Cycling: Andersen secures second stage win: Henry is outmanoeuvred in hill-climb sprint finish as riders chase Joey McLoughlin's speed record

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The Independent Online
CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN gained his second stage victory in this year's Milk Race by pipping last year's winner, Conor Henry of Ireland, on the line after a sprint finish in Great Malvern yesterday.

The Dane, who had won Friday's stage to Milton Keynes in record time at an average speed of over 30mph, maintained the momentum which is bringing the riders closer to Joey McLoughlin's race record of 26.22mph.

This time the speed was only 27.73mph, but then the finish in Church Street was enough to bring anyone to their knees. However, Andersen, who is recovering from the effects of a back injury suffered in a crash on the first day, took the seventh and final climb of Church Street with ease, passing Henry after he had made his break for victory.

'It was not very hard, and now the antibiotics I took for my injuries are clearing from my system I hope for more success,' Andersen said. 'When Conor made his move I went past him, and when I looked to see who was at my back wheel there was no one. I knew I could win this one.'

Elgar's countryside basked in the sun but there was little pomp and circumstance on the sixth day of the world's leading amateur race. The teams have given no quarter in the first half of the event and even the permitted percentage of professionals have felt the strain.

Chris Lillywhite was not unhappy to surrender his five-day tenancy of the leader's yellow jersey to the Belgian amateur Nico Mattan.

'The pressure is no longer on us to defend the lead,' his Banana team- mate, Shane Sutton, said. Sutton was carrying the bruises from a pile-up on Friday in which Banana lost Keith Reynolds with a fractured wrist.

Now the Banana team are massing behind Mattan, with Ben Luckwell, Saturday's stage winner, in third place and Brian Smith in fourth. However, they are reluctant to reveal their tactics until the time is right, especially with a team weakened by injury.

The riders rest today and the race resumes tomorrow with a 125-mile run from Birmingham to Llandudno via the Horseshoe Pass and Sportsman's Pass. With even tougher stages to come the average speed is sure to fall and the riders' enthusiasm to attack as often as they have in the past week may be blunted by the likes of Holme Moss and Blackstone Edge.

MILK RACE Seventh stage (Great Malvern circuit, 74.2 miles): 1 C Andersen (Den) 2hr 40min 31sec; 2 C Henry (Irl) same time; 3 H Vogels (Aus) +2sec; 4 A Pedersen (Nor); 5 J Mickiewicz (Pol); 6 T Pawson (NZ); 7 G Rice (Aus); 8 C Lillywhite (GB, Banana); 9 N van der Steen (Neth); 10 B Smith (GB, Banana) all s/t. Overall: 1 N Mattan (Bel) 24:10:05; 2 C Lillywhite +33sec; 3 B Luckwell (GB, Banana) +50; 4 B Smith +1min 14sec; 5 C Henry s/t; 6 M Rendell (NZ) +1:18; 7 N van der Steen (Neth) +1:21; 8 K Marcussen (Den) +1:23; 9 O Simensen (Nor) +1:24; 10 A Mizourov (Kaz) +1:28. Other British overall placings: 11 M Stephens (GB, amateur) +1:46; 16 J Tanner (Neilson-Tivoli) +2:06; 17 W Randle (Neilson-Tivoli) s/t; 25 S Bray (Britannia) +2:50; 26 R Holden (Neilson-Tivoli) +3:10; 27 J Charlesworth (Britannia) +3:52. Stage team: 1 Banana 8:01:39; 2 Denmark +1sec; 3 Australia +4. Overall team: 1 Banana 72:14:13; 2 Denmark +2:24; 3 Neilson-Tivoli +4:23. King of the Mountains: A Mizourov 55pts; 2 S Walhuter (SA, Southern Sun) 36; 3 R Romanik (Pol) 34. Sprints: 1 J Mickiewicz 19pts; 2 C Lillywhite 10; 3= B Dennis (Aus), A Kivilev (Kaz), B Smith, R Holden (Neilson-Tivoli) 5. Points classification: 1= M van Steen (Neth) and H Vogels 59; 2 H Vogels 59; 3= C Lillywhite, N van der Steen, W Engelbrecht (SA, Southern Sun) 39. Combined classification: B Smith 22; 2 N Mattan 37; 3 C Lillywhite 47.

(Maps omitted)