John Degenkolb of Argos-Shimano has taken the first Grand Tour stage win of his career in Viana this afternoon, timing his run perfectly to pip Allan Davis of Orica-GreenEdge just ahead of the line to take Stage 2 of the 2012 Vuelta. Ben Swift of Team Sky launched his sprint from a long way out, Degenkolb latching onto his wheel and overhauling him in the closing hundred metres swift finished third after a tussle with Elia Viviani of Liquigas-Cannondale, the pair crossing the line shoulder to shoulder. Jonatho Castroviejo of Movistar keeps the race lead.
A year ago this week, when Argos-Shimano was racing as Skil-Shimano, it was former HTC-Highroad rider Degenkolb's fellow German and now team mate Marcel Kittel who used a stage in the opening week of the Vuelta to open his Grand Tour account. Degenkolb is the same age, 23 years, as Kittel was 12 months ago.
Today's 181.4-kilometre stage was ridden in extremely humid conditions, the temperature nudging 40 degrees Celsius, and it was Movistar who set tempo at the front of the bunch for much of the day to keep a three-man break in check. At times, strong crosswinds also made things tough for the riders.
Originally, four men had got away after a larger attack early on, but with Rabobank's Niki Terpstra a clear threat to Castroviejo's race lead, it wasn't until the Dutchman was dropped from that small group that the three remaining escapees, Javier Francisco Aramendia of Caja Rural, Katusha's Mikhail Ignatyev and Javier Chacon from the Andalucia team were allowed to get much leeway on the peloton.
Former Euskaltel-Euskadi rder Aramendia led the trio over the day's only significant climb, the Category 3 Alto de la Chapela, with Chacon crossing second but the commissaires subsequetly reversed the order due to an apparent infringement and it will be Chacon who tomorrow wears the blue polka dot jersey of mountains classification leader.
Chacon was caught by the peloton a little under 20 kilometres from the line, with Ignatief and Aramendia managing to hold out for another eight kilometres or so, before the peloton, now led by Orica-GreenEdge, swept them up ahead of the sprint finish, although the pack also had to counter a move by Sergey Lagutin of Vacansoleil-DCM who chanced his arm with a solo attack around 5 kilometres out.
One rider failed to start this morning, Amstel Gold Race winner Enrico Gasparotto of Astana, who fell during yesterday's team time trial and broke his collabone in three places.
Vuelta Stage 2 Result 1 DEGENKOLB, John ARG 4h 38' 40'' 2 DAVIS, Allan OGE All at same time 3 SWIFT, Ben SKY 4 VIVIANI, Elia LIQ 5 LODEWYCK, Klaas BMC 6 REYNES, Vicente LTB 7 CIMOLAI, Davide LAM 8 MEERSMAN, Gianni LTB 9 CARDOSO, Manuel CJR 10 BENNATI, Daniele RNT 11 PÉREZ, Rubén EUS 12 FERNÁNDEZ, Koldo GRS 13 STEEGMANS, Gert OPQ 14 VAN WINDEN, Dennis RAB 15 LOBATO DEL VALLE, Juan Jose ACG 16 BOUHANNI, Nacer FDJ 17 LIGTHART, Pim VCD 18 MONDORY, Lloyd ALM 19 STYBAR, Zdenek OPQ 20 BAGOT, Yohann COF Last man home on Stage 2 197 BOUCHER, David FDJ + 12' 56'' General Classification after Stage 2 1 CASTROVIEJO, Jonathan MOV 4h 57' 31'' 2 QUINTANA, Nairo MOV Same time 3 MORENO, Javier MOV 4 VALVERDE, Alejandro MOV 5 INTXAUSTI, Beñat MOV 6 COBO, Juan José MOV + 4'' 7 VAN WINDEN, Dennis RAB + 10'' 8 TERPSTRA, Niki OPQ + 10'' 9 DE WEERT, Kevin OPQ + 10'' 10 BALLAN, Alessandro BMC + 10'' Points Classificatino after Stage 2 1 DEGENKOLB, John ARG 25 2 DAVIS, Allan OGE 20 3 SWIFT, Ben SKY 16 4 VIVIANI, Elia LIQ 14 5 LODEWYCK, Klaas BMC 12 Mountains Classification after Stage 2 1 CHACON, Javier ACG 3 2 ARAMENDIA, Javier CJR 2 3 IGNATYEV, Mikhail KAT 1
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.