Wiggins retains his advantage
Tour de France champ Evans remains in second place
Last Updated: June 6, 2012 4:27pm
Daniel Moreno: Asserted on the uphill climb to the finish at Saint-Felicien
Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins retained the overall lead at the Criterium du Dauphine as Daniel Moreno (Katusha) won the second stage.
Moreno got the better of Julien Simon (Saur-Sojasun) and Tony Gallopin (RadioShack-Nissan) after an uphill sprint at the end of the 160 kilometres route from Lamastre to Saint-Felicien.
Wiggins finished strongly to take ninth, shadowing Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) in seventh across the line to maintain his one second overall advantage over the Australian.
The first 44 riders home were all credited with the same time as Moreno meaning there were no changes at the top of the general classification, with Andriy Grivko (Astana) and Carlos Barredo (Rabobank) two seconds back in third and fourth respectively and Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) in fifth.
Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) again lost more time and is now down to 120th, over five minutes adrift.
Evans stays in the green points jersey, Blel Kadri (AG2R La Mondiale) made the most of being in the day's big breakaway to take over the lead in the climbing classification, while Gallopin's podium finish eased him into first place in the young rider standings.
The stage was also notable for a show of strength on the front from Team Sky as they controlled matters throughout to protect Wiggins' yellow jersey, in the process underlining top spot in the team classification.
A frenetic start to the stage had seen Team Sky active from the start as Wiggins forced a hasty reaction from his rivals as he bridged into an early breakaway group which contained team-mates Edvald Boasson Hagen and Michael Rogers.
That was soon reeled in and the escape that was allowed to go clear, heading up the 16.1km Col de Montivernoux which was the first of six categorised climbs, contained Kadri, Christophe Kern (Europcar), David Moncoutié (Cofidis) and José Sarmiento (Liquigas-Cannondale).
They opened up a gap of 3:35 after 50km but it was pegged at that point and started to come down rapidly in the final third as Team Sky continued to boss matters on the front.
It was less than a minute going into the final 35km and that prompted a number of riders to try their luck off the front of the main group but only Anthony Roux (FDJ-Big Mat) was able to bridge the gap.
His time with the breakaway riders was short-lived as they were swept up inside the final 10km as BMC Racing powered to the head of affairs to try and tee up reigning Tour de France champion Evans for a second stage win in succession.
However it was Moreno who had the last word and he told reporters: "Considering the finish it was a good stage for me.
"Maybe I wasn't considered a favourite by everyone but I made myself a favourite and I wanted to win.
"With last year's stage of the Vuelta and the Tour of Piedmonte, this is one of the three best victories I have collected."
So far so good
After the stage, Wiggins told www.teamsky.com how the day had panned out for him, saying: "Everyone knew the race went straight uphill right away and our objective was to make it hard from the start.
"Once again the team were incredible, they were fantastic throughout the day and they made my job a lot easier.
"When the four-man break eventually went clear it was a lot more straightforward, albeit still a hard day.
"It was all about respecting the jersey by defending it and also staying safe. It was also a hectic finish so it’s good to have got through it all okay and that’s another day down."