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39th Etoile des Bessèges - Stage 2
By Andy McGrath
Date: 2/6/2009
39th Etoile des Bessèges - Stage 2

French sprinter Jimmy Casper made it two in a row in Saint-Ambroix yesterday, outgunning rivals Romain Feillu (Agritubel) and Alexandre Blain (Cofidis) in a bunch sprint. On an unhinged day's racing, several short-lived breakaways did their utmost to stay away, though their efforts were to prove in vain again.

On the start line in Nimes, a minute's silence was observed in memory of Frederiek Nolf. His Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator team had earlier taken the decision to withdraw from the race. After eight kilometres, Albert Timmer (Skil-Shimano), Christophe Laurent (Agritubel) and Alexandre Lemair (Robaix-Lille Métropole) got away and quickly gained a minute. However, they were reprised 20 kilometres down the road. Koen Barbé (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago) led over the day's first GPM, the côte de Pouzilhac (38km).

At the day's halfway point, a dozen dangerous riders had prized themselves off the front of the bunch and into a lead of 50 seconds. Among the aggressors were the likes of Greg van Avermaet (Silence-Lotto), Thomas Voeckler (BBox-Bouygues Telecom) and Alexander Efimkin (AG2R-La Mondiale). Despite most of the big-name teams being represented, a strong pursuit from AN Post and Auber 93 in the bunch nullified their advantage with 25 kilometres to go, as the finishing circuits in Saint-Ambroix loomed.

Following an attempt from Vacansoleil man Johnny Hoogerland, Jean Eudes-Demaret (Cofidis), Fréd Amorison (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago), Freddy Bichot (Agritubel), Cyril Bessy (Besson Chaussures-Sojasun) and Bastien Delrot (Roubaix-Lille Métropole) joined him, and the six quickly gained 50 seconds. However, the sprinters' teams smelt blood and quickly reeled them in. A few spirited efforts from the likes of Lhotellerie, Rolland and Ravard bore no fruit, and it was down to yesterday's victor Jimmy Casper to provide the finishing touch.

Only two days into the season, several big names have already come a cropper. Anthony Geslin (BBox-Bouygues Telecom) abandonned yesterday after a nasty crash, while Thomas Dekker also chose to retire after hitting the tarmac in today's stage.

39th Etoile des Bessèges: Stage 2, Nimes - Saint-Ambroix, 149km - Results
1 Jimmy Casper (Besson Chaussures-Sojasun) 3h 24m 47s
2 Romain Feillu (Agritubel)
3 Alexandre Blain (Cofidis)
4 Anthony Ravard (Agritubel)
5 Sébastien Hinault (AG2R-La Mondiale)
6 Stefan Van Dijk (Veranda Willems)
7 Sébastien Chavanel (Française des Jeux)
8 Greg Van Avermaet (Silence-Lotto)
9 Florian Vachon (Roubaix-Lille Métropole)
10 Frédéric Amorison (Landbouwkrediet)
11 Saïd Haddou (Bbox Bouygues Telecom)
12 Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil)
13 Yuri Trofimov (Bbox Bouygues Telecom)
14 Niko Eeckhout (An Post–Sean Kelly Team)
15 Sébastien Joly (Française des Jeux)
16 Steven Tronet (Roubaix-Lille Métropole)
17 Jure Kocjan (Carmiooro-A-Style)
18 Benoît Sinner (Besson Chaussures-Sojasun)
19 James Vanlandschoot (Veranda Willems)
20 Nadir Haddou (Auber 93)
21 Steve Houanard (Skil-Shimano)
22 Jimmy Engoulvent (Besson Chaussures-Sojasun)
23 Jean-Marc Bideau (Bretagne-Schuller)
24 René Mandri (AG2R-La Mondiale)
25 Florian Guillou (Roubaix-Lille Métropole)
26 Sébastien Minard (Cofidis)
27 Reinier Honig (Vacansoleil)
28 Nicolas Vogondy (Agritubel)
29 Thomas Voeckler (Bbox Bouygues Telecom)
30 Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (Cofidis)
31 Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil)
32 Simon Geschke (Skil-Shimano)
33 Bert Scheirlinckx (Landbouwkreidiet)
34 Christophe Laurent (Agritubel)
35 Julien Simon (Besson Chaussures-Sojasun)
36 Jens Mouris (Vacansoleil)
37 Mickaël Delage (Silence-Lotto)
38 Romain Matheou (Besson Chaussures-Sojasun)
39 Hubert Dupont (AG2R-La Mondiale)
40 Gaël Malacarne (Bretagne-Schuller)
41 Damien Monier (Cofidis)
42 Alexandre Lemair (Roubaix-Lille Métropole)
43 Clément Lhotellerie (Vacansoleil)
44 Jonathan Hivert (Skil-Shimano)
45 Morgan Chedhomme (Auber 93)
46 Julien Mazet (Auber 93)
47 Koen Barbe (Landbouwkrediet)
48 Cyril Dessel (AG2R-La Mondiale)
49 Bert De Backer (Skil-Shimano)
50 Pierre Rolland (Bbox Bouygues Telecom)
51 Filip Meiraeghe (Landbouwkreidiet)
52 Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil)
53 Matthieu Ladagnous (Française des Jeux)
54 Kenny Lisabeth (An Post-Sean Kelly Team)
55 Sébastien Portal (Cofidis)
56 Rémi Cusin (Agritubel)
57 Alexander Efimkin (AG2R-La Mondiale)
58 Christophe Brandt (Silence-Lotto)
59 Jean-Eudes Demaret (Cofidis)
60 Sylvain Calzati (Agritubel)
61 Piet Rooijakkers (Skil-Shimano)
62 Jonathan Thiré (Auber 93)
63 Stéphane Goubert (AG2R-La Mondiale)
64 Lilian Jégou (Bretagne-Schuller)
65 Jef Peeters (An Post–Sean Kelly Team)
66 Stéphane Bonsergent (Bretagne-Schuller)
67 Maxime Médérel (Auber 93)
68 Pierrick Fédrigo (Bbox Bouygues Telecom)
69 Johan Mombaerts (Auber 93)
70 Yohan Cauquil (Cycling Team Bourgas)
71 Albert Timmer (Skil-Shimano)
72 Maryan Hary (Cofidis)
73 John Gadret (AG2R-La Mondiale)
74 Bastien Delrot (Roubaix-Lille Métropole)
75 Cyril Bessy (Besson Chaussures-Sojasun)
76 Geert Verheyen (Landbouwkreidiet)
77 Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux)
78 Benny De Schrooder (An Post-Sean Kelly Team)
79 Gil Suray (Roubaix-Lille Métropole)
80 Nicolas Jouanno (Bretagne-Schuller)
81 Freddy Bichot (Agritubel)
82 Arnaud Gérard (Française des Jeux)
83 Eric Berthou (Carmiooro-A-Style)
84 Franck Bouyer (Bbox Bouygues Telecom)
85 Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil)
86 Jelle Vanendert (Silence-Lotto)
87 Sébastien Duret (Bretagne-Schuller)
88 Mart Ojavee (Cycling Team Bourgas)
89 Frédéric Guesdon (Française des Jeux)
90 William Bonnet (Bbox Bouygues Telecom)
91 Olivier Bonnaire (Bbox Bouygues Telecom)
92 David Boucher (Landbouwkrediet)
93 Gerben Lowik (Vacansoleil)
94 Zakkari Dempster (Cycling Team Bourgas)
95 Cédric Coutouly (Besson Chaussures-Sojasun)
96 Stefan Histrov (Cycling Team Bourgas)
97 Daniele Colli (Carmiooro-A-Style)
98 Christophe Riblon (AG2R-La Mondiale)
99 Benoit Vaugrenard (Française des Jeux) at 5'29"
100 Sergio Pardilla (Carmiooro-A-Style) at 21'45"
101 Michiel Elijzen (Silence-Lotto)
102 Kevin Van Melsen (Veranda Willems)
103 Steven Van Vooren (An Post–Sean Kelly Team)
104 Pieter Ghyllebert (Cycling Team Bourgas) at 26'43"
105 Glenn D'Hollander (Silence-Lotto)
106 Floris Goosinnen (Skil-Shimano)
107 Maxim Gourov (Carmiooro-A-Style)
108 Florian Morizot (Besson Chaussures-Sojasun)
109 Fumiyuki Beppu (Skil-Shimano)
110 Romain Lebreton (Bretagne-Schuller)
111 Philippe Pratte (Veranda Willems)
112 Tom Stubbe (Silence-Lotto)
113 Vladimir Koev (Cycling Team Bourgas)
114 Pierre Cazaux (Roubaix-Lille Métropole)
115 Denis Flahaut (Landbouwkrediet)
116 Jean-Luc Delpech (Bretagne-Schuller)
117 Janek Tombak (Cycling Team Bourgas)
118 Alexandre Aulas (Carmiooro-A-Style)
119 Fabien Bacquet (Auber 93)
120 Tony Gallopin (Auber 93)
121 Paul Brousse (Carmiooro-A-Style)
122 Rob Worstenborghs (Cycling Team Bourgas)
123 Ronan McLaughlin (Veranda Willems)
124 Nicolas Baïolet (Veranda Willems)
125 Matthew Brammeier (An Post–Sean Kelly Team)
126 Paidi O'Brien (An Post–Sean Kelly Team)
127 Olivier Pardini (Veranda Willems)
128 Sébastien Fournet-Fayard (Carmiooro-A-Style)

Sven Van den Houte (Veranda Willems) DNF
Christophe Moreau (Agritubel) DNF
Thomas Dekker (Silence-Lotto) DNF
Mathieu Criquielion (Veranda Willems) DNF

General Classification after Stage 2: Top 20
1 Jimmy Casper (Besson Chaussures-Sojasun 6h 16m 48s
2 Romain Feillu (Agritubel) at 14"
3 Sébastien Chavanel (Française des Jeux) s.t.
4 Alexandre Blain (Cofidis) at 16"
5 Greg Van Avermaet (Silence-Lotto) at 17"
6 Jonathan Thiré (Auber 93) s.t.
7 Yuri Trofimov (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) at 18"
8 Jef Peeters (An Post–Sean Kelly Team) s.t.
9 Sébastien Minard (Cofidis) at 19"
10 Stefan Van Dijk (Veranda Willems) at 20"
11 Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil)
12 Niko Eeckhout (An Post–Sean Kelly Team)
13 Anthony Ravard (Agritubel)
14 Florian Vachon (Roubaix-Lille Métropole)
15 Saïd Haddou (Bbox Bouygues Telecom)
16 Sébastien Hinault (AG2R-La Mondiale)
17 James Vanlandschoot (Veranda Willems)
18 Nadir Haddou (Auber 93)
19 Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (Cofidis)
20 Jimmy Engoulvent (Besson Chaussures-Sojasun)

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