Julian Alaphilippe has written the second stage of the Tour de France to his name. The Frenchman thus took over the yellow jersey from Alexander Kristoff, Saturday’s stage winner. The Norwegian sprinter had to unload definitively on the second climb of the day.
Alaphilippe was the fastest of a leading group of three. He won the sprint in Nice from Adam Yates and Marc Hirschi and just like last year he can wear the yellow jersey. The Frenchman then rode in the yellow jersey for fourteen days, but with three stages to go he had to give up the lead in the general classification to the later winner Egan Bernal
It’s already his fifth stage victory in the Tour for 28 year old Alaphilippe. In 2018 he won two stages and in 2019 the climber repeated that trick. Alaphilippe is working on his fourth Tour de France.
The favourites for the yellow in Paris kept their gunpowder dry in the first mountain stage. None of the general classification riders dared to try to ride away from the competition.
With 173 riders still in the race (John Degenkolb, Rafael Valls and Philippe Gilbert didn’t start) the peloton left Nice for the second day in a row. The finish line was again in the southern French city.
Already on the second day of the Tour the riders had to deal with some serious climbs. On the menu were a col of the second and two of the first category.
From the start many riders tried to break away from the peloton. With the first intermediate sprint in sight Peter Sagan, who undoubtedly set his sights on the points classification, came in front. Last year the Slovakian brought the green jersey to Paris for the seventh time, which makes him a record holder
It was the 23rd time that Sagan was in a Tour flight. He never won such a stage, but always earned points for his coveted green jersey. Together with Sagan, Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora), Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R), Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Toms Skujins (Trek), Anthony Perez (Cofidis) and Michael Gogl (NTT) opted for the attack.
On the first mountain Cosnefroy attacked out of the leading group. The Frenchman came first on top of the Col de la Colmiane. He had to loose on the Col de Turini but fought his way back and came on top second behind Perez.
This brought Cosnefroy and Perez both to eighteen mountain points. At the Col d’Èze the leaders had already caught up and didn’t get any more points for the mountain classification. The result of the day therefore had to be the deciding factor. Cosnefroy finished in front of Perez, allowing the Frenchman to ride in the polka dot jersey tomorrow.
Kristoff, the trail rider, had to let go of the peloton on the Col de Turini. The Norwegian was more than three minutes behind at the top of the mountain and in the remainder of the stage he was unable to come back.
On the final climb of the day, the Col d’Èze, the peloton, led by Jumbo-Visma, stayed together. Nicolas Roche came first on top of the col of the second category, ahead of Robert Gesink and Marc Hirschi.
Alaphilippe took off at thirteen kilometers before the finish. Hirschi was able to follow and joined the Frenchman a little later. Adam Yates, who had announced he was going for stage wins before the Tour instead of a good ranking in the general classification, counterattacked and quickly joined the leaders.
The three were just ahead of the chasing peloton in the streets of Nice. Alaphilippe Tourdebutant Hirschi was just ahead in the sprint. Yates finished third.
Bauke Mollema had a good day. The Dutchman from Trek had the plan to try something in the last kilometer, but a strong headwind made it difficult. “I felt good, so I tried to sprint in the end Mollema is eighteenth in the general classification after the second stage
The best Dutchman in the general classification is Tom Dumoulin in tenth place. The Jumbo-Visma rider crashed unluckily more than ten kilometres before the finish, but was soon able to rejoin the group of favourites. Dumoulin said he didn’t do much damage after the crash
Watch the reactions of the Dutch riders Mollema, Dumoulin and Robert Gesink in the carousel: