Cofidis sprinter Nacer Bouhanni easily took stage two at the Volta a Catalunya ahead of Gianni Meersman and Philippe Gilbert

Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) won his second consecutive stage at the Volta a Catalunya, taking an easy win in Olot ahead of Gianni Meersman (Etixx-Quick Step).

Racing was sedate on a day that started with a minute’s silence in honour of those caught up in the Brussels terror attacks.

After 173km of very little action, the peloton finally sprung to life with five kilometres to go, with Team Sky beginning the work for Ben Swift in the finale.

Chris Froome sat second wheel in the Sky train to ensure he kept out of trouble in the final kilometres.

Cofidis hit the front under the flamme rouge and never relinquished that position. Lead-out man Geoffrey Soupe led Bouhanni out into the final 400m and a late surge from Meersman couldn’t overcome the Frenchman.

Sky’s lead-out in the end did not work for Swift, with the Brit finishing outside the top 10 on a stage ideally suited to him.

Volta a Catalunya stage two, Mataro – Olot (178.7km)
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, 4-39-10
2. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx-Quick Step, st
3. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC, st
4. Aleksei Tcatevich (Rus) Katusha, st
5. Carlos Barbero (Esp) Caja Rural, st
6. Kiel Reijnen (USA) Trek-Segafredo, st
7. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Wanty Groupe-Gobert, st
8. Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) IAM Cycling, st
9. Pawel Franczak (Pol) Verva Activejet, st
10. Kevin Reza (Fra) FDJ, st

Overall standings after stage two
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, 9-07-41
2. Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky, at 14s
3. Thomas de Gendt (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, st
4. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge, at 16s
5. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC, st
6. Maxime Bouet (Bel) Etixx-Quick Step, st
7. Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, at 17s
8. Javier Moreno (Esp) Movistar, at 18s
9. Ruben Fernandez (Esp) Movistar, at 19s
10. Aleksei Tcatevich (Rus) Katusha, at 20s

  • Ciaran Carroll

    Mario Cipollini started 26 Grand Tours with 20 DNFs. It’s common enough for sprinters to leave on mountain stages. Even Carlton Kirby said he reckons Bouhanni had gone home “because it was a bit too hilly”. Just read the first paragraph on this piece attached.

  • Ciaran Carroll

    Haha haha so you’re telling me Mario Cipollini just happened to ALWAYS get sick coming into mountain stages? Maybe he’s allergic to climbing? Even Carlton Kirby said he thought Nacer left “because it’s just too hilly”. Sprinters going home before the mountain stages happens quite often, they’re there for stage wins not the overall. Bouhanni got his wins, he got what he wanted. Then all he has to do is tell his team doctor he’s sick, the doctor writes up a note and he’s excused from the race with “illness”. In Mario Cipollini’s Career he started 26 Grand Tours and only ever finished 6.

  • llos25

    Just for the record he started the third stage and raced for over an hour before he pulled up with a bad stomach which had started during stage 2..

  • llos25

    Rubbish he could not leave if his team managers said no you really want to grow up and believe what they say he was ill.

  • Ciaran Carroll

    What are you talking about? Bouhanni was wearing the leaders Jersey and just left because it was a mountain stage he needs to harden up

  • llos25

    Shows what you know.

  • Ciaran Carroll

    Bouhanni didn’t even start stage 3 while wearing the leaders jersey. I know he’s not a climber but I think it’s disrespectful towards the race, a leaders Jersey should be defended till the end, if I were the Cofidis team boss I’d tell Nacer there’s no way he’s going home “with a cold”. Some sprinters don’t have enough respect towards stage races. If I were a race organiser, Nacer would be leaving Catalunya with 0 stage wins because he didn’t even make an effort to start the day. Nacer claims to be a hard man, a hard man would do everything in his power to defend a leaders jersey even if they know they don’t have a chance at the overall. HTFU Bouhanni.

  • Brendan Power

    “Sky’s lead-out in the end did not work for Swift ……” Watching on TV it didn’t look as though there was a Sky lead out. Swift must be very disappointed, but not by his own performance.

  • llos25

    He may have won but I would hardly call it a canter .