Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) took his fifth Tour de France stage victory in Nice after he launched a strong and well timed attack in the last climb. He outclassed debutant Marc Hirschi (TeamSunweb) on the line and paid a tribute to his late father. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), the third breakaway rider, rounded out the podium. The Frenchman who led the Tour de France for fourteen days last year is back in the yellow jersey.
SAGAN AND SEVEN OTHER RIDERS IN THE LEAD
173 riders started stage 2 in Nice as Philippe Gilbert (Lotto-Soudal) and Rafael Valls (Bahrain-McLaren) were unable to compete due to a fractured kneecap and femur respectively. Attacks started after the flag off. It put Peter Sagan and Lukas Pöstlberger, (Bora-Hansgrohe), Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale), Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Michael Gogl (NTT) and Matteo Trentin (CCC) in the lead. After winning the intermediate sprint at km 16, Trentin got a flat tyre so the front group was reduced to seven riders. They enjoyed three minutes lead after 30km of racing. UAE Team Emirates seized the command of the peloton en route to col de la Colmiane, the first category 1 climb of the 107th Tour de France.
COSNEFROY FIRST AT LA COLMIANE, PEREZ FIRST AT COL DE TURINI
Cosnefroy attacked 1.2km before the top of La Colmiane. He reached the summit alone and formed a leading quartet with Perez, Gogl and Asgreen in the downhill. As the front group of seven reunited, Jumbo-Visma took over from UAE Team Emirates at the helm of the peloton. The Arabic squad decided to set the pace again in the ascent to col de Turini where the time difference went up to 3’30’’. Sagan lost contact with the breakaway group up the hill. Perez outsprinted Cosnefroy at the top while the peloton was timed with a deficit of 2’20’’. Yellow jersey holder Alexander Kristoff was no longer part of the pack, neither was runner up, world champion and white jersey holder Mads Pedersen.
ALAPHILIPPE, ONE YEAR LATER
The six leading riders got reeled in at the beginning of the ascent to col d’Eze with 40km to go. Nicolas Roche (Team Sunweb) passed first at the top. Critérium du Dauphiné winner Dani Martinez (EF) crashed in the downhill but made it back to the pack on the finishing line with one lap of 17.5km to go. Alaphilippe attacked with 13km to go. Hirschi (Team Sunweb) went across to him while Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) crashed after touching the back wheel of Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos). Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) counter-attacked and rejoined Alaphilippe and Hirschi at the front. Yates took the 8 seconds bonus at the top, before Alaphilippe and Hirschi with an advantage of 20 seconds over the peloton. They kept the same gap until the red flame of the last kilometre and contested the win. Alaphilippe outsprinted Hirschi while Yates crossed the line in third place. Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) and Sergio Higuita (EF) took the first two places of the peloton.