Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni, riding for Cofidis, turned in an explosive burst of power as he sprinted to victory in the second stage of the Criterium du Dauphine on Monday following a 173km ride from Le Bourget-du-Lac to Villars-les-Dombes.
British 25-year-old Peter Kennaugh, who won the opening stage, retains the leader’s jersey after finishing with the main pack.
Another Frenchman Samuel Dumoulin was second with Italian Sacha Modolo, a winner of two stages on the recent Giro d’Italia, claiming the final place on the podium.
“Im really happy for the Cofidis team, it was a great win and I’m very happy,” said Bouhanni.
“The conditions were ideal, I really counted on my teammates who did a great job and I’m really super happy and it’s a great relief.” he added.
“I’ve cut my season in three sections, first the Paris-Nice, then the Classics (Milan-SanRemo and Gand-Wevelgem), then the Dauphine, the French championships and Tour de France, and finally the world championships,” added Bouhanni.
“For the Tour (de France), the Dauphine is the ideal preparation. At the end of the week, I will be amongst the climbers for the mountain stages which will get me into shape.” added the Frenchman who is still looking for his first stage success on the Tour de France.
Kennaugh, who rides for the Sky team, led by former Tour de France champion Chris Froome, maintains a two second lead in the overall standings over Modolo and Bouhanni on a day suited for a sprint finish.
Defending Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali of Italy and Froome the 2013 winner, two of the main contenders for the overall victory, finished in the main bunch and are well positioned behind Kennaugh.
A three-man escape formed during the stage with Frenchmen Arnaud Courteille and Perrig Quemeneur as well as Daniel Teklehaimanot of Eritrea building up a lead of seven minutes before eventually being reeled in by the peloton with 3km to race.
In a bunch sprint for the line, Bouhanni negotiated his way through the pack of riders bidding for victory and sprinted clear for a well-deserved win.
The 24-year-old Bouhanni shot to fame in 2014 when he won three stages on the Giro d’Italia and won the points jersey.
Tuesday features a team time-trial over 24.5km between Roanne and Montagny with the race set to finish on Sunday.
Leading stage and overall results from the second stage of the Criterium du Dauphine on Monday, a 173km ride from Bourget-du-Lac and Villars-les-Dombes:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (FRA/COF) 4hr 23min 46sec, 2. Samuel Dumoulin (FRA/ALM) same time, 3. Sacha Modolo (ITA/LAM) s.t., 4. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR/MTN) s.t., 5. Alexei Tsatevich (RUS/KAT) s.t., 6. Jonas Van Genechten (BEL/IAM) s.t., 7. Jens Keukeleire (BEL/ORI) s.t., 8. Ramunas Navardauskas (LTU/CAN) s.t., 9. Yannick Martinez (FRA/EUC) s.t., 10. Luka Mezgec (SLO/GIA) s.t. 11. Mickaël Delage (FRA/FDJ) s.t., 12. Fumiyuki Beppu (JPN/TRE) s.t., 13. Tiesj Benoot (BEL/LOT) s.t., 14. Dennis van Winden (NED/LNL) s.t., 15. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA/ETI) s.t., 16. Jay McCarthy (AUS/TIN) s.t., 17. Paul Voß (GER/BOA) s.t., 18. Vicente Reynes (ESP/IAM) s.t., 19. José Mendes (POR/BOA) s.t., 20. Nathan Haas (AUS/CAN) s.t.
26. Peter Kennaugh (GBR/SKY) s.t., 43. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) s.t., 47. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) s.t.
1. Peter Kennaugh (GBR/SKY) 7hr 30min 27sec, 2. Sacha Modolo (ITA/LAM) at 0:02sec, 3. Nacer Bouhanni (FRA/COF) 0:02., 4. Samuel Dumoulin (FRA/ALM) 0:06, 5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR/MTN) 0:08, 6. Tiesj Benoot (BEL/LOT) 0:12, 7. Yannick Martinez (FRA/EUC) 0:12, 8. Jay McCarthy (AUS/TIN) 0:12, 9. Ramunas Navardauskas (LTU/CAN) 0:12, 10. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA/ETI) 0:12, 11. Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE/GIA) 0:12, 12. Cyril Gautier (FRA/EUC) 0:12, 13. José Mendes (POR/BOA) 0:12, 14. George Bennett (NZL/LNL) 0:12, 15. Pawel Poljanski (POL/TIN) 0:12, 16. Jens Keukeleire (BEL/ORI) 0:12, 17. Rui Costa (POR/LAM) 0:12, 18. Simon Gerrans (AUS/ORI) 0:12, 19. Geoffrey Soupe (FRA/COF) 0:12, 20. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) 0:12
– Agence France-Presse