The Tour Take | Tour de France Stage 2
1st – Peter Sagan
2nd – Sonny Cobrelli
3rd – Arnaud Demare
Stage 2 gave us another flat coastal day, from Moullieron-Saint-Germain to La Roche-Sur-Yon. The only climb was a Cat 4 lump, which came early in the stage, after 28km. It was merely a kilometre long, and flat roads formed the remainder of the stage. It was a tough finale though, with a descent down into the final kilometre. With 900m to go, the peloton rounded a right angle corner and headed up a false flat to the line.
Yellow – Peter Sagan
Polka Dot – Dion Smith
Green – Peter Sagan
White – Fernando Gaviria
The break didn’t take long to get away, with Sylvain Chavanel of Direct Energie, Michael Gogl of Trek Segafredo, and Dion Smith of Wanty - Groupe Gobert going away within a few kilometres of the start.
Dion Smith took the KOM sprint and drew level with Ledanois, the overnight leader of that classification. With whoever finishes the stage higher on GC being given the jersey for the next day, Smith then took the business decision to drop back to the peloton. That was the hope he can stay with the bunch and therefore stay ahead of Ledanois, who finished three minutes behind him the previous day. That ended up working, making his day a success. Gogl also dropped back to the peloton at this point too, looking like a knee injury was bothering him.
That left only the wily old Chavanel at the front, attempting the remaining 150km on his own. At that point, his lead ballooned out from two minutes to four. He fought hard and looked like he enjoyed his time out front, taking an intermediate sprint, and the 3 bonus seconds with 14km to go.
The bunch caught Chavanel just as he passed the bonus sprint, where Philippe Gilbert and Geraint Thomas took two and one seconds. The peloton was mostly controlled by the GC men, with Sky and EF - Education First at the front.
It was a calm peloton with 10km to go, but only a few kilometres later, Marcel Kittel punctured, ruining his chances for the day.
QuickStep finally came to the fore with 4km to go, and tried to string the peloton out, while Lotto Soudal were also massing numbers at the front.
But with 2km to go, disaster struck, asa wheel slipped out on a corner right near the front. Gaviria and Matthews were both brought down, and only 15 riders were left to contest the sprint.
It was Bora-Hansgrohe who wrestled control, leading out for Sagan. Despite the best efforts of Alaphilippe and Demare who opened the sprint early, and Cobrelli who tried to come around on the uphill finish, the stage was Sagan's.
Gaviria was given the same time as Sagan because the crash occurred with 2km to go, but the time bonus was enough for the World Champ to move into yellow.
The Movers and Shakers
There wasn't a lot of GC action, but Luis Leon Sanchez fell and broke his collarbone. That's a huge disadvantage for his Team Astana leader Jakob Fuglsang. The reliable climber, excellent TT rider, and road captain will be missed tomorrow, and all race long. Silvan Dillier also had a crash, coming down very hard, but got back on the bike. he's going to be crucial for Bardet, both in the TTT and in this entire first week.
Adam Yates also had a crash with around 30km. He regained contact with the peloton easily, but if there are any lingering effects, tomorrow is a bad day to be slightly off your best. With 5km to go, Luke Durbridge crashed too, in another big blow for Mitchelton-SCOTT.
For the Green Jersey, it was again Sagan and Gaviria contesting the Intermediate Sprint points. Those two both look very interested in the Jersey, and like they'll be duelling for it all the way to Paris
18th – Richie Porte
49th – Mat Hayman
75th – Mark Renshaw
85th – Simon Gerrans
87th – Simon Clarke
144th – Rory Sutherland
148th – Michael Matthews
160th – Damien Howson
165th – Michael Hepburn
167th – Heinrich Haussler
173rd – Luke Durbridge
The Next Stage
Stage 3 is a Team Time Trial, and one of the race’s decisive stages, despite coming so early. It's not a technical course, but at 35km in length and on some tough roads, it's going to produce some huge time gaps.
This stage is going to be hotter than that time your mum made a Vindaloo and got her teaspoons and tablespoons mixed up while adding the chilli. There are some seriously strong GC squads here, and they’ve got some serious motivation, after their leaders lost time in the first stage.
Sky and BMC won the TTTs at Dauphine and Suisse respectively; they’ll both be strong, as will Movistar. We'll take BMC. They’ve brought a super strong and well-rounded squad to the race, including King Kung, who’ll be driving the pace the whole way home.
See you back at the social club,