Tour de France Report, Stage 2

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RBA/AFP

World champion Peter Sagan took the race leader’s yellow jersey after timing his attack to perfection to win the second stage of the Tour de France on Sunday. Belgian Jasper Stuyven had spent almost the entire 183km stage from Saint-Lo to Cherbourg in the lead but was agonizingly caught in the final kilometer.  Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe took second with Spain’s Alejandro Valverde third.

On Monday, Sagan will wear yellow for the first time, but coming up the final hill, he had no idea he was riding for a stage win.  “I’m very surprised I won. I thought there were still two guys in front,” admitted the 26-year-old. “Only at the very end I realized we were sprinting for victory. I’m very happy to be first.  My team today did a very big job. Roman Kreuziger helped me a lot in the last climb. It’s unbelievable. He rode 500 meters flat out. Julian Alaphilippe was very close to me at the end but I beat him. I’m in yellow first time. It’s a very nice jersey. This is something special for sure.”

Reigning champion Chris Froome came home safely in 10th but one of his main overall contenders, Alberto Contador, lost 47sec after crashing for the second day in a row. The 33-year-old Spaniard injured his right side in Saturday’s crash and fell on it again early in Sunday’s stage.

When the race reached its tough uphill finale, Contador simply couldn’t keep pace as his team’s worst fears turned into reality. After his crash on Sunday, Tinkoff sports director Sean Yates said: “We’re confident that he won’t lose too much time in the uphill finish today.”

He was wrong. But things were even worse for Australian Richie Porte, another with overall aspirations, who punctured in the last 5km and lost a minute more than Contador.

Alaphilippe is now second overall to Sagan at 8sec with Valverde third at 10sec. Froome is fifth at 14sec, two places ahead of Quintana, who is on the same time. Contador is now down in 62nd at 1min 02sec, while Porte is 81st at 1:59.
Photo: ASO/A. Brodway

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