Video: Tour de France 2011, stage two highlights>>
Tour de France 2011 stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson>>
Thor Hushovd pulled on the second yellow jersey of this year's Tour de France after his Garmin Cervelo team won the team time trial in Les Essarts.
There was just seconds in it, as the top five teams finished within five seconds of each other. But seconds were all Hushovd needed to take the second yellow jersey of his career. Just three behind leader Philippe Gilbert after the opening stage. Overtaking the Belgian was never the challenge, it was making sure they beat BMC, Sky and HTC-Highroad.
Garmin did so, but only just. Time gaps were never going to be huge, but Jonathan Vaughters' team eventually won by four seconds from BMC and Sky. HTC-Highroad were another second behind and were left wondering what might have been.
Bernhard Eisel, Mark Cavendish's right-hand man and so often their captain on the road, crashed on the first corner and the team didn't wait for him. Eisel was straight back on his bike, and had the team waited he may have helped them to a better time.
HTC were nine seconds down at the first time check and fourteen at the second. Somehow they made up nine seconds in the last seven kilometres, and that charge for the line might have netted them a win had Eisel been with them.
HTC were never going to win the stage after that start, but like the others, they were protecting the overall aspirations of their leader, Tony Martin, and did a good job.
The teams of the other contenders also did a good job of protecting their leaders. BMC and Sky lost just four seconds, Leopard-Trek lost five seconds and RadioShack ten. Once again it was Alberto Contador that was the biggest loser.
Saxo Bank finished in eighth place, at 28 seconds. In the first two days he has now lost approximately 1-40 to all his rivals, and will have to go on the attack to get that back, while the rest can defend. The only rider who has fared worse is fellow Spaniard Samuel Sanchez, whose Euskaltel-Euskadi team finished last, 1-22 behind Garmin.
Brits at the top
Although the time gaps are still small, there are now three Brisith riders in the top 12. David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo) is in second place, on the same time as Hushovd, while Geraint Thomas (Sky) has moved up to fourth, four seconds down. Wiggins is in twelfth on the same time.
Thomas had been tipped for the yellow jersey today. With Omega Pharma-Lotto never likely to defend Gilbert's lead all Sky had to do was beat Garmin by a second and BMC by four to put the Welshman - who finished a brilliant sixth yesterday - in the yellow jersey.
In the end they didn't quite do it. They were the fastest at the first time check, albeit by just one second, but immediately after going through that point they lost two riders as Christian Knees couldn't hold the wheel in front and took Xabier Zandio out of the back with him.
Had those two, or even just one of them, held on for a little longer they could have made the difference. But these are the challenges of a team time trial. It's not just about going fast, it's about keeping the group together for as long as possible, something that was very tough on this course that was tight in many places and twisty in others.
Several of the teams shed riders on the road and many finished with just six riders, Garmin included.
Tour de France 2011, stage two: Les Essarts to Les Essarts, 23km TTT
1. Garmin-Cervelo 24-28
2. BMC at 4 secs
3. Team Sky at 4 secs
4. Leopard-Trek at 5 secs
5. HTC-Highroad at 5 secs
6. RadioShack at 10 secs
7. Rabobank at 12 secs
8. Saxo Bank at 28 secs
9. Astana at 32 secs
10. FDJ at 39 secs
Overall classification after stage two
1. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Garmin-Cervelo 5-06-25
2. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Cervelo at same time
3. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 1 sec
4. Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky at 4 sec
5. Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Leopard-Trek
6. Frank Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek
7. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Leopard-Trek
8. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky
9. Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC
10. Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek all at same time
12. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky at 4 secs
18. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Highroad at 5 secs
24. Ben Swift (GB) Team Sky at 11 secs
Mark Cavendish and HTC-Highroad
Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky
Garmin-Cervelo on their winning the team time trial
Jonathan Vaughters is held aloft by the Garmin-Cervelo team
Thor Hushovd takes the race lead
Tour de France 2011: Related links
Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
Tour de France 2011: Latest news
Tour GC contenders: the winners and losers after stage one
Already in white, can Geraint Thomas take yellow?
Evans jumps ahead in Tour opener
Tour team time trial training
Cavendish's train must adapt to win Tour stages
Pro predictions: Who will win opening Tour stage?
Tour de France teams presented, Contador booed
Wiggins and Team Sky confident but not talking of Tour podium
Contador faces tough questions in pre-Tour press conference
Brits in the Tour de France 2011
UCI and AFLD collaborate on Tour de France dope tests
Contador confirmed for Tour de France
Evans set for Tour de France win
UCI says 'respect Contador at Tour de France'
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Halfords launches free Garmin Tour de France fantasy game
Tour de France 2011: Teams, riders, start list
Tour de France 2011: Official start list
Tour de France 2011: Who's riding?
Tour de France 2011: Team guide
Tour de France 2011: Stage reports
Stage one: Gilbert blasts to victory as Tour gets off to spectacular start
Tour de France 2011: Highlights videos
Stage two video highlights
Stage one video highlights
Tour de France 2011: Photo galleries
Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson
Tour de France 2011 team time trial training photo gallery by Andy Jones
Tour de France 2011 team presentation by Andy Jones
Tour de France 2011 team press conferences by Andy Jones
Tour de France 2011 team presentation by Graham Watson
Tour de France 2011: Live text coverage
Tour de France 2011 LIVE: CW's text coverage schedule
Tour de France 2011: Archive videos
Video: 2003 Centenary Tour
Video: Lance Armstrong retrospective
Video: Behind the scenes at the Tour
Video: Guerini's 1999 stage win
Video: Thrills and spills at the Tour
Video: Armstrong in 1999
Video: The Indurain years
Video: Ladies of the Tour
Video: Best of bizarre
Tour de France 2011: TV schedule
British Eurosport Tour de France 2011 TV schedule
ITV4 Tour de France 2011 TV schedule
Tour de France 2011: Related links
Tour de France: The jerseys, what they are and what they mean
Potted history of the Tour de France
The closest Tours in history
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Wiggins
Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
Tour de France 2011: Older news items
Cavendish to start all three grand tours in 2011
2011 Tour de France teams named
Tour de France 2011: Route details
The mountains of the 2011 Tour de France
Cavendish challenging for up to eight stages in 2011 Tour
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