Race leader Tyler Farrar made it two ENECO Tour of Benelux stages in a row this afternoon, winning the bunch sprint into Brussels ahead of Yauheni Hutarovich (Francaise des Jeux) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Columbia-HTC).
This win – his third in five days – continues the American’s rich recent vein of form, and cements his status as the man to beat in the bunch sprints at the upcoming Vuelta a Espana.
The race’s second stage was run deep in Tour of Flanders territory, including well-known climbs from the Classic such as Berendries, the Oude Kwaremont, the Bosberg and the Muur de Geraardsbergen.
The climbs caused a few splits and several crashes. Andreas Kloden was a big-name casualty on the Flemish roads, hitting the deck and abandoning the race. His participation in next week’s Vuelta now hangs in the balance.
Nine kilometres from the finish, Rabobank man Nick Nuyens attacked breakaway companions Hoj, Hagen, Posthuma and Tjallingii and tried to solo to victory. He was only reeled in 500 metres from the line.
On the straight, slightly-uphill finish, Farrar led from a long way out on the left flank, but no rider could overhaul him – the story of his superb last week.
Garnering ten bonus seconds for his victory, the Garmin rider has also increased his lead over Edvald Boasson Hagen in the general classification.
Matt White was full of praise for Farrar: “Tyler has shown this year that he is the second fastest man in the world. He has gone head to head all year with Cav and so far played second fiddle.”
“I expect more wins to come in the next few weeks. In the future, I also see a great rivalry between Tyler and Cav – both young stars with polar opposite personalities.”
Meanwhile, team-mate Bradley Wiggins finished comfortably with the bunch to maintain his fifth-place position overall.
ENECO Tour stage two: Ardooie – Brussel, 178.1km
1. Tyler Farrar (Usa) Garmin-Slipstream 4-23-53
2. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Francaise des Jeux
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Columbia-HTC
4. Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quick Step
5. Tom Veelers (Ned) Skil-Shimano
6. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre-N.G.C
7. Baden Cooke (Aus) Vacansoleil CT
8. Alexandre Usov (Blr) Cofidis
9. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
10. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step
Overall standings after stage two
1. Tyler Farrar (Usa) Garmin-Slipstream 8-41-09
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Columbia-HTC at 13secs
3. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step at 14secs
4. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step at 19sec
5. Bradley Wiggins (Gbr) Garmin-Slipstream at 21sec
6. Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank at same time
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas at 23sec
8. Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Rabobank at same time
9. Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank at 24sec
10. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator at same time
2009 ENECO Tour reports
Chavanel wins ENECO Tour prologue
ENECO Tour race website