Late surge secures stage victory for Haedo

ARGENTINE Juan Jose Haedo timed his effort to perfection to snatch the second stage of the Criterium du Dauphine in a mass sprint.

The Saxo Bank rider surged ahead with some 50 metres left to pip German Martin Reimer of the Cervelo team and Lampre's Grega Bole of Slovenia.

It was another quiet day for Alberto Contador, who once again spared his team mates as the Spaniard is not looking to defend his overall leader's yellow jersey.

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Twice Tour de France champion Contador is using the eight-day race as part of his preparations for the Tour and although he is the overwhelming favourite, he has no ambitions in the Dauphine. His Astana team protected him by the front of the peloton along the 177 kilometres from Annonay, leaving the chasing work to the sprinters' teams. An early, five-man breakaway was reined in some two kilometres from the finish line and Haedo proved the strongest of the field.

He surged from the left side of the road, his thigh a few centimetres from the security barrier after France's Sebastien Chavanel had launched the sprint.

"The last 500 metres were tough," Haedo told reporters. "I knew I had to go late and that's what I did."

Today's stage will be a 49-km time trial from Monteux to Sorgues, with Contador trying out his new bike once again for the effort against the clock.

"There is still a lot of work to do on it but I think I will have a great time trial bike for the Tour," he said.

Scotland's David Millar, looking to challenge the Spaniard for the overall win, will also feature among the favourites.

"If I want to get a good overall result, I need to beat the climbers by two minutes," said Millar.