Tour de France Stage 2 – Alaphilippe Victory

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) took his fifth Tour de France stage victory in Nice after outsprinting Marc Hirschi and Adam Yates. Alaphilippe now leads overall.

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Tour de France Stage 2 – Alaphilippe Victory

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) took his fifth Tour de France stage victory in Nice after he launched a strong and well timed attack on the last climb.

He out sprinted debutant Marc Hirschi (TeamSunweb) on the line and paid a tribute to his late father. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) was third. The Frenchman who led the Tour de France for fourteen days last year, is back in the yellow jersey.

Julian Alaphilippe “I wanted so much to get a stage victory for my late father. This was my main goal coming into the race. Everything that comes from now on is a bonus, but I wanted this victory for him and knowing that I got it makes me so happy”, an emotional Julian said after the finish. Having Kasper in the breakaway put us in the perfect position, as we could wait for the final climb. Then Dries pushed a steady tempo on Col d’Èze, before Bob took over on Quatre Chemines. This incredible effort of my team was instrumental in the victory I got.”

“Winning in the Tour always feels special. It’s true that this is my fifth victory, but it always is a different feeling. It means a lot to win here and to be in yellow. Le Tour is the biggest race in the world and wearing this prestigious jersey is always an honour. I’m not here for the overall, but we’ll try to respect the maillot jaune and defend it for as long as possible. I can tell you I will enjoy every single moment I’ll spend with it on my shoulders.”

“I hadn’t won a single race this year yet. But I’ve always remained serious with my training despite the difficult moments I went through. I dedicate this victory to my father [who passed away on June 27]. I asked my team to make the race hard. There weren’t many riders left in the last climb. I gave it all. I had nothing to lose. It was nerve wrecking but Adam Yates cooperated. I wanted to maintain the gap until the red flame. I’m kind of used to the pressure. To finish it off makes me feel good. This is the victory that I was missing. The yellow jersey is the ice on the cake.”

Adam Yates: “It was a really hard day out, even the climbs at the beginning were being ridden at a solid pace and you could feel the fatigue as we came onto the climb the first time, you could see there were a lot of people suffering, just like me.

“There were already two up the road and when they went it was still quite early and Jumbo-Visma were riding quite a hard pace anyway. So, I waited until the little steep bit and jumped across and tried to work straight away.

“In the final I got away with the two guys, we started working well towards the end, and yeah, I was never going to win that sprint, was I? So, I think third was the best I was going to come out of that situation.

“It was a block headwind and I ended up on the front, not a good scenario for me there, but like I said, I was probably never going to be winning that sprint anyway, they’re both faster than me. So, I can be happy with third.”

Matt White (Head Sports Director Mitchelton Scott): “It’s not a normal Tour de France stage two, it was a tough one today and with these special bonus seconds as well there was an added incentive to go after them.

“There was a chance there that if a group could stay away they could take the yellow jersey, and it has, Alaphilippe is in yellow and Adam in second overall.

“Adam did a great ride today when he bridged across to the two leaders on the last climb. I didn’t give them too much chance to stay away just because it was a very, very strong headwind coming into the finish, but they did, just.”

Kristoff: “It was nice to spend the day in yellow: it was a first time for me, maybe it will be the last, so I tried to enjoy every moment of this new experience, even though it was a very demanding stage. Tomorrow I will be in green, it will be another beautiful day to savour”.

Pogačar: “Today was really a difficult day, in the first hills we set the pace as team on the front. In the final I tried to be on the front and follow some attacks. In the end I wasn’t feeling super good on the last climb so I stayed in the bunch for the sprint and got a top-10 so it was a good day all things considered.”

Greg Van Avermaet: “It was enjoyable in a different way today. It was a super hard stage but i had in my mind I could take yellow and the stage win so I would give it all like a one day race. Unfortunately, three guys were in front and, of course, they were the best. In racing anything can happen and I played my cards and it’s a big disappointment.”

“If you come that close, if you survive these kind of climbs with these kinds of riders, it would be nice to come closer to victory but it’s like it is. I cannot change it. First, I will recover and then hopefully there are other good stages for me. Maybe stage five with the uphill sprint, I can do well. The legs are responding well I think. I hope this wasn’t the last chance for me for a stage win.”

Marc Hirschi: “When Alaphilippe attacked on the last climb I wasn’t directly on his wheel and I was a bit scared that I might blow up, but I knew if I came to his wheel that it was flat on the top and I could recover a bit,” explained a buoyant Hirschi at the finish.

“I was on the limit and just needed to recover a bit so didn’t do too much work, otherwise I would completely explode. I knew that when I went over the top I could also do some work with them and I think Yates had the most pressure for the GC. I was on Alaphilippe’s wheel at the finish but he was just too strong in the sprint.”

“For me it’s really nice to have this jersey. At the first moment I was a little bit disappointed because I was so close to yellow, but in a few minutes I’ll be really happy about it. I’m really happy with how my shape is and I’ve made some more good progress since the Dauphiné. Already now the Tour is a success for me because I get to wear the jersey but we’ll try and go for another day success later in the race.”

Team Sunweb coach Matt Winston added: “Our goal for the day was to try and be in the race winning breakaways. It didn’t go quite as well as we had hoped to at the start. Then the plan was to really focus on the final and look after Marc for it. I think he showed really great initiative after some good teamwork from all, even though we weren’t all there in the final, all of the guys showed good cooperation in the stages leading up to it.

They got him into a good position with everything he needed. Nicholas really looked after him on his home circuit and put him in a position where he could attack. Marc showed great initiative when Alaphilippe jumped and he went with him. Then he did a really smart, tactical final where he came just short of the win. It’s his first final in the Tour de France where he’s going for the win and I think he showed great maturity and we can definitely build on that.”

Bauke Mollema: “It was a pretty good day, I felt good. On the first long climbs we went easy. On Col d’Eze it was a good tempo, and then especially on the last climb. It was not a super big group left and I was feeling good for the sprint.”Alaphillipe went so hard when he went, I couldn’t follow him.

Also, Yates and Hirschi were pretty explosive, and it was not really possible to follow there, but I think I was in a good group with all the GC guys.” “I tried to do a good result in the sprint, and I was third from the bunch. We also had Richie (Porte) and Kenny (Elissonde) up there, so it was a pretty good day for the team.”

Peter Sagan “It was a long day but a good one. I had to fight to get more points for the green jersey and I think we did a good job for that in the intermediate sprint. I’m happy Emu finished with the main group and we’ll continue giving our best every day.”

 Emanuel Buchmann “It was a good stage today for me. Going into the start, I was a bit scared because I wasn’t sure how my shape would be after my crash at the Dauphiné but I felt pretty well, I had no problems in the finale and finished with the leading group. I would say it was a good day.”

Tom Dumoulin, “It was a bit of a stupid crash”, Dumoulin said. “I don’t know exactly what happened. I looked over my left shoulder and at that moment Kwiatkowski came by and before I knew it I was on the ground. I have no pain, I just hit my knee a little bit. I think my knee will be okay. Luckily I was able to return to the peloton quickly.”

Egan Bernal: “I feel happy to be in the race again. Today I enjoyed the race a lot. It was a proper Tour stage and I enjoyed it. We were in control the whole day with the guys, and then in the final Kwiato and Richard did a great job. We saved the legs as much as we can. It’s the Tour – we have to go day by day and try to save energy for the last part of the Tour.”

Nairo Quintana: “This 2nd stage of the Tour de France went well for me. A small group fought for victory, and I was part of it. It was a good day. I was able to follow the attacks, the acceleration at the head of the peloton. I’m happy because if the stage was good for me, it was also good for the entire Arkéa-Samsic team ”

The Race

The peloton of 173 riders started stage 2 in Nice with Philippe Gilbert (Lotto-Soudal) and Rafael Valls (Bahrain-McLaren) unable to compete due to a fractured kneecap and femur respectively.

Attacks started after the flag was dropped. The stage soon had 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.

…. continued after the advert.

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 attacked 1.2km before the top of La Colmiane and reached the summit alone before a quartet with Perez, Gogl and Asgreen formed on the downhill. As the front group of seven regrouped, Jumbo-Visma took over from UAE Team Emirates at the helm of the peloton.

The Arabic squad decided to set the pace again on 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 whilst Perez outsprinted Cosnefroy at the top. Yellow jersey holder Alexander Kristoff was no longer part of the peloton, and neither was runner up, world champion and white jersey holder Mads Pedersen.

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) was first to the top whilst Critérium du Dauphiné winner Dani Martinez (EF) crashed on the downhill but made it back to the peloton 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 joined 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 reduced peloton.

Stage 2
1. Julian Alaphilippe Deceuninck-Quick Step 04:55:27
2. Marc Hirschi Team Sunweb
3. Adam Yates Mitchelton-Scott @ 01
4. Greg Van Avermaet CCC Team @ 02
5. Sergio Higuita EF Pro Cycling
6. Bauke Mollema Trek-Segafredo
7. Alexey Lutsenko Astana Pro Team
8. Tadej Pogacar UAE Team Emirates
9. Maximilian Schachmann Bora-Hansgrohe
10. Alberto Bettiol EF Pro Cycling

14. Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team
16. Miguel Angel Lopez Astana Pro Team
17. Egan Bernal INEOS Grenadiers
18. Nairo Quintana Team Arkea-Samsic
20. Richard Carapaz INEOS Grenadiers
21. Pierre Rolland B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
22. Tom Dumoulin Team Jumbo – Visma
26. Emanuel Buchmann Bora-Hansgrohe
27. Mikel Landa Bahrain-McLaren
28. Pello Bilbao Bahrain-McLaren
29. Thibaut Pinot Groupama-FDJ
30. Romain Bardet AG2R La Mondiale
31. Primoz Roglic Team Jumbo – Visma
32. Rigoberto Uran EF Pro Cycling
34. Richie Porte Trek-Segafredo
47. Hugh Carthy EF Pro Cycling @ 03:38
82. Connor Swift Team Arkea-Samsic @ 17:45
100. Daniel Martin Israel Start-Up Nation
120. Jack Bauer Mitchelton-Scott @ 20:42
148. Luke Rowe INEOS Grenadiers @ 28:15

1. Julian Alaphilippe


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