McEwen Grabs Stage 2 Win; Hushovd Retakes Yellow Jersey
ESCH-SUR-ALZETTE, Luxembourg Veteran Australian sprinter Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) added to his nearly 100 career wins Monday in Stage 2 of the Tour de France, while Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) of Norway regained the overall lead in the 93rd running of the race.
Robbie McEwenAustralia’s Robbie McEwen gets the win at the death.
McEwen, a sprinting specialist, edged Tom Boonen (Quick-Step) of Belgium and Hushovd to claim the race’s second-longest stage, a 141.9-mile trek from Obernai to Esch-Sur-Alzette in five hours, 36 minutes, and 14 seconds.
Hushovd, a two-time career Tour stage winner who assumed the first race leader’s yellow jersey of his career after winning Saturday’s prologue, gained bonus time during the route’s intermediate sprints and for his third place at the finish.
Hushovd now leads Boonen by five seconds. McEwen, who claimed his ninth Tour de France stage win, is third overall, trailing by eight seconds.
George Hincapie (Discovery Channel) of Greenville, South Carolina, who Sunday became the fourth American to lead the Tour de France, fell to fourth overall, trailing Hushovd by ten seconds. Hincapie finished 21st in the stage in the same time as the first 141 riders.
As a former sprinting specialist, Hincapie has transitioned into a climber, time trialist, and overall title contender. As such, he strategically didn’t battle against the sport’s current best sprinters Monday and was content to relinquish his race lead.
David Zabriskie (CSC) of Salt Lake City placed 119th in the stage and is the only other American in the top-ten overall, trailing by 16 seconds and in fifth place. A good portion of the peloton was detained by a crash with about one mile left in the stage. But riders are not penalized for crashes that occur in the final three kilometers of stages.
The event also lost its first rider after Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) of Italy did not start because of a urinary infection.
The remaining field of 175 will ride the 134.5-mile Esch-sur-Alzette to Valkenburg third stage Tuesday. The route has six categorized climbs, all category three or four.
For more of Outside Online Tour de France Correspondent James Raia’s coverage of the 2006 Tour de France, including his daily e-newsletter, go to www.byjamesraia.com.