Yauheni Hutarovich of Team Française Des Jeux wins the 1st stage of the 2010 Tour of Mediterranean, beating out William Bonnet of Team BBox and Maxim Iglinsky of Team Astana by seconds.
Hutarovich seems to be enjoying a repeat of his victories in this same event last year. It must be remembered that he won two stages in the 2009 Tour of Mediterranean, including the first. This year, he repeats the feat by claiming the opening stage, finishing ahead of Bonnet by 4 seconds and Iglinsky by 6. Hutarovich will be sporting the leader’s jersey during the 170-km 2nd stage race this Thursday.
The icy tailwinds blasted the group of racers early on, which forced several of the pre-race favorites to separate from the front of the pack and lose precious time. The winds also pushed the riders to race through the 95-km course in speeds reaching up to 54 kmh.
Hutarovich managed to out-sprint Bonnet early on out of a 17-man bunch, and managed to hold on to the lead until the finish line. Team Caisse d’Epargne’s Alejandro Valverde finished in the top ten (7th place), with team Astana’s Alexandre Vinokourov joining him.
The Spanish rider said that even though he had a difficult time finishing the race, it was still a good sign that most of the other racers had dropped back two minutes behind into the general classification.