There was a huge expectation this Sunday before the second stage of a Tour de France that has opted for an explosive start and reached the famous Brittany wall, still revolutionized by the falls on Saturday and the warnings about the danger of an uncontrolled public, surprised (although it was not the topic of the day) by the demonstration of Julian Alaphilippe in the last port on Saturday.
The yellow ‘jersey’ was the logical favorite to take a stage of similar design, broadly speaking, decorated by a double spicy step along the Wall, the region’s Alpe d’Huez (as local fans call it, despite its short length, in view of its terrible initial kilometer), all after having passed several third and fourth category tacks. The absence of rain relieved the nervous tension of a platoon too bruised to have run a single stage, already diminished by relevant dropouts such as that of Marc soler and very focused on getting their leaders in good standing, in anticipation of more accidents even on dry ground.
The (unsuccessful) getaway of the day was for Jeremy Cabot (TotalEnergies) and Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo), which would be swallowed 18 kilometers from the finish line, when the teams positioned themselves on the front lines. Deceunink, the team of the leader, was the one that had worked the most during the day and the conditions seemed to announce another start brutal of ‘D’Artagnan’. But on the initial ramps of the first ascent, it was Mathieu van der Poel who broke the race with a whip to whom no one could respond, moving a very high development. There were more than 16 kilometers to go.
Primer ‘sprint’ final
The Dutchman took the Wall bonus (8 seconds), with Pogacar (5) second and Roglic (2) third in a sprint that gave off the aroma of gunpowder. Then Van der Poel was finally caught and the squad advanced regrouped, in a state of maximum alert, towards the second pass through the Wall. A classic tour for a very premiere hot of Tour. All the candidates and favorites reached the decisive ramps together.
Despite the stupor at the first fall, the cameras still showed clinical cases of irresponsibility running alongside the cyclists. With two kilometers to go, the ascent began, commanded by Ineos (Castroviejo) at a suffocating pace. The first to attack was Nairo quintana, 1.3 kilometers. Van der Poel jumped and thunder was unleashed, without the Colombian managing to make a hole. A final sprint between Pogacar, Roglic and Van der Poel, who left the most powerful of the insurgents dry, Colbrelli, and left alone and without debate to cross the Wall line first, get another 10 bonus seconds and take the rematch from the fall of Saturday.
The Sunday hero is the new leader of the Tour: an extraordinary feat for the grandson of Raymond Poulidor, that he attacked twice on the Wall of Brittany and was able to honor his teacher, the myth that he never managed to wear yellow in France. The interview later on television could not be completed: the impressive 26-year-old cyclist could not stop sobbing.
Until @javierares gets on his knees! ??
– Eurosport.es (@Eurosport_ES) June 27, 2021