Cavendish beaten on stage two

Published: Sunday 5th July 2015 by The News Editor

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Mark Cavendish’s wait for a 26th Tour de France stage win goes on after Andre Greipel won a stormy second stage to Zeeland on which favourites Nairo Quintana and Vincenzo Nibali suffered setbacks.

The peloton had been fraught with anxiety about what was to come on the North Sea coast of Holland – and their worries proved well-founded.

Howling winds and wet weather battered the riders on the 166-kilometres route from Utrecht, but Greipel came out on top as Cavendish floundered in the finishing straight to come fourth.

Many hoped the 26th win of Cavendish’s Tour career – which would take him within two of Bernard Hinault’s tally, second only to Eddy Merckx’s 34 – would come in Harrogate, his mother’s hometown, in last year’s race. Instead he finished crumpled on the Tarmac.

Twelve months to the day since that disappointment Cavendish suffered another despite being well positioned in the final metres after crosswinds and rain tore apart the peloton.

Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) beat Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Fabian Cancellara (Trek) was third to take the race leader’s yellow jersey courtesy of bonus seconds.

Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) were well positioned to exploit the mishaps of their major rivals for the maillot jaune in Paris in three weeks’ time.

The pair were part of the 26-rider lead group after Quintana (Movistar) was caught behind an early split and defending champion Nibali (Astana) was stuck behind another, along with stage one winner Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing).

Quintana and Nibali conceded more than one minute to Contador and Froome.

Monday’s 159.5km third stage from Antwerp finishes atop the category three Mur de Huy, where some of the contenders for the overall title could stretch their legs but are unlikely to gain much reward as it is only 200m long.

Published: Sunday 5th July 2015 by The News Editor

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