The results for Day 2 of the Tour of Murcia looked eerily similar to the first stage, with the podium panning out exactly as it did yesterday; Garmin-TransitionsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Robbie Hunter, wearing the yellow jersey after winning the first Murcia stage on Wednesday, took another sprint victory ahead of Graeme Brown (Rabobank) and Vicente Reynes (HTC-Columbia).
ThursdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 169.8km stage from Calasparra to Caravaca sent riders twice over a tough category one climb, Alto de San Juan, which was enough for several breaks to escape off the front, including one which featured Americans Jason McCartney (RadioShack) and Danny Pate (Garmin-Transitions.) The escapees were all eventually brought back as teams were reluctant to let any riders gain too much time, looking to protect the GC hopes of their top riders.
Only one rider survived off the front coming over the final climb, as Sergey Lagutin (Vacansoleil) tried a desperate solo attempt in which he gained over two minutes only to be caught within 8km of the finish. It then became a day for the sprinters, and Garmin-Transitions showed their team prowess in Murcia to deliver Hunter for the win.
Hunter will retain the yellow leaderÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s jersey for a second day, but tomorrowÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 166.5km stage threatens to leave the sprinters behind, with a hilly stage featuring two category one climbs which should favor climbers and encourage GC contenders to try and gain some time.
Photo credit above goes to Graham Watson, who has a full photo gallery on his site here.