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  Monday, 8 July, 2002, 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK
Freire claims stage two
Oscar Freire (left) wins stage two ahead of Robbie McEwen (centre) and Erik Zabel (right)
Freire (left) holds off McEwen (centre) and Zabel (right)
Mapei-QuickStep rider Oscar Freire outpaced Robbie McEwen and Erik Zabel to clinch victory in the second stage of the Tour de France from Luxembourg to Sarrebruck in Germany.

The Spanish world champion dived out from Australian McEwen's wheel to take the stage on the line as the pair edged local favourite Zabel into third.

Stage one winner Rubens Bertogliati, of the Lampre team, retained his leader's yellow jersey after finishing in the pack on the same time.

"I've been a little bit lucky to hang on to it," said the 23-year-old Swiss.

"The breakaway was taking all the bonus points away from Zabel and the rest and the Lampre team worked well for me."

Zabel's time bonuses consolidated his lead of the green jersey points competition and lifted him to second overall, two seconds behind.

Frenchman Laurent Jalabert and three-time winner Lance Armstrong are still three seconds back after also finishing in the main group.

Germany's Erik Zabel went into second overall
Zabel went into second overall

The peloton had spent most of the 181km stage chasing a small splinter group which went clear 11km after the start.

Sylvain Chavanel (Bonjour) made the break and was followed by Thors Hushovd (Credit Agricole) and Stephane Berges (AG2R), who spent most of stage one out in front.

The trio gradually built up a lead of over five minutes before Norwegian Hushovd dropped back suffering from leg cramp.

Hushovd was consumed by the chasing peloton with 50km to go as the remaining two riders surged onwards.

But with 35 km to go the lead had been whittled down to under a minute and Berges and Chavanel shook hands and accepted that their breakaway was coming to an end.

Rubens Bertogliati retained the yellow jersey
Bertogliati retained the yellow jersey

The peloton were being driven along by the Lampre team of Bertogliati and as the gap came down to 25 seconds, Credit Agricole's Jens Voigt powered off the front.

The German quickly caught the leading French pair and surged away from them.

Voigt pushed out his lead to 50 seconds with 17km left as the German Telekom team drove the chasing pack for sprint specialist Zabel.

Voigt was eventually caught on the small climb of Riegeisberg with 11km to go.

But immediately his team-mate Sebastian Hinault tried his luck with an ultimately short-lived break down the road.

As the run-in approached Bertogliati's Lampre team set a fast pace before the Telekom team took over.

But Mapei's Freire emerged at the front to hold off McEwen and Zabel on the line.


 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Simon Brotherton
"A carnival atmosphere enveloped the race"
Green jersey holder Erik Zabel
"Freire and McEwen were better than me"
Lotto's Robbie McEwen
"I tried my plan and came second"
All the actiion from the world's greatest bike race

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See also:

08 Jul 02 | Cycling
08 Jul 02 | Cycling
08 Jul 02 | Cycling
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