Thu, Mar 24, 2016 - Page 18 News List

Bouhanni wins 2nd straight Volta stage to keep overall lead

AP, OLOT, Spain

French cyclist Nacer Bouhanni celebrates his Volta Ciclista a Catalunya second stage victory in Mataro, Spain, on Tuesday.

Photo: EPA

Nacer Bouhanni of France won the second stage of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya on Tuesday, adding to his victory in the opening stage and increasing his overall lead.

The Cofidis rider sprinted ahead of the pack to claim the relatively flat 178.8km ride from Mataro to Olot in 4 hours, 39 minutes and 10 seconds.

Belgium’s Gianni Meersman was second, followed by fellow Belgian Philippe Gilbert.

“The victory is very important for the team,” Bouhanni said. “It is our fourth to start the season and that is a great way to begin.”

Race favorites Chris Froome of the UK, Spain’s Alberto Contador and Colombia’s Nairo Quintana all finished safely in the peloton and are 20 seconds off Bouhanni’s overall lead.

Belgium’s Thomas de Gendt was the last of a group of four escapees to be caught by the peloton about 12km from the finish.

Bouhanni extended his advantage to 14 seconds over second-placed Ben Swift of England in the general classification.

An expert sprinter, Bouhanni said he hoped to “get another win after the mountain stages.”

The route yesterday headed into the Pyrenees, with a 172.1km ride from Girona to La Molina.

Froome, Contador, Quintana and other top climbers like Joaquim Rodriguez were expected to find the terrain suitable to attack Bouhanni’s lead.

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