Demare wins stage 2 of Criterium; De Gendt retains the lead


ARLANC, France — French cyclist Arnaud Demare beat Alexander Kristoff in a sprint to the line to win the second stage of the Criterium du Dauphine on Monday.

Belgian rider Thomas De Gendt, the winner of the first stage, retained the overall lead.

Stage two, which was a flat route of 171 kilometers (106 miles) from Saint-Chamond to Arlanc, featured a long final straight of 4 1/2 kilometers (three miles). Demare comfortably held off Kristoff, from Norway, with Nacer Bouhanni of France third.

“It’s a big satisfaction to win at the Dauphine,” Demare said. “It’s preparation for the Tour de France so it’s a good sign.”

Defending champion Chris Froome, who is bidding to win the race for the fourth time, placed safely in the main pack. The British rider is a little more than one minute behind De Gendt overall.

The third stage on Tuesday is another flat one favoring sprinters, taking riders over 184 kilometers (114 miles) from Le Chambon-sur-Lignon to Tullins.

The race ends on Sunday.