Australian sprint specialist Robbie McEwen won the second stage of the Tour de Suisse, while Alexander Vinokourov of Kazakhstan kept the overall lead.

McEwen completed the flat 175 kilometres from Murten to Nyon in 4 hours, 3 minutes, 10 seconds, finishing in a sprint along Lake Geneva.

He was followed by Julian Dean of New Zealand and fellow Australian Stuart O'Grady, all in the same time. Vinokourov, who won the first stage Tuesday, is three seconds ahead of Australia's Bradley McGee.

Wednesday's racing was marked by a 120-kilometre breakaway by young Irishman Mark Scanlon and Jurgen von Goolen of Belgium. The pair took the lead after 40 kilometres, at one point building up a lead of more than seven minutes.

They stayed ahead until 25 kilometres from then end when - with the lead coming down rapidly - van Goolen left Scanlon behind and struck out alone. He clung on for another five kilometres but was unable to resist the advancing pack. The exhausted Belgian gave a sad wave to the television cameras before allowing himself to be swallowed up.

With the whole pack back together, the finish on the banks of Lake Geneva came down to a sprint, with McEwen always looking threatening.

"There weren't many guys left to take control in the final stages so I let my teammates wait to the last kilometre to really start pulling, and it really worked out," McEwen said.

Thursday's third stage takes the riders 205 kilometres along the valley of the River Rhone, ending with a 20-kilometre climb to the Alpine resort of Saas Fee.