- - Tour de France 2023 Stage 2

Tour de France 2023 Stage 2

photo credits @ ASO

Victor Lafay (Cofidis) claimed stage 2 of the Tour de France today, after the French rider timed his final move to perfection under the flamme rouge in San Sebastian to seize the day’s honors. 

LaFay attacked over the climb of the Jaizkibel in the finale, holding-off a fast-closing Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) to claim Cofidis’ first stage victory since 2008.

Meanwhile, Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) finished safely in the lead group to retain the yellow jersey. But, it was Pogacar who was the big winner amongst the overall contenders today, as the Slovenian rider moved up to second in the overall classification, 6 seconds behind  Yates thanks to the 12 seconds of time bonuses he picked up across the day after out-sprinting chief rival Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) atop the Jaizkibel.

Race Highlights

After a few false starts, a breakaway group containing current King of the Mountains Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost), veteran Tour rider Edvald Boasson Hagen (TotalEnergies) and powerhouse Rémi Cavagna (Soudal-Quick Step) finally formed, later building up an advantage three minutes.

Boasson Hagen and Powless later dropped Cavagna, but it seemed that the pair had next-to-no chance of going all the way to a stage win. However, Powless achieved his primary objective of gaining enough points to wear polka dot jersey for another day. 

With the breakaway duo free to take on the descent at will, their advantage actually went back out over two minutes after coming down continuously for the last few kilometers, as the peloton was wisely taking the damp descent very cautiously.

A puncture for Vingegaard was made more panicky when a crash nearby, as he was going back through the peloton for assistance, brought down several riders and saw him caught up in the aftermath – but significantly he didn’t hit the road himself.

Meanwhile, Powless was still clinging  to just under a minute advantage along the Jaizkibel, while the Yates brothers looked like they’d be the ones jostling for the summit. But, the Britons faded as Vingegaard and Pogacar dropped everyone, with Pogacar was first over the line to take an eight second bonus to his rival’s five seconds.

The lead duo was then clear and descending at speed. Pogacar looked keener to push on than Vingegaard and soon they were caught by a much-reduced group.

Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) then went clear on the descent and held on for a while once the road had flattened out, but it was a big ask for him to do 7 kilometer solo against the combined power behind.

He was caught with 5.4 kilometers to go as behind in the chasing line Van Aert was tightening his shoes. Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) had a go but nothing came of it.

With 2.6 kilometers to go Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) had a dig, but Van Aert was straight onto him. Mattias Skjelmose (Lidl-Trek) went next and again Van Aert closed it down – much energy expended as everyone looked to him to close everything down.

Just before the flamme rouge, Victor Lafay (Cofidis) attacked and got a gap… and it proved decisive.

Leave a reply
Share on