Elia Viviani (Cannondale Pro Cycling) has won the second stage of the 2013 Criterium du Dauphine.
The Italian, who bookended his Giro d’Italia campaign with defeats to Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), claimed his first victory of the season by sprinting to victory at the end of the rolling 191km stage from Chatel to Oyonnax.
Today, Viviani saw off the challenge of another OPQS quick man, Gianni Meersman, who finished second for the second consecutive stage. The Belgian had already bagged a brace of stage wins at both the Volta a Catalunya and the Tour of Romandie.
Viviani said that riding the Dauphine directly after his winless Giro campaign had proven to be the right decision, providing him with condition and hunger for victory.
“Without these two factors, I don’t believe I could have done it today,” he said.
Only on the second category Cote de Communal, the third climb from the finish, did Viviani believe victory was possible, and said the OPQS spring train had to tried to force him out.
“The next target is the sixth stage in Grenoble and to hold on until the finish,” he said. “Then I can rest and prepare for the upcoming events.”
Having ridden the Giro and the Dauphine, the Italian is unlikely to contest the Tour de France, and may find himself on the Vuelta-Worlds path being followed by maglia rosa, and countryman, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) who has made no secret of his intention to target victory in the world road race championships in Florence this September.
Britain’s Chris Froome (Team Sky) enjoyed another quiet day, finishing safely in the bunch, four places ahead of team-mate, Richie Porte, after being led home by Geraint Thomas and Peter Kennaugh.
Stage one winner, David Veilleux (Team Europcar), was another rider to enjoy an untroubled day in the saddle, and retains his 1.56 lead over Meersman.
An early break containing José Mendes (NetApp-Endura), Rudy Molard (Cofidis), Thomas Damuseau (Argos Shimano), and Arnaud Gérard (Bretagne-Séché), was eventually hauled back through the combined efforts of Europcar and OPQS.
Former Team Sky rider and self-confessed cobbled Classics specialist, Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM), was the next to attack, but failed to stay away.
Cofidis rider, Rudy Molard, attacked and was hauled back, prompting his team leader, Rein Teramae, to try his luck. The four-time Estonian time trial champion committed to some nerveless descending, but was caught just two kilometres from the finish.
Cannondale, seemingly inspired by Viviani’s survival of a parcours containing six categorised climbs, went full gas for the finish and delivered their young sprinter to victory.
Criterium du Dauphine: stage two – result
1) Elia Viviani (ITA) – Cannondale Pro Cycling – 4.39.15
2) Gianni Meersman (BEL) – Omega Pharma-QuickStep
3) Tony Gallopin (FRA) – RadioShack-Leopard
4) Reindart Van Rensburg (RSA) – Argos-Shimano
5) Anthony Geslin (FRA) – FDJ
6) Armindo Fonseca (FRA) – Bretagne- Seche Environment
7) Bram Tankink (NED) – Blanco Pro Cycling
8) Warren Barguil (FRA) – Argos-Shimano
9) Juan Antonio Flecha (SPA) – Vacansoleil-DCM
10) Wesley Sulzburger (AUS) – Orica-GreenEDGE
1) David Veilleux (CAN) – Europcar – 7.56.50
2) Gianni Meersman (BEL) – Omega Pharma-QuickStep +1.56
3) Tony Gallopin (FRA) – RadioShack-Leopard +1.57
4) Warren Barguil (FRA) – Argos-Shimano – ST
5) Alejandro Valverde (SPA) – Movistar
6) Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) – Astana
7) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky
8) Richie Porte (AUS) – Team SKy
9) Angel Mendoza (SPA) – Movistar
10) Geraint Thomas (GBR) – Team Sky