Chris Sutton (Team Sky) won the second stage of the 2011 Vuelta a Espana today as a three hundred metre ramp leading to the line denied the sprinters the chance to grab the stage.
Sutton followed an attack by Vicente Reynes (Omega Pharma-Lotto) with five hundred metres to go. The pair stayed away and Sutton jumped past the Spaniard in the final two hundred metres to take the win.
“With two kilometres to go I said to Thomas [Lofkvist] ‘go, go, go’,” he said afterwards. “Then one of the Omega riders attacked and I just jumped on his wheel…I knew every sprinter was going to go too early because it was steep. I waited and waited.”
“We don’t have a great lead-out in this team, but what we do have is strength. The team were great,” he added.
Most of the race’s big sprinters fell victim to the short climb to the finish – three hundred metres at eight percent -, although Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervélo) finished fourth. It was certainly too tough for Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad), and he contributed to his team’s lead-out of John Degenkolb, finishing well down the standings.
The win goes some way to setting things right for the team after their dissapointing showing in the race’s first stage yesterday. Sky finished twentieth of twenty two teams there, forty two seconds behind winners Leopard-Trek.
Sutton’s win also made today a day of double-victory for Sky, as Edvald Boasson Hagen won the Vattenfall Classic in Germany.
However, the stage finish initially brought mixed feeling for Sky, with official results saying that Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) had lost thirteen seconds on the stage. Race officials then reissued the results an hour later with Wiggins credited with the same time as the stage leaders.
Daniele Bennati (Leopard-Trek) moves into the leader’s jersey with the same time as Jakob Fuglslang (Leopard-Trek), the incumbent for today’s stage. He devoted the achievement to Wouter Weylandt, his former team-mate who died following a crash in this year’s Giro d’Italia.
He wanted to devote it to him, Bennati said, because Weylandt was working as his lead-out man in that race.
Earlier in the day Adam Hansen (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Jesus Redondo (Andalucia Caja Granada), Steve Houanard (AG2R-Mondiale) and Paul Martens (Rabobank) formed the early break, with Hansen the last of them to be caught, with twelve kilometres to go.
Vuelta a Espana 2011, stage 2: Benidorm-Playas de Orihuela, 174km
1. Chris Sutton (Aus) Team Sky
2. Vicente Reynes (Spa) Omega Pharm-Lotto
3. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Skil Shimano
4. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Cervelo
5. Matti Breschel (Den) Rabobank
6. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Leopard-Trek
7. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana
8. Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
9. Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha
10. John Degenkolb (Ger) HTC-Highroad all at st
27. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky
68. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky both at st
81. Ian Stannard (GBr) Team SKy both at 13 seconds
156. Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad at 1-01 minutes
Vuelta a Espana 2011: General Classification after stage 2
1. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Leopard-Trek
2. Jakob Fuglslang (Den) Leopard-Trek at st
3. Peter Sagan (Slo) Liquigas
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas
5. Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Leopard-Trek all at 4 seconds
6. John Degenkold (Ger) HTC-Highroad at 9 seconds
7. Maxine Montfort (Bel) Leopard-Trek
8. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Skil Shimano
9. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana
10. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Astana all at 10 seconds
65. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky
88. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky
89. Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky both all at 42 seconds
172. Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad at 3-46 minutes
Chris Sutton timed his move perfectly to take the stage win
Daniele Bennati took the race lead from Leopard-Trek team-mate Jakob Fuglsang
Vuelta a Espana 2011: Related links
Vuelta a Espana 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index
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Vuelta a Espana 2011: previous stages
Stage 1: Leopard-Trek wins opening TTT to put Fuglslang in front
Vuelta a Espana 2011: Teams, riders, start list
Vuelta a Espana 2011: Who’s riding?
Vuelta a Espana 2011 team list