HTC-Highroad's John Degenkolb won the second stage of the 2011 Critérium du
this afternoon on an uphill finish in Lyon.
The 22-year-old German rider took the victory with a well-timed sprint ahead of Frenchman Samuel Dumolin (Cofidis) and Paul Martens (Rabobank).
Finishing in the same 14-man group as the winner, Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) slightly extended his overall lead in the race. Britain's Bradley Wiggins (Sky) moved ahead of Cadel Evans (BMC) into third place by also making the six second split ahead of the main group.
Yesterday's stage winner Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Omega Pharma-Lotto) remains in second place, despite crashing in the final three kilometres. Despite actually limping in half a minute back, he was awarded the same time as the main group.
The finish hill was a dramatic finale to a fraught last 20km.
With the early break - comprising Brice Feillu (Leopard Trek), Jurgen Van De Walle (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Martin Tjallingii (Rabobank) - still up the road, crosswinds had forced a split in the bunch leaving Evans, Wiggins and Sky stage hopeful Edvald Boasson Hagen chasing behind. The Norwegian eventually came in over four and a half minutes down.
It was only with 7km to go that the bunch came back together again, although Boasson Hagen was still out the back having apparently suffered a mechanical problem.
Onto the finishing climb with 1.5km to go, French champion Thomas Voeckler (a specialist on these kind of finishes) launched a promising attack.
He remained in front until the last corner where Dumolin swept him up. Meanwhile Degenkolb was making a deftly-executed surge down the inside line. Maintaining his momentum out of the corner, the first-year pro powered ahead for his first Worldtour race victory.
Tomorrow (Wednesday), the riders tackle a 42.5km individual time trial that has extra gravitas as it follows the route of the penultimate, time trial stage of the 2011 Tour de France.
Critérium du Dauphiné 2011, stage two: Voiron to Lyon, 179km
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) HTC-Highroad 4:02:39
2. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis
3. Sebastien Hinault (Fra) Ag2r
4. Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank
5. Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha
6. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Europcar
7. Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
8. Grega Bole (Slo) Lampre-ISD
9. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2r
10.Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Leopard-Trek all same time
13. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at same time
60. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 6 secs
114. Daniel Lloyd (GB) Garmin-Cervelo at 1-10
130. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky at 4-31
Overall classification after stage one2.
1. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana
2. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharm-Lotto at 11 secs
3. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at same time
4. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing at 13 secs
5. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2r at 17 secs
6. Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 23 secs
7. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Radioshack at 26 secs
8. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Europcar at 27 secs
9. Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil at 29secs
10. Rui Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar at 34 secs
20. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 1-11
90. Daniel Lloyd (GB) Garmin-Cervelo at 4-37
Brice Feillu heads the three-man escape group
British national champ Geraint Thomas has a snack
John Degenkolb wins stage two
Alexandre Vinokourov maintains overall lead
Critérium du Dauphiné 2011: Related links
Stage one: Van Den Broeck wins Dauphine stage as Vinokourov takes lead
Critérium du Dauphiné 2011: Cycling Weekly's coverage index