Katusha’s Daniel Moreno won today’s stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné, jumping away from the race favourites in the final metres.
The Spaniard timed his sprint to perfection at the top of the short climb in Saint-Félicien, in an effort reminiscent of his team mate Joaquim Rodriguez.
Race favourites Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) and Bradley Wiggins (Sky) finished in the same time in seventh and ninth places respectively. It had looked for a while as if Evans was going to repeat his late effort of yesterday as a team mate led him up the final climb.
Evans was on the drops, sheltering behind his team mate looking ready to pounce. With Wiggins sitting just outside of the top ten it looked dangerous. But when Evans’ team mate swung over, the attack never came as the Australian sat up.
Instead it was down to Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) to attack. The German is on his way back to form after a nasty crash in the spring that broke his jaw. He doesn’t yet have the form to make an effort like this stick, but it was encouraging all the same.
Moreno was straight on to Martin’s late attack and placed himself perfectly for the late surge to the line. Julien Simon (Saur Sojasun) and Tony Gallopin (RadioShack) finished second and third.
Gaps opened up on the final short climb, and once again Andy Schleck lost time, one minute and 47 seconds by the end. The RadioShack rider is still a long way off Tour form, but more intriguing is the internal power struggle developing in the team between the Schlecks and team manager Johan Bruyneel.
Wiggins’ Sky team mate Chris Froome continues to improve after an early season wrecked by illness. Froome finished in 15th spot, one place ahead of fellow Brit David Millar (Garmin-Barracuda).
Wiggins retains the leader’s yellow jersey by just one second from Cadel Evans. Tomorrow’s 167km stage from Givors to la Clayette should be one for the sprinters with three small classified climbs all coming in the first half of the stage.
Criterium du Dauphine stage two; Lamastre – Saint Félicien, 160km
1. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha in 4-02-38
2. Julien Simon (Fra) Saur Sojasun
3. Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack Nissan Trek
4. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Ag2r La Mondiale
5. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol
6. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Rabobank
7. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing
8. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana
9. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky
10. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Europcar all same time
15. Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky
16. David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Barracuda
General Classification after stage two
1. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky 8-45-42
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing at 1 second
3. Andriy Grivko (Kaz) Astana at 2 seconds
4. Carlos Barredo (Spa) Rabobank at same time
5. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 4 seconds
6. Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank at same time
7. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 5 seconds
8. Jéröme Coppel (Fra) Saur Sojasun at 6 seconds
9. Andrey Amador (CRC) Movistar at same time
10. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky at 7 seconds
12. David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Barracuda at 9 seconds
23. Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky at 15 seconds
Christophe Kern leads an early escape
Race leader Bradley Wiggins
Team Sky on the front on stage two
Daniel Moreno wins
Bradley Wiggins safely retained the overall lead
Critérium du Dauphiné 2012: Latest news
Wiggins on Dauphine: ‘I’ve come here to race’
Wiggins happy with second in Dauphiné prologue
Critérium du Dauphiné 2012: The Big Preview – includes team list, TV guide, recent winners and more
Wiggins back to defend Critérium du Dauphiné title
Critérium du Dauphiné 2012: Stage reports
Critérium du Dauphiné 2012: Photo galleries