Victory in Bologna for Vauquelin on Stage 2

Tour de France 2024 | Stage 2 | Cesenatico > Bologne

The second stage of the 2024 Tour de France was won by Kevin Vauquelin on Sunday in the centre of Bologna, after the young Frenchman attacked on the second San Luca climb and made it to the finish line alone. Vauquelin therefore made it two wins for French riders in the first two stages, handing Arkea - B&B Hotels their first ever Tour de France victory in their 11th participation, with Jonas Abrahamsen (Uno-X) finishing second as he retained the polka dot jersey and Quentin Pacher (Groupama-FDJ) third on the stage. In the general classification Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) took over at the top with his own San Luca attack, taking the Yellow Jersey from Romain Bardet (Team dsm-firmenich PostNL).

Extended Highlights - Stage 2 - Tour de France 2024

A breakaway is formed
The 175 riders who crossed the finish line in Rimini on Stage 1 were present at the start of this second stage in Cesenatico. The parcours of the day inspired the attackers, who presented themselves in numbers at the start of the stage to attempt a breakaway. Despite a fast pace in the bunch, a significant group managed to break away at km 8, featuring Quentin Pacher (Groupama-FDJ), Axel Laurance (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Hugo Houle (Israel-Premier-Tech), Nelson Oliveira (Movistar), Jonas Abrahamsen (Uno-X), Harold Tejada (Astana), Cristian Rodriguez (Arkea-B&B), Kevin Vauquelin (Arkea-B&B), Mike Teunissen (Intermarché-Wanty), Bram Welten (dsm Firmenich) and Jordan Jegat (TotralEnergies). Brent Van Moer (Lotto-Dstny) gave chase with Michael Matthews (Jayco-AlUla) for several kilometres but they were finally unable to join the front group. None of the riders in the break represented a direct threat to the Yellow Jersey of Romain Bardet, whose dsm Firmenich teammates therefore let the gap increase, first to 5' at km 23, then to 8'20'' at km 66.

Crashes for Van Aert and Jorgenson
Abrahamsen was the first to summit the Côte de Monticino (Cat 3, km 74) - where Welten fell back from the breakaway and was caught by the main group - and the Côte de Gallisterna (Cat 3, km 88.8). At the top of the Gallisterna climb the lead of the breakaway had been reduced to 5'35” due to the energy of a nervous peloton. Norwegian rider Abrahamsen led the way through Dozza (IS, km 108.1), where Laurens de Plus (Ineos Grenadiers), Matteo Jorgenson and Wout van Aert (Visma-Lease a Bike) suffered a crash at high speed. The three quickly resumed their ride, with abrasions and bruises. The peloton eased the pace after the intermediate sprint, allowing the breakaway to increase its lead to 9'15” by km 129.

The peloton responds
Determined to retain the polka dot jersey, Abrahamsen was first on the Côte de Botteghino di Zocca (Cat 4, km 139) and the Côte de Montecalvo (3rd, km 151.2). It was on the Montecalvo ascent that the peloton quickened its pace, with the Red Bull-Bora-Hansgrohe team of Primoz Roglic and the Lotto-dstny colleagues of Maxim Van Gils producing a strong acceleration that reduced the peloton and decreased the gap to the breakaway to 4'15” on the first crossing of the Bologna finish line (km 162.5). On the first ascent of the Côte de San Luca (Cat 3, km 168.3) there were several attacks without final consequences in front and a sustained pace from Visma-Lease a Bike behind. Abrahamsen took first place on the first ascent of San Luca again, 3'25" ahead of the main group.

No-one can match Vauquelin
The first climb to the San Luca sanctuary shook up the lead group, which regrouped momentarily but exploded under the effect of Neilson Oliveira's attack, 21 km from the finish. The Portuguese rider was only followed by Kevin Vauquelin and Jonas Abrahamsen. The trio advanced for the second time towards the climb of San Luca, where the Arkea-B&B rider managed to go solo. Vauquelin built up a lead of 40 seconds which he managed to maintain in the final kilometres and he won uncontested at the finish line, 36” in front of Abrahamsen.

Evenepoel and Carapaz stay in contact
On the second San Luca climb the battles also played out in the peloton, where Romain Bardet lost contact mid climb and saw his Yellow Jersey slip away. 600 meters from the summit, Tadej Pogacar launched an attack only followed by Jonas Vingegaard. The protagonists of the last four editions went clear of the rest of the group of favourites, with the exception of Remco Evenepoel and Richard Carapaz who regained contact in the last kilometre of the race. At the finish line, “Pogi” was back in yellow.

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