Mathieu van der Poel (The Netherlands/Alpecin-Fenix) dominated Sunday’s double ascent of the Mûr-de-Bretagne to win Stage 2 of the Tour de France, dedicating his victory to his deceased grandfather Raymond Poulidor. In his first ever Tour van der Poel was able to do the one thing the legendary Poulidor was never able to do, wear the yellow jersey. The Dutchman yanked the lead from Julian Alaphilippe, who he now leads by 8 seconds. Michael Woods was 11th on the day and jumped 62 places on GC to 92nd.
You can watch the 108th Tour de France at FloBikes.
The Aftermath of Saturday’s Carnage
Saturday’s two massive crashes took their toll on the peloton. Three riders did not finish and Marc Soler crossed the line just ahead of the broom wagon with two broken elbows. The Movistar rider did not start on Sunday. Many riders were banged up in the chaos. Michael Woods, who finished nearly 9:00 after Alaphilippe, was one of the victims.
Before the stage, Woods told an interviewer, “I’m a bit banged up. I landed on my face. My face is a bit swollen at the moment and my hands and arm are a bit cut up. The GC is over for me. But my primary goal was to go after stages this year and that’s still intact.”
Besides the physical toll, there was damage done to the majority of the participants’ time.
More than 150 riders lost at least a minute.
More than 130 lost two minutes.
More than 110 lost three minutes.
More than 100 lost four minutes.
More than 90 lost five minutes.
Almost 60 lost six minutes.
More than 40 lost seven minutes.
On a sprint stage.
— Peter Flax (@Pflax1) June 26, 2021
There were more hills and categorized climbs on Sunday, with four Cat. 4 ascents and Cat. 3 Mûr-de-Bretagne faced twice in the final 20 km, the first offering time bonus and the second the haul to the finish. The Wall of Brittany is 2 km of 6.9 percent. There was intermittent rain.
Today's #TDF2021 stage sees the peloton continue in Bretagne, where a 183.5km hilly stage between Perros-Guirec and Mûr-de-Bretagne promises to deliver another thrilling fight for victory. pic.twitter.com/39IewZ8I0j
— Deceuninck-QuickStep (@deceuninck_qst) June 27, 2021
For the second day in a row, Ide Schelling and Anthony Perez, first and third in the King of the Mountains competition respectively, were in a sextet of fugitives, and they entertained with spirited skirmishes. Perez took the point atop Côte de Sainte-Barbe. Schelling countered on Côte de Pordic. Trek-Segafredo’s Belgian fugitive Ed Theuns attacked before Côte de Saint-Brieuc and two breakmates crashed in the pursuit.
There was a bumpy stretch on narrow roads before the race entered the Mûr-de-Bretagne circuit, and here Frenchman Jérémy Cabot of the newly rebranded Team TotalEnergies joined Theuns, while Groupama-FDJ animated the front of the peloton with seventh-place David Gaudu’s interests in mind.
The peloton wasn’t allowing itself to be crowded on Sunday.
“Hey, Opi and Omi? Get out of the way!” pic.twitter.com/53jvdYg9Aw
— Felix Lowe (@saddleblaze) June 27, 2021
The race was intact by the village of Mûr-de-Bretagne. It was time to climb.
Mathieu van der Poel attacked immediately in the first climb of the wall, taking the eight seconds at the top. Tadej Pogačar and fellow Slovenian Primož Roglič (Slovenia/Jumbo-Visma) grabbed the other time bonuses. The peloton reformed.
It was frenetic racing towards the finishing climb. Quintana attacked with 1.2 km to go and van der Poel made it over to the Colombian to brought it back again. After Sonny Colbrelli attacked and van der Poel caught him and launched.
Once more, Pogačar and Roglič nabbed the bonus seconds.
Alaphilippe found the prone van der Poel after the finish and congratulated him. Van der Poel also seized the polka dot jersey.
Monday continues in Brittany with a sprinters stage.
2021 Tour de France Stage 2
1) Mathieu van der Poel (The Netherlands/Alpecin-Fenix) 4:18:30
2) Tadej Pogačar (Slovenia/UAE-Emirates) +0:06
3) Primož Roglič (Slovenia/Jumbo-Visma) s.t.
11) Michael Woods (Canada/Israel Start-up Nation) +0:08
2021 Tour de France GC
1) Mathieu van der Poel (The Netherlands/Alpecin-Fenix) 8:57:25
2) Julian Alaphilippe (France/Deceuninck-Quick Step) +0:08
3) Tadej Pogačar (Slovenia/UAE-Emirates) +0:13
4) Primož Roglič (Slovenia/Jumbo-Visma) +0:14
92) Michael Woods (Canada/Israel Start-up Nation) +9:07