This race report was filed by Jakob Duma
Today at 11:30pm the start of the 2nd stage in this year's tour of Denmark went away, as the 111 riders in the peleton went out on the 219 kilometres between Aabenraa and Århus. This despite the accident that happened yesterday, where a middle-aged man with hearing problems, and apparently also with some seeing problems, went out in front of the riders in the middle of the sprint and caused a big crash involving German champion Danilo Hondo; there have been no major complements to the organisers.
Today’s stage is a real sprinter stage, but because of the heavy crosswinds there is a big danger the bunch will split and cause heavy time gaps like yesterday. Some of yesterday's big losers included Team Fakta, whose team leader Jøregen Bo Petersen now is out of the running for the overall victory; they will have to attack in order to try winning the stage and show the “team flag."
Actually there was more bad news for Team Fakta whose “new” leader Lennie Kristensen got a 30 seconds penalty for getting a friendly push in the last kilometre by team-mate big Magnus Backstedt. Maybe today's stage isn’t selective enough for Lennie Kristensen who will have a much bigger chance on tomorrows “Queen stage.”
Actually Lennie has been named by many as a hot favourite for tomorrow's stage, and the mountain bike Tour de France champion of 1997 has been showing good form all year riding excellently in the Classique des Alpes where he was 10th, and on the very hard mountain top finish on the Kitzbuhler-Horn in Austria where he finished a strong 8th. Just like fellow mountain bike colleagues and climbers Cadel Evans, Miguel Martinez, Dario Cioni, and Danish countryman Michael Rasmussen, Lennie Kristensen has been very strong in the mountains this year. Looking in that perspective it will been interesting to see what young Kiwi Kashi Leuchs, who will be riding as a Stagiaire for Saeco for the rest of the year, can do in some of the more mountainous one day races in Italy that the second part of the year are filled with. The same can be said about another young former mountain biker Leonardo Zanotti form the Mapei-Quick Step Espoirs team, and the former mountain bike world champion of 1998 Christophe Dupouey who will ride the rest of the year as a Stagiaire at St Quentin - Oktos.
(Sorry for blabbering hope you're all still awake).
Back to today’s stage that was marked by a major breakaway by the four riders Ronny Scholz, (Team Gerolsteiner), Jimmy Engoulvent (Bonjour), Davide Bramati (Mapei-Quick Step), and Innar Mandoja (AG2R) who all went away after 12kilometers of racing. At the 63kilometer mark they had build a lead at about 6' 20", and the first “Bonus” sprint of the day went to Jimmy Engoulvent in front of Ronny Scholz and Davide Bramati. The first climb on the stage was won by Innar Mandoja who took the honours ahead of Jimmy Engoulvent and Davide Bramati. The breakaway companions lead was extended to 9 minutes with about 80 kilometers to go, and the bunch still on cruise control. However only 5 kilometres later the Phonak Team went on a mission to start pulling the escapers back and sent 3 guys up front to pull very hard, trying setting up the sprinter Alexandre Usov or their other fast wheel Sven Teutenberg. With 40 kilometers to go the escapee's lead was down to “only” 2 minutes and a very tired Davide Bramati got drop by his breakaways and was absorbed by the bunch. Two riders abandoned shortly after: Dario Cioni (Mapei-Quick-Step) and Peter Van Petegem's loyal right-hand man Glenn D'Hollander (Lotto-Adecco).
With 35km and only about 1' 30" the escape wasn’t looking that good. And yesterday's big loser Jørgen Bo Petersen (EDS-Fakta) attacked from the peleton and quickly got at good gap; within the last 25km Jørgen Bo Petersen caught the leaders, whose lead now was under 1 minute. Jørgen Bo Petersen quickly decided to drop his companions who simply couldn't hold his wheel anymore, and the strong Fakta rider was now all alone with 20 km to go and a lead just under 1 minute.
Back in the bunch Phonak was still pulling hard and soon caught Jimmy Engoulvent, Innar Mandoja (who got the Climber's Jersey for his efforts), and Ronny Scholz, but still couldn’t close in on Jørgen Bo Petersen who did give a strong example of his solid Rouleur skills. But when CSC-Tiscali finally decided to give Phonak a nap in front of the pack Jørgen Bo Petersen'a lead slowly disappeared, and with 5km to go he only had about 30 seconds. The pack had again timed it perfectly, and as Jørgen Bo Petersen went under the Flamme rouge his lead was only 20meters or so.
The sprinters' lead out men went hard at it, and the brave Dane got caught just as the sprinters started to accelerate. Estonian Jaan Kirsipuu opened the sprint but couldn’t hold off current Dutch champion, Lotto's Stefan Van Dijck who easily went past him to snatch his fifth win of the season ahead of Kirsipuu (AG2R), Danilo Hondo (Telekom), and Olaf Pollack (Gerolsteiner). A very quiet day for race leader Jacob Piil (CSC-Tiscali) who also will start in the leader's jersey tomorrow.
Tomorrow's 3rd stage of the Tour of Denmark is the "Queen Stage" and should prove to be a tough task where we could expect a lot of attacks.
Stage 2 Results
1. Stefan Van Dijck (Hol) Lotto-Adecco @ 5h 23' 15"
2. Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) AG2r-Prevoyance @ ST
3. Danilo Hondo (Ger) Team Telekom @ ST
4. Olaf Pollack (Ger) Gerolsteiner @ ST
5. Janek Tombak (Ger) Cofidis @ ST
6. Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Lotto-Adecco @ ST
7. Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) EDS-Fakta @ ST
8. Jacob Moe Rasmussen (Den) EDS-Fakta @ ST
9. Sven Teutenberg (Ger) Phonak @ ST
10. Steven de Jongh (Hol) Rabobank @ ST
11. Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank @ ST
12. Jakob Storm Piil (Den) CSC-Tiscali @ ST
13. Julian Dean (NZL) CSC-Tiscali @ ST
14. Elio Aggaino (Ita) Mapei-Quick-Step @ ST
15. Marcus Ljungqvist (Swe) EDS-Fakta @ ST
16. Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) Mapei-Quick Step @ ST
34. Tyler Hamilton (USA) CSC-Tiscali @ ST
36. Bobby Julich (USA) Team Telekom @ ST
64. Jørgen Bo Petersen (Den) EDS-Fakta @ ST
84. Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step @ 14"
GC after Stage 2
1. Jakob Storm Piil (Den) CSC-Tiscali @ 9h 20' 14"
2. Stefan Van Dijck (Hol) Lotto-Adecco @ 1' 06"
3. Steven de Jongh (Hol) Rabobank @ 1' 10"
4. Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) AG2r-Prevoyance @ 1' 10"
5. Michel Vanhaecke (Bel) Landbowkredit-Colnago @ 1' 12"
6. Danilo Hondo (Ger) Team Telekom @ 1' 12"
7. Andrea Tafi (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step @ 1' 13"
8. Alexandre Usov (Rus) Phonak @ 1' 14"
9. Tristan Hoffman (Hol) CSC-Tiscali @ 1' 14"
10. Julian Dean (NZL) CSC-Tiscali @ 1' 15"
11. Allan Johansen (Dan) EDS-Fakta @ 1' 15"
12. Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) EDS-Fakta @ 1'16"
13. Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) Mapei-Quick Step @ 1' 16"
26. Tyler Hamilton (USA) CSC-Tiscali @ 1' 16"