Wout van Aert took a solo victory in Calais after he failed to win the time trial and bunch sprints in Denmark. First on the line after three second places, the Belgian extended his lead in the overall classification on the eve of the cobbled stage to Arenberg. Jasper Philipsen won the bunch sprint eight seconds behind the Maillot Jaune and Christophe Laporte rounded out the podium.
MAGNUS CORT AWAY AGAIN, WITH ANTHONY PEREZ
176 riders took the start of stage 2 in Dunkirk at 13.29. Anthony Perez (Cofidis) was the first attacker, from the gun, quickly followed by Magnus Cort (EF Education-Easyport). They reached an advantage of 6’39’’ after 25km of racing before Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl got organised at the helm of the peloton. The time difference was down to 4’45’’ atop Mont Cassel where Cort took one more KOM point and thus secured his polka dot jersey for at least two more days. Quick Step put the hammer down in the descent and split the peloton in three pieces. The time gap went below 4’ before going on the up again as the bunch slowed down after regrouping. Perez was first on the line of the intermediate sprint at Lumbres (km 63).
PEREZ ON HIS OWN IN THE LAST HOUR OF RACING
Perez and Cort got a maximum advantage of 7’15’’ at km 80. Lotto-Soudal, Alpecin-Deceuninck and later Trek-Segrafredo upped the tempo at the head of the peloton. As Cort took his ninth consecutive KOM victory at côte de Nielles-lès-Bléquin, he mathematically secured the polka dot jersey until stage 7 to La Super Planche des belles filles. He continued collecting KOM points at côte de Harlettes (km 102.7) where the time gap was reduced to 2’25’’ and côte de Ventus (km 123.6) where the peloton was timed only 1’15’’ adrift. Right after the second last climb of the day, Perez attacked to go solo with 45km to go.
VAN AERT ON THE OFFENSIVE IN THE LAST CLIMB
Perez was reeled in before the top of Cap Blanc-Nez with 11km as Van Aert passed him after his Jumbo-Visma team sped up in the climb. The Maillot Jaune forged on by himself after Adam Yates and Jonas Vingegaard failed to remain in his slipstream. He kept going on a time trial mode till the finish line in Calais to grab one more spectacular stage victory, his seventh at the Tour de France but the first one with the yellow jersey on his shoulder. Another Belgian came second as Jasper Philipsen celebrated as well, obviously not knowing that his compatriot had remained alone ahead.
Wout van Aert: "I didn't want to risk losing"
“I didn’t want to take the risk of losing anymore. It was quite obvious that we were trying something with the team. We were in a perfect position with Nathan [van Hooydonck] and Steven [Kruijswijk]. Nathan opened up. We heard through the radio that some damage was made, so I went full gas to see what would happen. I was a bit in doubt, if I had to wait for Jonas [Vingegaard] and [Adam] Yates but I went full gas so Jonas didn’t have to ride. In the last10km I went all out. This jersey gives wings. It was definitely a tough climb but this stage was very...