Barring accident, injury or divine intervention, German Jens Voigt will end this afternoon as winner of the Criterium International for a fourth time.
Rather than play a waiting game, Voigt took off early on the short, hill-infested second stage of the race on Sunday morning, with three other breakaways. For all Caisse D?Epargne tried to limit the gap, not even a demonstration which held up the race for 40 minutes could stop the four-man move from going clear.
The CSC rider and Credit Agricole?s Simon Gerrans then opened up a gap on the most complicated climb of the stage, the Mont-Malgre Tout before tackling the last ascent, the Cote de la Roche aux 7 villages.
Gerrans dropped Voigt in the last 300 metres for the stage win, but Voigt was still 90 seconds ahead of his closest gc rivals at the line. Britain?s David Millar (Slipstream) was amongst his victims, finishing over six minutes back. With just an 8.3 kilometre time trial left to race, the German looks certain to win overall.
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|STAGE 2 RESULTS|
Simon Gerrans (Aus) Credit Agricole 98.5km in 2hr 27min 36sec
2 Jens Voigt (Ger) CSC at 4sec
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse D?Epargne at 1min 39sec
4 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre
5 Jerome Pineau (Fra) Bouygues all same time
80 David Millar (GB) Slipstream at 6min 10 sec
117 Ian Stannard (GB) Landbouwkrediet at 9min 0sec
|OVERALL AFTER STAGE 2|
1 Jens Voigt (Ger) CSC 7hr 17min 53sec
2 Laurens Ten Dam (Hol) Rabobank at 1min 14sec
3 Benoit Vaugrenard (Fra) Francaise des Jeux at 1min 30sec
4 Jerome Pineau (Fra) Bouygues at 1min 36sec
5 Frank Schleck (Lux) CSC same time
31 David Millar (GB) Slipstream at 6min 7sec
117 Ian Stannard (GB) Landbouwkrediet at 21min 27sec