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Hooray! April is here again. Eneco Stage 2

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We didn't get echelons.

I don't think there were echelons anyway?  As a matter of fact there probably were some echelons, they just didn't show them.  We had everything else that make the early spring-classics the best races on earth today so why not echelons?

From looking at the result you wouldn't know it. Tyler Farrar once again won a sprint in dominating fashion ahead of the usual suspects. On the road however it was a different story.


Final kilometre video ED: Replaced the first one. Stupid frenchys.

Todays stage from Ardooie to Brussels went over some of the classic flandrian backroads that we are used to seeing in March and April. Not only that, the peloton also had to go over a few of the big bergs of the Tour of Flanders: Kwaremont, Leberg, Berendries, Muur van Geraardsbergen and Bosberg where all on the menu for today. These climbs were all too far from the finish to be really decisive but they still spiced up the race. Seeing the familiar roads apparently inspired the riders to ride like it was April all over again. Bless them.

When the peloton hit the Muur an attack from Juan Antonio Flecha and Gert Van Avermaat spelled the end for the early break and set the ball rolling on what would be 75 km of attacks, counterattacks and  everchanging groups at the front. Wouter Weyland, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Frank Höj were part of most of the action but no group ever managed to find the cooperation needed to hold off the chasing and bridging riders. 

The Putberg with 27 km to go created the decisive re-shuffling. After that Rabobank looked to be holding all the cards, creating a numbers-advantage with Posthuma, Nuyens, Tjallingi and Flecha all at the front. It looked like they couldn't lose and we all know how that usually ends don't we? Did I mention this was just like April? In the end Nick Nuyens charged off with Tjaliingi and Posthuma stuck in a chasegroup behind with EBH and Frank Höj. The chasers ran out of motivation as Nuyens ran out of steam and coming into the finishing straight the chasing peloton charged past the dying belgian. Exit Rabobank.

In the sprint Weylandt made the early move but only managed to set it up perfectly for the Watchamacallit Wonder Farrar. Hutarovich had the perfect position on Farrar's wheel but was in the end unable to come around and had to settle for second. Despite being very active the whole day Boasson Hagen impressively had enough gas in the tank to get third. QuckStep, having spent a lot of energy in the days breaks and attacks couldn't deliver Boonen in a good position and he was never  a factor.

Todays losers, apart from Rabo and the ever-clueless Silence-Lotto, were Andreas Klöden who crashed and injured his wrist (probably avoided fractures) and José Ivan Gutierres who was DNS due to intestinal problems and will now not be able to repeat last years victory.

Result of Stage 2

1 Tyler Farrar Garmin - Slipstream 4.17'53
2 Yauheni Hutarovich Française Des Jeux 0
3 Edvald Boasson Hagen Team Columbia - High Road 0
4 Wouter Weylandt Quick Step 0
5 Tom Veelers Skill-Shimano 0
6 Francesco Gavazzi Lampre - N.G.C 0
7 Baden Cooke Vacansoleil Pro Cycling 0
8 Alexandre Usov Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 0
9 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil Caisse D'Epargne 0
10 Tom Boonen Quick Step 0

GC after Stage 2

1 Tyler Farrar Garmin - Slipstream 8.41'09
2 Edvald Boasson Hagen Team Columbia - High Road 13
3 Tom Boonen Quick Step 14
4 Sylvain Chavanel Quick Step 19
5 Bradley Wiggins Garmin - Slipstream 21
6 Joost Posthuma Rabobank 21
7 Vincenzo Nibali Liquigas 23
8 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni Rabobank 23
9 Maarten Tjallingii Rabobank 24
10 Nikolas Maes Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator 24