Phinney retains lead in Tour de l'Avenir

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Britain's Alex Dowsett has safely retained his second place overall after the opening road stage in the Tour de l'Avenir in France.

Monday's 144km stage one from Vierzon to Saint-Amand-Montrond ended up in a bunch sprint won by German John Degenkolb. American race leader Taylor Phinney had gone for the sprint but his shoe slipped out of the pedal with 300 metres to the line. He still had enough momentum to take fifth place.

Dowsett came home in ninth place on the stage and is six seconds adrift of Phinney in the overall classification. Phinney won Sunday's prologue time trial.

Phinney and Dowsett were formerly team-mates on the US-based Trek-Livestrong squad.

The eight-day Tour de l'Avenir is open to under-23 riders and runs from Sunday, September 5, to Sunday, September 12. Past winners include Greg Lemond (1982), Olaf Ludwig (1983), Charly Mottet (1984), Denis Menchov (2001), Sylvain Calzati (2004) and Lars Bak (2005).

Tour de l'Avenir 2010: Related links

Prologue: Phinney pips Dowsett in Tour de l'Avenir prologue

British fields strong Tour de l'Avenir squad

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