Bouhanni sprints to victory in Dauphine 2nd stage
VILLARS-LES-DOMBES, France (AP) Nacer Bouhanni of France outsprinted compatriot Samuel Dumoulin to claim the second stage of the Criterium du Dauphine on Monday for his biggest win so far this season, while Peter Kennaugh remained in the overall lead.
With less than a month to go before the Tour de France, it will be a huge confidence boost for Bouhanni, who has been struggling since he joined the Cofidis team during the offseason.
Team Sky's Kennaugh - who won the opening stage on Sunday - kept the leader's yellow jersey, two seconds ahead of Sacha Modolo, who ended the 173-kilometer (107.5 mile) stage from Le Bourget-du-Lac to Villars-les-Dombes in third place.
Bouhanni made his move about 200 meters from the finish and his powerful burst of speed was unanswered by Dumoulin and Modolo.
''I'm super happy, both for myself and my team,'' said Bouhanni after claiming his first win at a World Tour race in 2015. ''They always kept faith with me despite a difficult season. But I knew I was in a good form. I keep improving with the Tour de France in the back of my mind, which is my main goal this year. I'm on the right path.''
The first attackers of the day - Arnaud Courteille, Perrig Quemeneur and Daniel Teklehaimanot - jumped out of the pack in the early stages of the race and built a maximum lead of 6 minutes and 50 seconds before they got reined in with 3.5K (2.2 miles) to go after a 170K (106-mile) breakaway.
The stage finale was marred by a crash involving Wilco Kelderman before Bouhanni made the most of the flat finish to secure a first win at the Tour de France warm-up race.
Tuesday's third stage is 24.5-kilometer (15.2-mile) team time trial between Roanne and Montagny.