No proper sprint train managed to control the pelaton due to strong headwind and it was Alessandro Petacchi of Lampre who started a very long sprint with more than 500 meters to go but it was Argos Shimano’s german sprinter Marcel Kittel‘s last 200 meters late sprint that shaped the podium. Elia Viviani from Cannondale finished second while Leigh Howard of Orica-Greenedge finished third.
Stage 1 winner Nacer Bouhanni, slipped on a turn and crashed out of the stage and is forced to abandon. Kevin Seeldraeyers couldn’t start today’s stage due to the incident he was involved in yesterday. And besides Bouhanni, Jacob Rathe and Alexandre Pichot abandoned the race as well.
Viviani is now leading not only GC but also youg rider and the points classifications. Borut Bozic of Astana will wear the green jersey whereas Wilco Kilderman from Blanco will wear the white jersey.
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano 5:42:18
2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale
3. Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
Quite similar to the first stage, Stage 2 starting on 5th March, Tuesday is a flat course that favors sprinters for more than anyone else. Nacer Bouhanni, Elia Viviani, Alessandro Petacchi and Jens Debusschere showed that they are in form. Marcel Kittel missed the sprint in Stage 1; pelaton split into two and the group he got stuck with couldn’t catch up. He won the first sprint stage of Tour of Oman in front of pretty much the same sprinters that were in the field today; so this time, I don’t think Argos-Shimano will make the same mistake again and got stuck behind. Orica Greenedge managed to do a very good job with their sprint train, it was a pity Leigh Howard failed to respond in time, this time they’ll be more careful with the positioning and maybe with Michael Matthews instead.
The stage will start in Vimory, a small village near Montargis and after 200.5 kms of pedaling straight to the south, we’ll end up in an another small village Cérilly in Allier. The intermediate sprints are interesting, one very close to the start and the other just before the actual sprint. Sprint teams can show some interest this time both for the green jersey points and time bonuses.
Both the green and yellow jerseys can change hands after the stage. It is a slightly uphill finish but don’t think it’ll be steep enough for anyone other than the pure sprinters to have a chance in here.