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Marcus Burghardt was one of a number of BMC Racing Team riders helping protect Cadel Evans on Stage 2. (©Sirotti.)
Marcus Burghardt was one of a number of BMC Racing Team riders helping protect Cadel Evans on Stage 2. (©Sirotti.)

Tour de France, Stage 2: BMC Racing Team Protects Evans

2. July 2012

The BMC Racing Team took to the front near the end of Monday's second stage of the Tour de France to keep defending champion Cadel Evans out of trouble.

Fighting To Stay In Front
Marcus Burghardt, George Hincapie, Manuel Quinziato and Michael Schär all took turns in the final 15 kilometers shepherding Evans through the run-in to Tournai, Belgium, at the end of the 207.5 kilometer race. "It's hard to stay in position when everybody wants to be in the front," Burghardt said. "I think we handled it well today and it is a big advantage with an incredibly fast bike." World road champion Mark Cavendish (Sky Procycling) narrowly took the bunch sprint win ahead of André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol Team) while Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) kept the overall lead.

Still In White
Tejay van Garderen (41st) was the BMC Racing Team's first finisher and retained the white jersey as best young rider. Evans (78th place) and Philippe Gilbert (91st) also finished in the same time as the winner to keep their top 10 positions overall. Van Garderen is fourth, 10 seconds back, Gilbert is seventh (at 13 seconds) and Evans eighth (at 17 seconds). Van Garderen said he'll continue to make looking after Evans his primary objective. "As long as I can stay close to him in the final and protect him in the mountains and make sure he's (finishing) in the same time, then maybe the white jersey can stay on my shoulders," he said.

Looking Ahead
BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said Tuesday's 197 km race will be more difficult than Stage 1, when a steep climb near the end whittled the peloton down to just a leading trio. "It's like a small classic – a mix between Liège–Bastogne–Liège  and Flèche Wallonne, with many ups and downs," Lelangue said. "It's a stage where we will need to stay safe and I think we will see a beautiful show in the last hour of racing."

Complete audio comments from van Garderen and Lelangue are available on the BMC Racing Team Tour de France AudioLine.