Vincenzo Nibali claimed stage 2 of this year’s Tour de France, with a late attack during today’s final descent – that not only netted him the stage victory, but also earned him the overall race lead as well.
How the Race Unfolded
An early breakaway group containing Armindo Fonseca (Bretagne-Seche Environnement); Biel Kadri (AG2R La Mondiale); Matthew Busche (Trek Factory Racing); Bart De Clercq (Lotto-Belisol); Perrig Quemeneur (Europcar); Cyril Lemoine (Cofidis); and David De La Cruz Melgarejo (Netapp-Endura), got underway early on in today’s stage. And, at one point, the escapees succeeded in building up a sizable advantage of four minutes over the peloton.
However, during the remaining 70 kilometers, the peloton began to take up the chase in earnest. And, as the race began tackling the day’s 9 category climbs, the escapee’s advantage had been reduced to less than a minute.
As the race approached the biggest climb of the day, Kadri attempted to jettison his fellow escapees with a lone attack – as the peloton began closing in.
Lemoine in turn followed. And, just as the French rider reached Kadri, he was unable to stay onboard with him, and he subsequently fell-off the pace of the AG2R La Mondiale rider.
With 50 kilometers remaining, Kadri was still holding a one minute advantage over what remained of his breakaway companions, which now included Thomas Voeckler, who managed to bridge himself to the group from the head of the peloton.
However, as the race entered the category 3 climb of the Côte de Midhopestones, both Kadri and what remained of the breakaway group were all caught by the peloton. And from there, a select group of riders containing Nibali, Alberto Contador, Nico Roche, Andrew Talansky, Rui Costa, Chris Horner, Chris Froome, Pierre Rolland, Jean-Christophe Péraud and Fabian Cancellara began shaping up the lead group – as the race entered into the final 30 kilometers.
A further 10 kilometers later, Rolland and Péraud managed to slip away from the group- quickly building a slight lead of almost half a minute.
Shortly thereafter, Rolland succeeded in dispatching his fellow escapee, and set-off alone with a solo escape.
However, it wasn’t long before Rolland was reeled in by the chase which was being led by Froome and Contador, as the race headed over the summit of the final climb.
From there, Sagan attacked the lead group with a blazing descent down the backside of the climb. But, Nibali was there to counter Sagan’s attempt to ride clear – leaving the Slovakian rider, Froome, Contador and others unable to initiate counter measures of their own.
Nibali now leads the Tour by two seconds over Sagan, with Van Avermaet in third place – with the same time.
Froome now sits in fifth place, with Contador in eighth, while Tejay van Garderen rests in ninth – all at two seconds behind.
Stage 2 Results
ITA 1 NIBALI, Vincenzo (ASTANA) 5:08:36 BEL 2 VAN AVERMAET, Greg (BMC RACING) + 2 POL 3 KWIATKOWSKI, Michal (OMEGA PHARMA – QUICK-STEP) SVK 4 SAGAN, Peter (CANNONDALE) FRA 5 GALLOPIN, Tony (LOTTO BELISOL) SUI 6 ALBASINI, Michael (ORICA GreenEDGE) USA 7 TALANSKY, Andrew (GARMIN SHARP) NED 8 MOLLEMA, Bauke (BELKIN) USA 9 VAN GARDEREN, Tejay (BMC RACING) FRA 10 BARDET, Romain (AG2R LA MONDIALE) BEL 11 VAN DEN BROECK, Jurgen (LOTTO BELISOL) DEN 12 FUGLSANG, Jakob (ASTANA) ESP 13 CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto (TINKOFF-SAXO) POR 14 FARIA DA COSTA, Rui Alberto (LAMPRE – MERIDA) ESP 15 ZUBELDIA AGIRRE, Haimar (TREK FACTORY RACING) FRA 16 PERAUD, Jean-Christophe (AG2R LA MONDIALE) ESP 17 VALVERDE BELMONTE, Alejandro (MOVISTAR) POR 18 MACHADO, Tiago (NETAPP – ENDURA) GBR 19 FROOME, Christopher (SKY) ESP 20 NIEVE ITURALDE, Mikel (SKY) AUS 21 PORTE, Richie (SKY) FRA 22 PINOT, Thibaut (FDJ.fr) + 16 GBR 23 THOMAS, Geraint (SKY) USA 24 HORNER, Christopher (LAMPRE – MERIDA) NED 25 DUMOULIN, Tom (GIANT-SHIMANO) SUI 26 FRANK, Mathias (IAM CYCLING) LUX 27 SCHLECK, Frank (TREK FACTORY RACING) FRA 28 ROLLAND, Pierre (EUROPCAR) CZE 29 KONIG, Leopold (NETAPP – ENDURA) RUS 30 TROFIMOV, Yury (KATUSHA) IRL 31 ROCHE, Nicolas (TINKOFF-SAXO) COL 32 ATAPUMA HURTADO, Darwin (BMC RACING) NED 33 TEN DAM, Laurens (BELKIN) SUI 34 REICHENBACH, Sébastien (IAM CYCLING) EST 35 KANGERT, Tanel (ASTANA) ITA 36 DE MARCHI, Alessandro (CANNONDALE) SUI 37 CANCELLARA, Fabian (TREK FACTORY RACING) + 35 FRA 38 GAUTIER, Cyril (EUROPCAR) FRA 39 MOLARD, Rudy (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS) ESP 40 NAVARRO GARCIA, Daniel (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS)
General Classification after Stage 2 ITA 1 NIBALI, Vincenzo (ASTANA) 9:52:43 SVK 2 SAGAN, Peter (CANNONDALE) + 2 BEL 3 VAN AVERMAET, Greg (BMC RACING) SUI 4 ALBASINI, Michael (ORICA GreenEDGE) GBR 5 FROOME, Christopher (SKY) NED 6 MOLLEMA, Bauke (BELKIN) BEL 7 VAN DEN BROECK, Jurgen (LOTTO BELISOL) ESP 8 CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto (TINKOFF-SAXO) USA 9 VAN GARDEREN, Tejay (BMC RACING) DEN 10 FUGLSANG, Jakob (ASTANA)
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