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Take the good with the bad says Henderson
Jul 3rd, 12. Stage 2. There was plenty for Greg Henderson to be happy about today - the Kiwi did a fantastic leadout job for his Lotto Belisol teammate Andre Greipel, but Mark Cavendish spoiled his party.
At the end of Stage 2 of the Tour de France, the 207km trek from Vise to Tounai, Lotto Belisol had taken charge of the race.
After BMC's George Hincapie and his passenger, defending Tour Champion Cadel Evans, had finally moved off the front of the race with 3km to go, Lotto Belisol had their full leadout train take over.
Behind them the other teams and their sprinters scrambled to fight for position.
One by one Henderson's teammates dug deep then pulled off to allow the next rider to do their job until it was just the Kiwi and the German to go with 1km left to ride.
Henderson checked his sprinter was on his wheel, then delivered a massive effort to get Greipel to the maximum speed possible as he dropped him off in perfect position 250m before the finish line.
Unfortunately when Greipel flew past, Henderson could see the World Champion was right on his wheel.
Without a team train of his own, Cavendish (Team Sky) had worked his way through the field in the run to the line, eventually edging yesterday's stage winner Peter Sagan (Liquigas Cannondale) out of the way to take the prime position behind Greipel.
"He was the only guy I didn't want to see on Greipel's wheel," Henderson told RoadCycling.co.nz after the first test of the Tour's sprinters.
"Take the good with the bad. Very disappointed, but we were dominant," he said. "It is a good sign. If we do this we will win eventually."
Cavendish (Team Sky) took his 21st Tour de France win, Greipel was 2nd and Matthew Goss (Orica GreenEdge) 3rd.
Argos Shimano sprinter Marcel Kittel was nowhere to be seen - a stomach bug left him at the wrong end of the peloton today. Fortunately for the team built around Kittel, Tom Veelers was able to step up into his place and cross the line 4th, just ahead of Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) and Sagan, who finished in 6th place but is the new leader of the Green Jersey competition.
RoadCycling.co.nz asked Henderson what he thought about BMC driving the front in the latter part of the race, "It's life, it's the rules. You have to respect the rules and respect the GC men."
With a bunch sprint giving most riders the same time, Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Nissan Trek) retained his lead in the General Classification today.
Tomorrow the GC riders will be up the front again when the peloton reaches France for the first time. Stage 3 covers six category climbs in the second half of the 197km journey from Orchies to Boulonge-sur-Mer.
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