Nacer Bouhanni won stage 2 of the 2014 Etoile de Bessèges – beating out rivals John Degenkolb and Yauheni Hutarovich in a sprint finish in Saint-Ambroix today.
The start of today’s 149 kilometer stage from Nimes, had an uneventful beginning – with no breakaway group emerging until the 30 kilometer mark. It wasn’t until then, that a group of five riders containing Julien Fouchard, Axel Domont, Clément Koretzky, Dimitri Le Boulch and Thomas Rostollan went on the attack – subsequently creating a four minute gap over the field.
Meanwhile, race leader Sander Helven’s Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise continued to set tempo back in the peloton – keeping the escapees in sight.
Indeed, by the time the five leaders reached the 7.3 kilometer finishing circuit, their lead had been reduced to under two minutes – as Europcar, FDJ.fr and Giant-Shimano all work in earnest to reel them in.
From there, the breakaway group began to split apart – with only Rostollan managing to stay out front alone. Shortly thereafter, the lingering four escapees were swept up midway through the penultimate lap.
Stefano Pirazzi was the first to launch counter-attack. However, the lead pack was quick to shut down his move.
As a result, the pace of the peloton remained high throughout the final circuit – thus resulting in a sprint finale.
Despite finishing in 91st place in today’s stage, Sander Helven managed to retain his leader’s jersey in the overall general classification – with a five-second advantage over both Laurens De Vreese and Benoît Jarrier.
General classification after stage 2
1 Sander Helven (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise 6:59:45 2 Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Wanty – Groupe Gobert 0:00:05 3 Benoît Jarrier (Fra) Bretagne Séché Environnement 4 Boris Dron (Bel) Wallonie – Bruxelles 0:00:12 5 Marcus Christie (Irl) An Post – Chain Reaction 0:00:16 6 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:00:24 7 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano 0:00:28 8 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) AG2R la Mondiale 0:00:30 9 Clément Koretzky (Fra) Bretagne Séché Environnement 0:00:32 10 Axel Domont (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 0:00:33 11 Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise 0:00:34 12 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty – Groupe Gobert 13 Timothy Dupont (Bel) Roubaix Lille Métropole 14 Romain Feillu (Fra) Bretagne Séché Environnement 15 Erwan Corbel (Fra) Bretagne Séché Environnement 16 Tosh Van Der Sande (Ned) Lotto Belisol 17 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar 18 Nicolas Vereecken (Bel) Verandas Willems 19 Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Team La Pomme Marseille 13 20 Robin Stenuit (Bel) Wallonie – Bruxelles 21 Rudy Barbier (Fra) Roubaix Lille Métropole 22 Christophe Laborie (Fra) Bretagne Séché Environnement 23 Niels Vandyck (Bel) Verandas Willems 24 Jeffry Johan Romero Corredor (Col) Colombia 25 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
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