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Etixx goes one-two in Provence stage 2 sprint

Italian Davide Martinelli earned his first major win since 2011 in stage 2 of Le Tour de la Provence. It was a banner day for Etixx – Quick-Step, as Martinelli’s teammate Fernando Gaviria finished second after 180km of racing to Istres, France, but the sprint finish was marred by a crash, caused by a speed bump, just after a left-hand turn with 110 meters to go.

“In the finale I was at the front, as my job was to lead Fernando [Gaviria],” Martinelli said. “I came out of the last corner in first position with Fernando on my wheel, and when I took a look over my shoulder I saw that it was only me and him, as some riders have crashed. We had a good gap, looked one another in the eyes and agreed on the outcome, so Fernando gave me the win. He was class act and I can’t thank him enough for this.

Androni Giocattoli’s Daniele Ratto was third in Wednesday’s sprint. Tuesday’s winner, Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie), kept his overall lead in the three-day race, seven seconds ahead of Etixx’s Petr Vakoc.

The final stage will run 171 kilometers from La Ciotat to Marseille on Thursday.