T-Mobile's British sprinter Mark Cavendish has won the second stage of the Eneco Tour, which finished in a bunch sprint in the Belgian coastal town of Knokke. Cavendish held off a late surge from Predictor's Fred Rodriguez and Quick.Step's Wouter Weylandt to claim victory. Cofidis rider Nick Nuyens retained the leader's red jersey.
It is the second win in Belgium this year for the 22-year-old Cavendish after the Scheldeprijs, and his eighth success this season following wins in the Four Days of Dunkirk, Tour of Denmark and Ster Elektrotoer.
"The team worked very well at the end. My teammates put me in an ideal position on the final bend," said Cavendish. "There were a lot of very dangerous riders on my heels but when I get going I'm really hard to beat at the moment."
Four riders - Spaniard Ruben Perez, Belgian Frederik Willems, German Marcel Sieberg and Russian Andrei Grivko - dominated the stage, building up a lead of four minutes some 35km from the finish. But the peloton fought back progressively, notably lead by sprinters from the Quick Step, Credit Agricole and Predictor teams, catching the lead quartet with 10km to go.
Nuyens will be among the favourites for Saturday's third stage between Knokke and Putte over roads which the Belgian regularly covers in training.
"I'm going to ride at home in front of my fans. I'll be very motivated," he warned.
|1 Mark Cavendish (GBr | T-Mobile)||4:31:00|
|2 Fred Rodriguez (USA | Predictor-Lotto)|
|3 Wouter Weylandt (Bel | Quick.Step)|
|4 Kenny Van Hummel (Bel | Skil-Shimano)|
|5 Heinrich Haussler (Ger | Gerolsteiner)|
|6 Alexei Markov (Rus | Caisse d'Epargne)|
|7 Daniele Righi (Ita | Lampre)|
|8 Marco Zanotti (Ita | Unibet.com)|
|General classification after stage 2|
|1 Nick Nuyens (Bel | Cofidis)|
|2 Thomas Dekker (Ned | Rabobank)||0:00:10|
|3 Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Spa | Caisse d'Epargne||0:00:17|
|4 David Millar (GBr | Saunier Duval)||0:00:19|
|5 Jurgen Van den Broeck (Bel | Predictor-Lotto)||0:00:25|
© AFP & BikeRadar 2007