AFP - David Millar's breakaway bid to win the second stage of the Dauphine Libere failed over the home stretch here on Monday as he was caught by the chasing pack headed by Italy's Angelo Furlan.
The 31-year-old Scot of the Slipstream team had surged into the lead a minute before the finish of the 228-kilometre stage amd looked to maintain his advantage but Furlan and several others hauled him in at the post.
Swiss rider Markus Zberg was second and Belgian Tom Boonen third. The photo finish left Millar ninth after the stage.
The stage winner minimized Millar's challenge, saying he was keeping up with Boonen: "It was a dangerous sprint and we took a lot of risks. He (Boonen) was the favourite. We had a different perception, we knew he (Millar) would be taken." Furlan added: "Perhaps this means I have earned my place on the Tour, it's a great moment."
Cadel Evans of the Silence team retained the overall lead which he seized in Sunday's time-trial at Nancy.
The Australian has an eight second advantage over 2007 Tour de France Winner, Spain's Alberto Contador (Astana).
"The important thing was to avoid a fall," the 32-year-old added after Monday's rain-affected stage. "For me the Dauphine is a rehearsal for the Tour," he added.
The Tour de France starts on July 4 in Monaco.