nothing more you can do."

14:03 CEST    44km/137.5km to go
The other riders in the break: Voeckler, Cañada, and Calzati, are not big threats to Zabriskie's jersey, as they are all at least 2'48 down on GC. Voeckler will be a popular lad though for getting into the first move of significance.

14:06 CEST    49.5km/132km to go
the leaders are working pretty hard as they near the 50 km mark, averaging around 46-47 km/h, but this has been helped by a light tailwind. The gap is up to 2'50 now.

The Saunier Duval jerseys have a bit more white on them than normal, in order to distinguish them from the maillot jaune.

14:11 CEST    52.5km/129km to go
It's a hot day, and plenty of riders are going back to the team cars for bidons in the peloton. CSC is riding at the front, setting a pretty decent tempo. Zabriskie looks very good in yellow. The gap is now 3'40.

"We're all here for each other," Zabriskie said at the start today. "Again, our number one goal is to help Ivan [Basso]. I will still help Ivan and the [maillot jaune] doesn't change anything."

How long can you keep the yellow for? "I have no idea. The first week of the Tour is always dangerous with a lot of crashes." You haven't always been the best in crashes: "I've been progressing with that and working on it a lot. We'll see how it goes." So how do you work on it? "Race more."

Stage wins in all three grand tours in one year, what does it mean? "It's a good, good feeling. It's quite an accomplishment as a person and a bike racer and it makes me feel good. [The folks back home] were extremely excited. They can't believe it either."

14:17 CEST    56.5km/125km to go
The gap is stable now at 3'35 with the four leaders being cheered on by huge crowds standing in the sun.

Luke Roberts is towing the peloton for CSC, with Jens Voigt on his wheel. Zabriskie is in about 6th wheel, and Lance Armstrong (in the green jersey) is back in 10th.

Luke Roberts told Cyclingnews that last night, they celebrated with a glass of champagne each and a scoop of ice cream. "Anyone who had a scoop of ice cream had to sit on the front all day. Because I was going to have to do it anyway I thought I may as well have the ice cream," grinned Roberts.

14:22 CEST    60.5km/121km to go
Jan Ullrich gets towed up towards the front by a teammate. He is up there with Vinokourov.

Dutch champion Leon van Bon (Davitamon-Lotto) is trying to get back onto the peloton on the narrow roads, passing team cars with not much spare room.

Robbie McEwen is towards the back of the bunch, but he doesn't have to worry about being well placed just yet. "I feel good," he told Cyclingnews at the start. "What matters is at a quarter past five this afternoon. Everything else before that doesn't really count."

What's the strategy? "Keep it together and then after that, be able to change your strategy at any given moment, because those first intermediate sprints are always really hectic.

"There's also the nerves of the GC guys, although some of those guys have lost time. So just relax, sit back and enjoy the ride for the first few days and wait for the sprints."

14:24 CEST    61.5km/120km to go
McEwen is now back with the team car, having a chat to Mr Frison. He has Wim Vansevenant with him for protection. He pulls over and gets a bike change. Didn't look like a flat.

14:26 CEST    66.5km/115km to go
McEwen is now up to speed again, looking for cars to shelter behind as he makes his way back through the caravan.

CSC has pegged the four leaders at 3'40. Bodrogi is still the virtual maillot jaune, but many things can happen in 115 km.

14:28 CEST    67.5km/114km to go
McEwen now has three teammates bringing him back to the peloton, looking fairly comfortable. He's there now.

14:29 CEST    69.5km/112km to go
David Canada gets some attention to his back number, which is coming off. He gets the good ol' safety pins to fasten it on.

Bodrogi takes the sprint Talmont-Saint-Hilaire in ahead of Voeckler and Calzati.

14:31 CEST   
The pre-race medical check-up that each of the 189 riders went through before the 2005 Tour de France got underway on Saturday revealed some interesting factual tidbits about this year's peloton...

* At 35 beats per minute (BPM), Chris Horner (Saunier Duval) and Laurent Lefevre (Bouygues Telecom) both have the lowest resting heart rates.
* And at 7.66 litres, two riders also have the largest lung capacity: Christophe Moreau (Credit Agricole) and Mikel Astarloza (Ag2r-Prevoyance).
* The heaviest rider? No prizes for guessing here: it's big Maggie Bäckstedt from Liquigas-Bianchi - all 95 kilos of him!
* The lightest? This one's a little trickier: it's Horner's team-mate, Leonardo Piepoli, weighing in at a featherweight 57 kilograms.
* The tallest? The long and lanky Johan Van Summeren, who falls just two centimetres shy of the two-metre mark.
* The shortest? I am Sam, Ag2r-Prevoyance's Samuel Dumoulin.
* The average rider: 1.79 metres tall, weighing 71 kilograms, with a resting heart rate of 50 BPM and a lung capacity of 5.69 litres. The average rider, but by no means average figures!

14:41 CEST    79.5km/102km to go
Michael Boogerd drops back to the rear of the peloton to look for his team car. The race situation has been stable for a while, with David Canada (Saunier Duval-Prodir), Laszlo Bodrogi (Credit Agricole), Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom), and Sylvain Calzati (Ag2r-Prevoyance) riding 4'04 ahead of the peloton, which is being led by CSC. Armstrong and Discovery, and Ullrich/Vinokourov and T-Mobile are the other teams near the front.

McEwen is in last wheel now.

14:45 CEST    81.5km/100km to go
The peloton rides through Saint-Vincent-Sur-Jard, with the usual huge crowds cheering it on. The Tour is an amazing event in this regard, and it seems like most of the towns' populations come out to watch it go by on the day.

The gap is up to 4'10, gradually growing.

14:48 CEST    83.5km/98km to go
There's a bit of an incident at the back of the peloton as Kirsipuu and one of the Euskaltel riders comes down - Iker Camano. The latter requires a new bike, and it takes some time. He gets the front wheel from his old bike and puts it in the new one, and is now under way, a minute lost.

14:49 CEST   
Camano is now up to speed, chasing behind the Quick.Step car. But not for long, as it speeds up the road back to the peloton.

14:51 CEST    85.5km/96km to go
Camano now gets some work on his brakes from the Euskaltel car - at about 60 km/h. The brakes seem to work and he's a lot closer to the peloton now.

14:56 CEST    90.5km/91km to go
Camano has returned to the peloton after his crash and bike change. The four leaders are at halfway now, with 4 minutes plus.

15:01 CEST    92.5km/89km to go
Zabriskie is now doing a turn himself, but it's more just to get in position for the feed zone. He finds his soigneur and grabs a musette. It's organised chaos, but everyone seems to get their feed bags OK.

15:04 CEST   
The average speed after two hours is 47.5 km/h. That's quick, but the wind is behind them. But in the final 80 km, it will be against.

Jan Ullrich is now on the front, unpacking his lunch. His T-Mobile teammates are all up there too.

Servais Knaven (Quick.Step) moves up to keep the speed going. He's interested in Tom Boonen's chances today. But Boonen hasn't been the best, as his DS Wilfried Peeters told Sporza: "Tom had a toothache yesterday morning. The dentist has cleared two teeth of an infection, without sedating the area, and has prescribe a five day course of antibiotics. The pain and pressure is gone now, so it shouldn't give any problems any more. He went to the start this morning very motivated. He knew yesterday that he wasn't going for the win in the TT, but he did a good ride anyway. We'll see what happens today.

"Four minutes is not too much of a time gap. The finish today is a bit dodgy, but not as dangerous as what people said. Every day we start with good motivation and if it doesn't work today, it will tomorrow. We don't let ourselves get nervous by the press."

15:07 CEST    99.5km/82km to go
After the feed zone, the gap is still 4'15 as the pace increases again. Knaven is responsible for the pace setting now, and he has another Quick.Step rider in tow, looks like Cretskens. This will take the pressure off CSC, but that's normal in a stage like this. The yellow jersey's team controls the first part of the stage, then the sprinters teams take over later. We should see Francaise des Jeux and Lotto help out too.

15:08 CEST   
In front, Thomas Voeckler is enjoying a good day in the break. His Bouygues Telecom team is based in the Vendee region, so obviously today they wanted to be in the break.

15:13 CEST    105.5km/76km to go
The peloton starts to leave the coastline now, heading inland. It will then turn to the left (north) for the final part of the stage. They're on the small roads, fairly typical of the coastal hinterland.

15:17 CEST    108.5km/73km to go
Aha, is if on cue, Francaise des Jeux and Davitamon-Lotto have come to the front to help Quick.Step chase. Cretskens, Hulsmans, Knaven (Quick.Step), Van Summeren, Brandt (Davitamon-Lotto) are all up there.

15:18 CEST   
The gap falls below 4 minutes now as the sprinters teams take up the cudgels.

15:20 CEST    111.5km/70km to go
The peloton makes the left turn through Saint-Michel-en-l'Herm and is on its way inland. Sandy Casar is up there for FDJ along with the Lotto/Quick.Step push.

15:24 CEST    113.5km/68km to go
Hungarian Laszlo Bodrogi (CA) is still the virtual maillot jaune by a good 2'50, as he rolls through for another turn in the breakaway. There are three French teams and one Spanish team in the break, which doesn't really have much of a chance today.

15:27 CEST    116.5km/65km to go
The leaders are now fighting a bit of a headwind, and that's going to hurt them after 100 km of 45-50 km/h. The peloton has three teams working in front, bringing the gap down to 3'23.

15:31 CEST    118.5km/63km to go
the leaders ride through the quiet town of Traize with 63 km to go, past the low stone buildings. Well it would be quiet if it wasn't for Le Tour coming through.

Rabobank has massed at the back of the peloton. Up front, CSC is still providing some assistance to FDJ, Davitamon and Quick.Step.

15:33 CEST    121.5km/60km to go
Voeckler does a turn and drops back, fighting to regain contact with the back of the break. He does, and gets relief for about 40 seconds as the others do their turns. It's down to 3'15.

15:36 CEST    123.5km/58km to go
The GC riders are looking a little nervous now, with Vinokourov and Ivan Basso moving to the front of the peloton. Vino is a little isolated, surprisingly. No T-Mobiles up there to help him.

15:40 CEST   
Cyclingnews spoke with Australian Matt White (Cofidis) this morning, who has finally ridden a stage of the Tour de France after his last minute DNS due to a crash in 2004. "Yeah it's just a relief to get the ball rolling," he said. "The real race starts today. It's a bit different in the bunch. But I didn't come here to finish, I came here to do something. I've been racing for a long time and sure, it's the only event I haven't done. But I'm not a neo-pro."

Was Zabriskie's win yesterday a surprise? "No, not a surprise to me. But I don't think many people, including Dave, would have thought he'd beat Armstrong. He had a bit of help from the wind, but that's smart planning to put him off early."

How have you pulled up after the Giro d'Italia. "I've done seven grand tours and five weeks is plenty of time to recover. I haven't done anything on the motorbike but mate, it's a three week tour, and after the team time trial I think I'll be doing nicely."

15:41 CEST    127.5km/54km to go
Brad McGee adjusts his jersey and makes his way back through the peloton. He didn't quite perform as he would have liked yesterday, finishing in the top 20 rather than the top 3.

15:42 CEST   
The break rides through Lucon, accompanied by plenty of cheers from plenty of folks. There's a nice Notre Dame cathedral here, circa 1317 - every town needs one of these.

15:45 CEST   
The gap comes down to 2'55 as the bunch rides through Lucon, CSC still lending a hand in the chase.

15:47 CEST    131.5km/50km to go
50 km to go as the break hits the wide open fields again, trying to maintain its 2'50 lead over the peloton. The chase is not really intense yet, but it's having an effect.

15:50 CEST    134.5km/47km to go
Vansevenant and Zampieri are now at the rear of the peloton, collecting bidons for their teammates. Vansevenant gives one to Leon van Bon, who is also lurking back here.

Bodrogi gets one from the team car, as well as a motivational talk from his DS.

15:56 CEST    139.5km/42km to go
The break continues to lose time to the four teams chasing it, and is now just 2'12 ahead, down from a maximum of 4'30. They pass crowds of people, many who are out having their picnics.

15:59 CEST    141.5km/40km to go
The roads are quite narrow and there is a crash, with Gonchar, Bessy, Tombak all coming down. It's not serious, and all are back on their bikes. A Fassa rider is further back - he's having problems with his bike.

Tombak is now chasing on his own.

16:00 CEST   
Tombak finds a teammate, Bessy, and the pair work together. Not much of a caravan here, so they'll have to do most of it themselves.

16:01 CEST    142.5km/39km to go
Tombak and Bessy are about 20 seconds off the back of the peloton, and have found a few cars to help them. That should be enough to get back. Yes, they're in the caravan now.

16:03 CEST    144.5km/37km to go
The gap is now under 2'00 as the break passes through Mareuil-Sur-Lay-Dissais. Bodrogi's time in the virtual maillot jaune is limited.

Bessy and Tombak are back in the bunch. No sign of the Fassa rider though.

16:05 CEST    145.5km/36km to go
The bunch rides past the Saint-Saveur church in Mareuil-sur-lay-Dissais, 1'54 behind the break. It looks like they'll be caught between 15 and 20 km to go. Any bets on Voeckler attacking to be the last man standing?

16:07 CEST    147km/34.5km to go
Cancellara is now in last wheel in the peloton, but is looking for his team car. He likes the white jersey, but wants yellow. It's just out of reach at the moment, as he'll need a good attack to get the 1'02 back on Zabriskie. And the arriere of the peloton is no place to make that attack.

16:09 CEST    148.5km/33km to go
Roberts and Knaven are now in front, continuing to work hard. Mengin is also up there for FDJ.

Lance is chatting to his henchman-in-chief, George Hincapie.

Andreas Klöden was also caught up in that fall earlier, but is back in the bunch.

16:11 CEST    150.5km/31km to go
The four leaders are approaching the last sprint of the day at Chateau-Guibert. Bodrogi should take it, as he's the best placed on GC. He moves towards the front.

16:13 CEST   
The break speeds past crowds of green-hand waving people, and it is indeed Laszlo Bodrogi who crosses the line first to take the 6 points/6 seconds. Calzati and Canada are second and third.

16:15 CEST    151.5km/30km to go
The peloton passes the sprint line in Chateau Guibert some 1'30 behind the leaders. The break starts to work a bit harder now.

16:18 CEST   
According to CSC's Bobby Julich, his teammate David Zabriskie is going to have a great future in cycling. "As far as I can see, Dave's it," he told Team-csc.com. "There's no one else that's impressed me in the European scene. He's the future of American cycling. I'm glad he's on my team and I can show him my experience. I can show him how he can avoid my mistakes. I'm looking forward to racing with him until I'm put out to pasture."

16:21 CEST    156.5km/25km to go
25 clicks to go and this four man break with Bodrogi, Calzati, Cañada, and Voeckler is fighting for survival, just a bit over a minute ahead of the peloton. They've been out there for a good 140 km now.

16:25 CEST    159.5km/22km to go
Bodrogi, arms straight, on the drops, is almost out of the virtual maillot jaune. He started the day with a 59 second deficit to Dave Zabriskie, and even though he's picked up 12 bonus seconds en route, his lead on the road is exactly a minute. Once it gets to 47 seconds, he's out of the virtual yellow.

It's still FDJ, Quick.Step, Davitamon, and CSC chasing. That's a fairly strong force.

16:26 CEST    160.5km/21km to go
The leaders ride through Bournezeau with really massive crowds cheering them on, but have only 39 seconds of their once 4'30 lead.

16:27 CEST    161.5km/20km to go
There is a Cat. 4 climb today: Côte du lac de la Vouraie with 16.5 km to go. The break will want to stay away until then!

16:29 CEST    162.5km/19km to go
The leaders start to climb a bit as the peloton goes under 20 km to go, working at a solid tempo. 26 seconds is the gap and the break doesn't look like surviving until the climb.

16:31 CEST    163.5km/18km to go
Does any one of these four have the legs to attack for the mountain points? Yes. Calzati accelerates, but the others are right on him, painfully. Calzati keeps working. They take a short descent and then will start the climb.

16:31 CEST   
Voeckler rides in front, looks back and sees the peloton still sufficiently far back. 1 km of climbing, then someone will get the mountains jersey for tomorrow.

16:33 CEST    165km/16.5km to go
Canada sits back and then accelerates hard, but Calzati reacts with Voeckler on his wheel. Canada stays clear then Voeckler goes after him. The Frenchman catches him before the top and goes for the points. He gets them, and the mountains jersey. Canada second.

16:34 CEST   
The peloton crosses the summit of the climb led by Mengin, 45 seconds back.

16:34 CEST   
Calzati was third on the climb.

Bodrogi is now caught by the bunch.

16:36 CEST    167.5km/14km to go
The three remaining leaders, Calzati, Voeckler, and Canada, are back together again with a 30 second lead over the peloton.

Cofidis is now helping the chase.

16:37 CEST    168.5km/13km to go
The leaders have done well to stay away up until this point, given the strength of the chase behind. But their lead is not quite enough.

FDJ, Cofidis, Davitamon, Quick.Step are all working. Vinokourov is still up there, always alone.

16:39 CEST    169.5km/12km to go
12 km to go and Calzati, Cañada and Voeckler are working hard, half a minute ahead of the peloton. It's a warm, sunny afternoon and it's been a tough day in the saddle. The sprinters' teams have a bit of work to do yet.

16:40 CEST    170.5km/11km to go
25 seconds and the leaders are losing ground, slowly. Francaise des Jeux is doing much of the chasing work. Zabriskie is still well placed in the top 20. There are a lot of corners in the finale.

16:41 CEST    171.5km/10km to go
A race director's car and the Mavic neutral service drive past the break at 10 km to go, with the bunch just 20 seconds behind. That's a big ask.

16:43 CEST    173km/8.5km to go
Rabobank is going on the attack now with Kroon and Dekker attacking. Dekker is off the front but has Da Cruz (FDJ) in tow, who won't work. Interesting tactic.

Quick.Step is leading the peloton behind the pair.

16:44 CEST    173.5km/8km to go
Dekker and Da Cruz are dangling in front of the peloton, but aren't going far. However, the break is still a good 20 seconds up the road.

16:44 CEST    174.5km/7km to go
Dekker drops back but Da Cruz stays at the front of the peloton to help work.

In front, Canada drives the break hard, with Voeckler and Calzati on his wheel. The road twists and turns a lot here, making it hard for the peloton to chase.

16:45 CEST    175km/6.5km to go
Tankink does a big turn in the bunch and pegs the leaders to 10 seconds. Ullrich is well up there.

Matt White (Cofidis) and most of the Quick.Step boys move up.

16:46 CEST    175.5km/6km to go
It's over for the break with 6 km to go. A bit of a handshake, and they're back in the peloton. Now Discovery Channel takes over in front.

16:47 CEST    176.5km/5km to go
Discovery is well up there, turning over with FDJ, Quick.Step, Ag2r, and Cofidis. Davitamon isn't there yet.

16:48 CEST   
Calzati is the most aggressive rider today.

An attack - it's Walter Beneteau from Bouygues Telecom.

16:48 CEST    177.5km/4km to go
Beneteau gets about 100 metres, but will have a hard time holding off the bunch. All good publicity for his sponsor.

16:49 CEST    178km/3.5km to go
Beneteau gives it full gas as the FDJ train starts to form behind. Beneteau expires (figuratively) and goes towards the back of the bunch.

16:50 CEST    178.5km/3km to go
Da Cruz does a big turn for Francaise des Jeux as the Davitamon train brings up McEwen. It's still the white jerseys of FDJ controlling. Now Gilbert in front.

16:51 CEST    179.2km/2.3km to go
Boonen moves up as Zaballa attacks for Saunier Durval with 2.5 km to go. Interesting move. He keeps looking back.

16:51 CEST    179.5km/2km to go
The Liquigas boys for Pagliarini come up and challenge FDJ, as Zaballa blows up.

16:52 CEST    180.5km/1km to go
It's now Liquigas with 2 km to go, then FDJ for Eisel and Cooke. Quick.Step moves Boonen up. McEwen is back a bit.

16:52 CEST   
Vansevenant leads with 1 km to go but it's Liquigas and FDJ taking over. Now Bäckstedt hammers with 800m, then Trenti leads for Quick.Step. Kirsipuu is right there. McEWen starts to move up on the right...

16:53 CEST    181.5km/0km to go
It's McEwen versus Boonen and Boonen gets it!!!! Hushovd came up at the last moment for second.

16:56 CEST   
Boonen wins by over a bike length from Hushovd, Boonen, O'Grady, and Pagliarini in the first bunch sprint of this year's Tour. Excellent sprint by the Belgian with a toothache.

Zabriskie keeps the yellow, no changes to the GC except that Bodrogi is now up to third overall at 47 seconds.

17:01 CEST   
There was a crash in the final kilometre involving an Ag2r rider, who seemed to flip over but ended up on his feet, so that's OK.

In the other classifications, Cancellara should keep the white jersey, Boonen will get the points, and Voeckler the mountains. CSC will be leading the teams classification.

That's all from us from stage 2 - check back a bit later for our full results, report, photos, news, interviews, and more...


1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick.Step                                   3.51.31
2 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Credit Agricole                           
3 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto                     
4 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone     
5 Luciano Pagliarini (Bra) Liquigas-Bianchi               
6 Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Fassa Bortolo                   
7 Peter Wrolich (Aut) Gerolsteiner              
8 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                    
9 Baden Cooke (Aus) Française Des Jeux                    
10 Allan Davis (Aus) Liberty Seguros-Würth                 

General classification after stage 2

1 David Zabriskie (USA) Team CSC                                4.12.22
2 Lance Armstrong (USA) Discovery Channel                          0.02
3 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) Credit Agricole                             0.47
4 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) T-Mobile Team                         0.53
5 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel                          0.57
6 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak Hearing Systems                        1.02
7 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Fassa Bortolo                                
8 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC                                        1.04
9 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne            1.05
10 Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth           1.06

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