McGee spares Aussie blushes

After Denis Menchov yesterday, Brad McGee became the latest man to make amends for a cheerless Tour

After Denis Menchov yesterday, Brad McGee became the latest man to make amends for a cheerless Tour
On another bad day for his compatriots in the Ashes Test series currently gripping cricket lovers around the globe, Brad McGee kept the Australian flag flying as he powered to the top of the overall standings in stage two of the Vuelta a Espana. McGee's second place behind Leonardo Bertagnolli on the 189.3km stage 2 between Granada and Cordoba saw the Sydneysider overhaul his three-second deficit from overnight leader Denis Menchov and take the race leader's golden jersey on Sunday night. McGee's exploit on a stage expected to favour the sprinters completed a clean sweep of the major tour leader's jerseys for the Francaise des Jeux man. McGee donned the Tour de France's maillot jaune in 2003 and the Giro d'Italia's maglia rosa last year after winning the prologue time trials in each race. No Aussie had previously furnished a full wardrobe of major tour leader's jerseys. Like McGee, Bertagnolli was both surprised and delighted to have bucked a miserable run of results so far this season. Having left Saeco for Cofidis in the off-season, Bertagnolli flopped in the Giro d'Italia just weeks after being heralded by friend and former team-mate Gilberto Simoni as a future Tour de France winner. The Italian's first stage win in a major tour came today after he and seven other riders including McGee escaped on the second category Alto de San Jeronimo, 20 km from the finish in Cordoba. Bertagnolli rode away from his breakaway companions on the climb but was caught 6km from the line by McGee after a virtuoso descent from Aussie. With McGee having done most of the pace-making, Bertognolli eased to victory in the two-man sprint. While outgoing leader Denis Menchov finished in the main pack, 44 seconds down on McGee, Oscar Pereiro and Iban Mayo both lost over seven minutes on GC and therefore find themselves already out of the running for overall honours. Mayo, admittedly, had come into the Vuelta pessimistic about his own chances and vowing to fulfil the role of lieutenant de luxe to team-mate Aitor Gonzalez. Ahead of a sprinter-friendly third stage which augurs well for McGee's chances of retaining his race lead, the Aussie leads Bertagnolli by 22 seconds and Juan Antonio Flecha by a further nine on general classification. Stage two results Granada - Cordoba 1 Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Cofidis 189.3km in 4.52.27 2 Bradley McGee (Aus) Franaise des Jeux 3 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Fassa Bortolo 4 Francisco Javier Vila Errandonea (Spa) Lampre-Caffita 5 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Liberty Seguros 6 Unai Yus Kerejeta (Spa) Bouygues Telecom 7 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Saunier Duval 8 Santos Gonzalez (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 0.33 9 Carlos Garcia Quesada (Spa) Comunidad Valenciana 10 Pablo Lastras (Spa) Illes Balears 11 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crdit Agricole 0.44 12 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile 30 Roberto Heras (Spa) Liberty Seguros 31 Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel 46 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears 48 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 59 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 60 Aitor Gonzalez Jimenez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 64 Joseba Beloki (Spa) Liberty Seguros 66 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Lampre-Caffita 68 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 111 Iban Mayo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 7.27 114 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Phonak 7.56 General classification 1 Bradley McGee (Aus) Franaise des Jeux 5.02.01 2 Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Cofidis 0.22 3 Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Fassa Bortolo 0.31 4 Angel Vicioso (Spa) Liberty Seguros 5 Francisco Vila (Spa) Lampre - Caffita 0.32 6 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Saunier Duval 0.35 7 Unai Yus (Spa) Bouygues Telecom 0.43 8 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Quick Step 0.52 9 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 0.55 10 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 1.02 11 Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel 1.07 12 Roberto Heras (Spa) Liberty Seguros 1.10 16 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Lampre - Caffita 1.15 20 Aitor Gonzalez Jimenez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 1.21 21 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears 33 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak 1.31 76 Joseba Beloki Spa) Liberty Seguros 2.39 109 Iban Mayo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 8.16 114 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Phonak 8.46
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