Victor Lafay escaped from the group of the favourites one kilometre before the end to deliver the stage victory the Cofidis team waited for fifteen year – since Sylvain Chavanel outclassed Jérémy Roy in Montluçon in 2008. Lafay maintained the tradition of French stage wins in San Sebastian after Louis Caput in 1949 and Dominique Arnould in 1992. Third on the line, Tadej Pogacar gained four seconds of time bonus while Adam Yates retained the yellow jersey.
POWLESS, BOASSON HAGEN AND CAVAGNA IN THE LEAD
174 riders started stage 2 in Vitoria-Gasteiz at 12.32. One non-starter: Richard Carapaz (EF Education-EasyPost). Three riders managed to go clear at km 8, firstly Edvald Boasson Hagen (TotalEnergies) and Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost), joined secondly by Rémi Cavagna (Soudal-Quick Step). The maximum time gap of 4’55’’ was recorded at km 68 as Vegard Stake Laengen was pulling the bunch for UAE Team Emirates until his team-mate Mikkel Bjerg took over. The peloton was 2’30’’ adrift and it was raining when Mark Cavendish got dropped in a non-categorized climb with 83km to go. Cavagna could no longer hold the pace in the ascent to Alkiza where Powless mathematically secured his polka dot jersey at km 140.9. All the riders dropped got back to the pack with 57km to go as they followed Cavendish’s servant Gianni Moscon.
POGACAR FIRST AT JAIZKIBEL
With 40km to go, the deficit of the peloton was down to two minutes. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) and Ben O’Connor (AG2R-Citroën) crashed 37km before the end but got back to the pack pretty quickly. With 36km to go, Powless distanced Boasson Hagen and continued solo en route to the Jaizkibel, the main difficulty of the main located 16.5km away from the finishing line. The American had 1’30’’ lead at the bottom of 8-km long climb. He was reeled in 2.5km before the summit and it was all together again with 19.5km remaining. Pogacar won the bonus point atop the Jaizkibel before Vingegaard while Simon Yates crested in third position. Pogacar and Vingegaard went away in the downhill but were brought back by the reduced yellow jersey group with 12km to go.
LAFAY SOLOES AT THE FLAMME ROUGE
Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) rode away solo at the end of the downhill. He was reeled in with 5.5km to go by 25 riders. Jumbo-Visma led the group until Victor Lafay (Cofidis) attacked with 1km to go. The Frenchman fended off the riders sprinting behind him to beat Wout van Aert and claim his first Tour de France stage win, two years after he imposed himself in a stage of the Giro d’Italia as well.