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Tour de L'Avenir - Stage 2
By Jaime Nichols
Date: 9/5/2003
Tour de L'Avenir - Stage 2

Sébastien Chavanel takes top honors in the bunch gallop for the stage win. Brit Bradley Wiggins finished with the pack, and keeps the overall lead. Team USA's suffers an early casualty, as Tom Danielson does not take the start.

Images Courtesy of the Tour de L'Avenir

The riders of the future set out today at 1:00 pm under cloudy skies on a dead flat stage from Bonneval to Sassay, and for the first few kilometers, the pack stayed together, though it wasn't long before attacks began to ignite the pace. Despite fast and furious attempts to break the peloton's hold, no one was able to go clear, until Team Kazahkstan's Andrey Medyannikov broke free at the 19th km, quickly building a lead. At the first bonus-sprint at km 47.5, he had a gap of 2'50 on two chasers: Brioches La Boulangere's Jérôme Pineau and Team Sweden's Jonas Holmkvist, who were leading the bunch. During the first hour of the race the average speed was 36,7km/h.

Medyannikov steadily built his lead to 3'30, but as the pack approached the second intermediate sprint point, Credit Agricole put the pressure on, and by the time Team German's Andre Greipel took out the field sprint ahead of Team Barloworld's Aussie sprinter Hilton Clarke, in Chambord, the lead was down to 2'45". The chase seemed to be on, but Medyannikov would not lie down, and he held on to a gap of 2’30’’ heading into the feedzone, with the average speed of the second hour of racing kicking up to 39,7 km/h.

Four riders tangled in a crash in the feedzone that left none injured, but disorganized the bunch, giving Medyannikov just the luck he needs to keep his escape going, and the lead built back up to 3’30’’ in Fontaines en Sologne, 3’45’’ and even 4’05’’ entering Contres. At the third intermediate sprint in Contres (Km 103,5), Medyannikov was still away by 3’20’’. Greipel once again took top points in the field sprint, this time followed by followed by Brioches de Boulangere's Anthony Charteau.

Just after the third sprint, the pack turned up the heat, melting Medyannikov's lead to a mere 1"50" by the 111th kilometre, but the brave Kazahk would not lie down, and heading into the finishing circuits, he had a lead of 2'22", as more crashes without major consequence broke up the field's concentration on their quarry.

Alas, it was not to be for the Kazahk, however. With 25 kilometres to the finish and Brioches la Boulangère cranked into high gear and Medyannikov's lead would be the casualty. with 17 kilometres from the finish, the gap was 1’30, adn on the final pass through the finishing straight, the hounds were hot on his tail at only 7". Medyannikov, after a hardman's ride, was caught in the final circiut.

The last lap was fast and furious, with attacks flying off the front, but no one able to esacpe the vigilance of the sprinters teams. Coming in hot under the flamme rouge, it was a combined train of Brioches La Boulangere and in the driver's seat. Brioches de Boulangere's Sébastien Chavabnel launching his sprint 300 metres before the line, took the win, with his teammate Jimmy Engoulvent right behind him.

Medyannikov hung tough for 14th, and Bradley Wiggins finished with the pack to keeep the yellow jersey. Team USA suffered an early casualty, as Tom Danielson did not take the start today.

Brief Results
1 CHAVANEL Sébastien FRA BLB 3h 50' 58"
2 ENGOULVENT Jimmy FRA BLB 00' 00"
3 GILBERT Philippe BEL FDJ 00' 00"
4 DE VOCHT Wim BEL QDL 00' 00"
5 PODGORNIK Dean SLO PER 00' 00"
6 CLARKE Hilton AUS BAR 00' 00"
7 DEREPAS David FRA FDJ 00' 00"
8 VASTARANTA Jukka FIN RB3 00' 00"
9 SILLONIZ Josu ESP EUS 00' 00"
10 BRESCHEL Matti DEN DEN 00' 00"
71 FRISCHKORN William USA USA 00' 00"
86 MCCARTY Patrick USA USA 00' 00"
92 PATE Danny USA USA 00' 00"
115 CREED Michael USA USA 00' 21"
117 MILNE Shawn USA USA 00' 21"

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