Stage 2: Cala Millor to Son Servera, 162.7 km/101 mi
- by Cathy Mehl / photos © Graham Watson

Feb 11, 2008

:: Official race web site: www.vueltamallorca.com/challenge08

Team Astana riders were ready to compete today with fast man René Haselbacher attacking in the final 1000 meters of racing. Facing the uphill slope Haselbacher couldn't hold his drive to the line but proved to be a perfect locomotive for sprint specialist Tomas Vaitkus who took the lead at 200m to go. With the last 100m still climbing uphill Vaitkus was unable to hold off a determined Graeme Brown (Rabobank), who took both the stage and the lead in Mallorca.

Under slightly cloudy skies and temperatures sitting around 14C (58F), a peloton of 165 riders lined up to contest stage two at the 17th Challenge Mallorca. After only 1km of racing a break of five riders attacked and quickly established a gap. With the peloton uninterested in chasing them down so early in the game, the gap grew to over 10 minutes after only 22k of racing. Taking all the stage points up for grabs, the group of five worked well together and stayed away for much of the race.

Near the halfway mark Gerolsteiner moved to the front of the race and upped the pace to start the process of bringing back the break. Joined by the teams of Rabobank and Quickstep the time gap came down quickly and with the increased speeds the break began to fall apart and were finally caught with 5km to go.


Time for a laugh betwen teammates Tomas Vaitkus and TdF winner Alberto Contador

After Haselbacher's early attack followed by Vaitkus' try at 200m, a hard-charging Brown crossed just in front of Denis Flahaut (Saunier Duval-Scott) and Gert Steegmans (Quick Step). Vaitkus was happy at the finish line, but reflected on the moment with disappointment as well: "I should have waited a bit longer. It was a miscalculation, that's all." Vaitkus took 6th as best placed team rider on the stage. Team director Alain Gallopin arrived late in the night and is happy with the team's performance so far in the race.

Right on his wheel came Antonio Colom for 9th. With his residence in Mallorca, Toni is a fan-favorite in the race and was awarded flowers for being the best-placed Mallorquinian rider. Colom is right in the mix, sitting with a group of riders just three seconds off the pace and plenty of time-grabbing climbs still to come as the Challenge Mallorca continues on Tuesday with stage three from Pollenca to Port d'Alcudia.

*Beyond the Finish Line: The island of Mallorca is more than just a place for a Mediterranean beach holiday. In addition to the beautiful fine sand beaches there are wonderful walking trails starting in Son Servera that will allow the visitor to discover rural traditions and explore quiet villages. The variety of scenery on the island is stunning and one can enjoy views from below or on top of magnificent mountains, or combine a coastal walk with a refreshing dip in the sea.

Team News: German champion Andreas Klöden has arrived in Mallorca, but after being around his sick children in Switzerland he has come down with it too. Andreas will stay in Mallorca until the Volta ao Algarve but will probably be unable to race in Challenge Mallorca.

Stage 2 Results
1º 114 BROWN, Graeme AUS RABOBANK 3:53:52
2º 40 FLAHAUT, Denis FRA SAUNIER DUVAL-SCOTT mt.
3º 106 STEEGMANS, Gert BEL QUICK STEP mt.
4º 137 GILBERT, Philippe BEL FRANCAISE DES JEUX mt.
5º 16 ROJAS, Jose J. ESP CAISSE D`EPARGNE mt.
6º 93 VAITKUS, Tomas LIT ASTANA mt.
7º 156 PEREZ, Aitor ESP EXTREMADURA-G. Galla mt.
8º 25 GALDOS, Aitor ESP EUSKALTEL-EUSKADI mt.
9º 79 COLOM, Antonio ESP ASTANA a 03
10º 251 SCHMITZ, Bram NED VAN VLIET EBH ELSHOF a 03

Team Astana Results
41º 78 CONTADOR, Alberto ESP a 03
43º 91 NOVAL, Benjamin ESP a 03
57º 81 DE KORT, Koen NED a 03
62º 82 FREI, Thomas SUI a 03
64º 80 JOACHIM, Benoit LUX a 03
99º 92 PAULINHO, Sergio POR a 20
146º 83 HASELBACHER, René AUT a 01:50

General Classification after Stage 2
1BROWN, Graeme AUS RABOBANK 05:56:56
2 GILBERT, Philippe BEL FRANCAISE DES JEUX mt.
3 FLAHAUT, Denis FRA SAUNIER DUVAL-SCOTT mt.
4 STEEGMANS, Gert BEL QUICK STEP mt.
5ROJAS, Jose J. ESP CAISSE D`EPARGNE mt.
6 PEREZ, Aitor ESP EXTREMADURA-G. Galla mt.
7GALDOS, Aitor ESP EUSKALTEL-EUSKADI mt.
8FÖRSTER, Robert GER GEROLSTEINER a 03
9 VENTOSO, Fco.José ESP ANDALUCIA-CAJASUR a 03
10 SCHMITZ, Bram NED VAN VLIET EBH ELSHOF a 03

Team Astana on GC after Stage 2
14º 79 COLOM, Antonio ESP a 03
28º 91 NOVAL, Benjamin ESP a 03
34º 81 DE KORT, Koen NED a 03
45º 93 VAITKUS, Tomas LIT a 18
64º 82 FREI, Thomas SUI a 21
68º 80 JOACHIN, Benoit LUX a 21
83º 92 PAULINHO, Sergio POR a 38
104º 83 HASELBACHER, René AUT a 01:50

Results provided by http://www.vueltamallorca.com/challenge08