What's Cool In Road Cycling

Lotto Belisol: Report Tour stage 2

Jan Bakelants has won the 2nd stage of the Tour the France and takes over the yellow jersey from Kittel. He finished before Sagan And Kwiatkowski after a very close escape during the last kilometre. During this 2nd stage of the 100th Tour the peloton headed from Bastia to the capital of Corsica Ajaccio, diagonally crossing the mountain region of the island. Because of the rather heavy climbs the sprinters Cavendish, Kittel and eventually André Greipel were left behind at the climb of 2nd category.

Almost immediately after the official start at 13h40 the four riders Boom, Kadri, Veilleux and Perez got away. Boom, who just like yesterday took the lead of the escape, has won the intermediate sprint after 33km. André Greipel earned 11 points at the supersprint as he crossed the line 5th, beating Sagan and Cavendish. After 70km Boom also reached the top of the Col de Bellagranajo (3rd category) first. However, when they arrived at the second climb of the day the escapees were caught. Only Kadri could manage to keep in front of the peloton and took the points at the Col de la Serra (3rd category). When the riders reached the heaviest climb of the day, the Col de Vizzavona, Rolland jumped out of the peloton. He finished first at the top of this 2nd category climb and has the honour to wear the polka dot jersey tomorrow. Yet the gap between Rolland and the peloton was never larger than 3 minutes and he was caught at 45km from the finish line.

Just before the last climb of the day at 12km from the end Flecha, Gautier and Froome attacked. Jurgen Van den Broeck, who was riding in the front of the peloton together with a very strong Adam Hansen, reacted vigilantly and the peloton was able to close the gap eventually. The winner of the 2nd stage is a survivor of the very last escape. With just 5km to go 6 riders broke loose: Bakelants, Fuglsang, Flecha, Chavanel, Kreuziger and Izagirre. 1.5km from the finish Jan Bakelants could prevent himself being caught up by the peloton and he was able to reach the finish line solo.

Herman Frison, sports director of Lotto Belisol, is relatively pleased about the outcome of the stage:

Herman Frison: “From the beginning the situation was rather convenient. We feared a large group of riders would escape to avoid a bunch sprint, but the 4 leaders never got the chance to succeed, because Argos-Shimano and Omega Pharma – Quick-step were working hard to hold the escape in check. Lotto Belisol too made sure the gap was never larger than 3 minutes.”

“In the lead-up to the heaviest climb of the day team FDJ began to race at a very high pace, against all expectations. We thought Cannondale would want to control the race to eliminate the other sprinters in favour of Sagan. Because FDJ was speeding up Cavendish and Kittel were left behind. At first André Greipel managed to keep up, but he had to let go of the peloton eventually. With the support of Lars Bak and Bart De Clercq he could reduce the gap with the peloton to 35 seconds, but when BMC and Cannondale began to speed up again, it was not possible for them anymore to join the peloton.”

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