Sunday June 30th, 2013

Stage 2Bastia / Ajaccio

Start 13h40 GMT 2+

Bakelants cooks up a surprise in Ajaccio

Stage summary30.06.2013Stage 2- Bastia / Ajaccio

With every rider on the same time in general classification there was destined to be a shake up of the general classification in what was effectively a re-start of the hunt for the yellow jersey. If you nominated Jan Bakelants as the rider who would prevail in Ajaccio, take a bow. The 27-year-old from RadioShack-Leopard has been a pro since 2009 but has not won a race in that time. Now he's the leader of the Tour de France. He held off the peloton after an attack that came on the long, flat run to the finish. On the weekend that another Tour de France - the sailing equivalent - began in Dunkirk, there's a Belgian leader of the original Tour de France. As if to highlight the element of surprise, Bakelants not only won the stage to take the yellow jersey but he beat 'The Hulk' of cycling Peter Sagan today. The polka-dot jersey goes to Pierre Rolland, the white jersey to Michal Kwiatowski and the green jersey stays with Marcel Kittel... but only because stage two was rated 'undulating' and there were 35 points on offer the finish rather than 45 as there were for the 'flat' opening stage. The former race leader finished well behind and is no longer in the top 100 of the GC rankings.

The progress report
The official start of the second stage of the 100th Tour de France was at 1.40pm with 198 riders still in the race. The sun was shining and temperature around 28 degrees. On the menu was a 156km route from Bastia to Ajaccio with four categorised climbs – three cat-3 and one cat-2 – and one intermediate sprint that came early (at 33km).
The first attack came in the opening kilometre and by 6km there were four men in the lead: Perez Moreno (EUS), Boom (BEL), Veilleux (EUC) and Kadri (ALM). The sprinters' teams assumed their position at the front of the peloton and the advantage grew to 3'00” and hovered around that mark for the first hour. Perez Moreno was the best on GC of the escape group (in 18th after stage one).

Boom grabs some points...
Boom was allowed to lead his companions over the intermediate sprint line to add another 20pts to his tally. Greipel (LTB) led the peloton to the sprint site (2'40” behind Boom's quartet) and he beat Sagan (CAN), Danny van Poppel (VCD) and Cavendish (OPQ). The average speed for the first hour was 45.6km/h and the second hour, 34.4km/h.
The four leaders started the first climb with an advantage of 1'50” and Katusha, Omega Pharma and Lotto-Belisol led the peloton to the foot of the col de Bellagranajo. Veilleux attacked twice in the final kilometre of the first climb but he failed to gain a point: instead it was Boom who led Perez Moreno over the top to become the virtual leader of the climbing classification. The peloton was led by Garmin and Sky for most of the ascent behind by 1'00” at the top.

Rolland into the lead
At the 80km mark, early on the second climb, Veileux surged and was matched by Kadri. Voeckler danced his typical shownman dance on the second climb but his attack lasted 3km before the peloton, led by FDJ, spoiled his party. The surge by last year's polka-dot jersey winner did, however, lift the tempo enough to spit Kittel out the back. By then a grupetto was forming which included Cavendish (OPQ). Rolland (EUC) was the next to attack the peloton and he was chased by Feillu (SOJ); up ahead Kadri had a mechanical mishap that saw him lose some time and ultimately crest the third climb in second place, 20” behind Rolland. It put the two French riders on 5pts, equal first in the race for the polka-dot jersey. Sky assumed control of the peloton in the final kilometre of the col de Vizzavona (after FDJ did most of the pacesetting on the ascent). Rolland was caught by the peloton with 46km to go. By then the yellowjersey was behind by 6'30” along with a group of other dropped riders, including Danny van Poppel (VCD).

Changing the prize jerseys... Bakelants into the lead
Kittel, Kristoff and van Poppel were in a group that continued to lose time to the front peloton that included Millar, the best on GC after stage one. With 20km to go, there was 9'00” separating the two groups. Sky, Sojasun, BMC, RadioShack and Cannondale had riders at the front of the lead peloton. The reward big would go to a rider from these teams but not until after a show of strength from Gautier (EUC) and, more interestingly, Chris Froome (SKY) who attacked on the final climb. It was Flecha who started it but he was reeled in quickly. Gautier insisted, took first place at the top and had a lead of 6” over Froome who then descended into Ajaccio safely and then waited for the other GC riders. Once Gautier was caught with 7km to go, it was Chavanel on the attack on his 34th birthday. He was chased down by five others: Bakelants (RTL), Izaguirre (EUS), Mori (LAM), Fuglsang (AST) and Flecha (VCD). All but Bakelants were caught by the peloton in the final kilometre but the 27-year-old Belgian picked up the biggest win of his career, beating the peloton home by 1”.
Bakelants will wear the yellow jersey in stage three.

Stage 2 Bastia / Ajaccio

All about the stage key moments

Jersey wearers after the stage 21

Classifications after the stage 21

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These five riders have won sprint stages of the 100th Tour de France. Of these five, who do you think will win in Paris?

  • Marcel Kittel14.93%
  • Simon Gerrans1.08%
  • Mark Cavendish54.21%
  • André Greipel5.5%
  • Peter Sagan24.28%
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