3.20.2012

Volta a Ctalunya 2: he did it again!

Note Cunego in a supershape and Fuglsang 9th in GC. Remarkable Cherel!
Michael Albasini Makes It Two-for-Two in Spain
Albasini Remains in Volta a Catalunya Leader's Jersey After Second Stage

Michael Albasini gave GreenEDGE its second victory at the Volta a Catlunaya in the second day of racing. Wearing the race leader's jersey, Albasini won the field sprint from an elite group of riders that had survived the first category Alt dels Angels climb just before the finish in Girona.

"It was fantastic to win yesterday and have the leader's jersey today," said Albasini. "To win a stage in the jersey is a good feeling. I'm happy to pay back my teammates with one more victory after they worked so hard for me the whole day."

It was a hard-earned victory for GreenEDGE, who once again started the day with a two-pronged approach.

"We had two objectives today," explained Sports Director Neil Stephens. "Our first objective was a bit out of our hands - it involved getting Allan Davis over the final climb so that he could contest the sprint. This was a really high expectation, and it didn't happen. Our second objective was to maintain the race lead. We did that, and amazingly we still managed to take the stage win."

Although GreenEDGE has no overall ambitions at the seven-day tour that favors pure climbers, Stephens said the team was eager to have one more day in the leader's jersey. With that goal in mind, when the day's early break of three riders gained a near eight minute advantage, Stephens sent the team to the front to bring down the gap.

"Julian Dean went to the front and set a nice, steady tempo," noted Stephens. "This put the team at the front before the windy section of the stage and it also helped reduce the gap."

Albasini was the final rider to crest over the Alt dels Angels with the front group. As three riders went up the road, he kept calm on the descent knowing that he was one of the fastest finishers in the bunch should the move come back to the field.

"I went so hard on the uphill, and I knew there were no pure sprinters left," said Albasini. "I thought this made me one of the fastest in the small bunch. I suffered a lot on the last climb, so I wasn't sure if my legs were fresh for the sprint. I thought [Dario] Cataldo [Omega Pharma - Quickstep] would be one of the fastest guys, so I went on his wheel. When he moved up, I followed, and in the end, he gave me the perfect leadout. The sprint could not have gone better for me."

The field faces the toughest stage of the race tomorrow. The Queen stage is the longest of the week with two category one climbs and two hors categorie climbs, concluding with a summit finish.

"I was happy yesterday with the first stage win," noted Albasini. "Two stages is even better. The team has really come together well. Tomorrow is a hard day with some really tough climbs. I hope to enjoy one more day in the leader's jersey before I lose it to someone else."

Stephens echoed these sentiments.

"This is a climber's race, and we came here with the goal of winning a stage," he said. "We've already won two. This is our fifth win in a WorldTour event. Our success so far is way beyond our wildest dreams. We'll have some dryer periods, so right now we're obviously enjoying every moment."

  RESULTS
Stage
1 Michael Albasini (Swi) GreenEdge Cycling Team 3:52:07  
2 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma - QuickStep    
3 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling    
4 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD    
5 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Barracuda    
6 Sergio Pardilla Belll√≥n (Spa) Movistar Team    
7 Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat    
8 Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha Team    
9 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling    
10 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Pro Team Astana
...........
14 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) RadioShack-Nissan
...............
 84 Andy Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan
GC
1 Michael Albasini (Swi) GreenEdge Cycling Team 7:12:11  
2 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Barracuda 0:01:32  
3 Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
4 Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team    
5 Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat    
6 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Barracuda    
7 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling    
8 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team    
9 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) RadioShack-Nissan    
10 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD
 
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