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Ivan Basso underlined his current good form which was already seen him take victory in the Criterium International when he won Wednesday's short time trial at the Circuit de la Sarthe. The Italian finished a second ahead of team-mate Brian Vandborg in the 8.8km test, which saw Vandborg take the overall lead in the race.
"Ivan and Brian both did brilliantly in the time trial, and we managed a nice result with both victory and leader's jersey," said CSC's sports director Alain Gallopin. "Our objective was to do the time trial as a test for Ivan, and it's a fantastic bonus that Brian now holds the jersey. Things are still pretty tight in the overall standings and there are a couple of fast riders only a few seconds from Brian, but of course we'll try our best to defend the jersey."
Basso too was a happy man as he works towards next month's Giro d'Italia. "I'm extremely happy with my victory in the time trial today, and it's especially satisfying to win in this particular discipline," he said.
"We've worked hard to get to the point where it's actually one of my strong suits. The work we're doing now is with the Giro in mind, so I'm glad to see that it's paying off. At the same time, it also pleases me to see Brian take the leader's jersey, and I'll be the first to help him defend it in the remaining part of the race."
The morning's 94km road stage was won by Panaria's Paride Grillo in a bunch sprint. The Italian dedicated the victory to his regular lead-out man Brett Lancaster, who crashed out of the race on Tuesday.
Stage 2a, Saint Mars La Jaille-Angers
1 Paride Grillo (Ita) Ceramica Panaria-Navigare 94km in 2.17.00 (41.17kph)
2 Alberto Loddo (Ita) Selle Italia
3 Robert Frster (Ger) Gerolsteiner
4 Angelo Furlan (Ita) Selle Italia
5 Denis Bertolini (Ita) Acqua e Sapone
6 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) Ag2r
7 William Bonnet (Fra) Crdit Agricole
8 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Ag2r
9 Andrus Aug (Est) Acqua e Sapone
10 Chris Sutton (Aus) Cofidis
Stage 2b, Angers time trial
1 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC 8.8km in 10.33 (50.05kph)
2 Brian Vandborg (Den) CSC 0.01
3 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner 0.03
4 Benot Vaugrenard (Fra) Francaise des Jeux
5 Serhiy Matveyev (Ukr) Panaria 0.04
6 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Ag2r 0.08
7 Serhiy Honchar (Ukr) T-Mobile
8 Michael Rogers (Aus) T-Mobile 0.09
9 Michael Rich (Ger) Gerolsteiner
10 Jos Alberto Martinez (Spa) Agritubel 0.10
1 Brian Vandborg (Den) Team CSC
3 Matveyev 0.02
4 Schumacher 0.03
6 Moreau 0.08
8 Rogers 0.09
9 Martinez 0.10
10 Stef Clement (Hol) Bouygues Telecom 0.11
Basso underlines his form in SartheClose
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