95th Tour de France - Stage 2 Live
French attack - Thomas Voekler and Sylvain Chavanel are looking for home glory
can they make it to Saint Brieuc.... follow the brave duo here
Stage 2 Auray - Saint Brieuc, 165km
A cloudy and slightly chilly morning greeted the remaining 179 riders left in
the Tour de France this morning. Today's route begins in Aurray and finishes
164.5km later in St Brieuc. The one piece of news this morning is that
Barloworld's Juan Mauricio Soler has started the stage, despite fracturing a
bone in the left wrist and aggrivating his other. Whether or not he'll reach St-Brieuc
Following the neutralised section, Garmin-Chipotle's Danny Pate went on the
attack, and was soon joined by Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner), Jens Voigt (CSC),
Bernhard Eisel (Colombia), Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) among others. Wegmann soon
became the driving force in the break, and as the approached the opening climb
of the Bieuzy-Lanvaux (23.5km in, 4th Category), he was still clear, along with
a couple of other riders
© Amaury Sport Organization
Bouygues Telecom missed the break and, since their rider Thomas Voeckler is
wearing the Polka Dot Jersey, raced hard to bring the escapees back. They
succeeded, but it was Cofidis' Sylvain Chavanel who took maximum points.
Voeckler took second (2 points), shadowed by Milram's Bjorn Schoder, who now
trails the Frenchman by one point in the classification.
The Milram rider sat up as Chavanel and the King of the Mountains leader
continued their attack. They soon gained a time gap of half a minute, and
reached the first sprint at Camors clear of their fellow riders. Chavanel took
the points, Barloworld's Robbie Hunter led the peloton over the line. With 128km
to go, the lead is now 1'40, and the pack do not seem bothered about the leaders
yet. St Brieu held the Prologue in 1995, where Chris Boardman crashed after 2km,
and completed the shortest Tour ever.
122.5km to go - Our two leaders are
working well as we approach the second climb of the day, the Côte de Kergroix.
Again, this is another 4th category climb, yet Voeckler will be keen to take the
maximum three points. Behind it is Caisse d'Epargne pulling the main bunch,
Valverde is in the sixth wheel. He has gone for the yellow shorts and helmet to
match his Maillot Jaune, though I suspect that his team will want to offload the
121.3km to go - Voeckler takes the points over the top of the Côte de
Kergroix. Without the time bonuses at the line, it could be difficult to offload
it. He could do worse than wait for the time-trial at Cholet.
Definitely, I'm trying to think how to get rid of it; the team wouldn't drop
off with, say, 4km to go and get a different time, as that could be fatal.
Perhaps he'll do a Rasmussen-esque ride in the the Time Trial, and keep the
jersey + surprise us all..
The race is still very quiet; both Robbie McEwen and Mark Cavendish have had
to drop back to their team cars for a new bike and rear wheel respectively; both
rejoined without a struggle.
If Valverde would like to hold on to the maillot jaune from start to finish
as he said yesterday after the stage (not that I think he was serious in his
enthusiastic statements) he would join and exclusive club of 4 riders that
accomplished the feat of being in yellow throughout:
Ottavio Bottechia (1924).
Nicolas Frantz (1928),
Romain Maes (1935), and Jacques Anquetil (1961).
Of course one has to take into consideration how the tour has changed over
the years: Bottechia led in 1924 over fifteen stages; in 1928 Nicolas
Frantz and the lads had 5,476 kilometers to race in 22 stages (2,000 km more
than the current tours), in 1935 Maes led through 21 stages and 4,338km.
Anquetil took control of the 1961 Tour on stage in stage 1b (Stage 1 was split
into 'a' and 'b' stages - Anquetil took the jersey after Stage 1b) to lead for
the next 21 days over 4,397 kilometers. Compare those tours to this years with a
total distance: 3,554 km
1439 CEST - 103km to go - Voeckler and
Chavanel lead by 6'26". French housewives can't have stopped screaming since
this twosome got away... Voeckler and Chavanel? Ensemble?? Oh la la indeed. Two
baby-faced French triers. The French duo are having their way with the peloton
like a Rock star with a groupie at the moment.
On a personal note, Caisse d'Epargne has been my favourite jersey in the
peloton. Black is the new black... but Valverde's all-yellow ensemble has
butchered my love of their kit. It's now six cool Caisse d'Epargne men
protecting a moving banana...
I love the way the teams bring all this colour co-ordinated kit in
anticipation of wearing the Yellow Jersey. I'm told Cadel Evans has two year's
worth of Yellow Shorts that are unworn.
1453 CEST - 92km to go - 5'30" is the gap
between the peloton and the two breakaways. 1000m to go to the day's second
sprint in Pontivy; is Chavanel going to pop around Voeckler as he did for the
first one? The results of the intermediate sprint at Pontivy (74km): 1 Chavanel,
2 Voeckler, 3 Gilbert. The gap has fallen to just 4'15" now. Three FDJ riders
attacked the front and led out green jersey wearer Gilbert, who took the max
points holding off Hushovd and Hunter. I must confess to liking the Green Jersey
this year, it is a new shade of Green easier to pick out in the crowd.
82km to go - 4'01" is the pack's deficit,
they've gobbled up 90 seconds in about ten kilometres. We're heading into the
stage's last two hours now. The wind is having a bigger effect on the exertions
for Chavanel and Voeckler; it's in their faces, whipping up to 25km/h.
Unsurprisingly, the bunch had power through it with more speed and saving more
energy. 79 km to go and the gap drops to under 4 minutes.
77 km to go. With the direction of the
stage, this wind will be present for the majority of the route from hereon in.
The skies on the horizon look dark and grim as Voekler and Chavanel continue
there duel with the peloton as the gap falls to 3:38. Are we due for some rain
as we near Saint Brieuc?
Crash! Jalabert has crashed in the Feedzone. Nicolas Jalabert (Agritubel) is
the victim of a bad-musette take from Andy Schleck. Either the soigneur's fault
or Schleck's, the musette wasn't let go of immediately and Schleck got a bit
caught on it. He slowed, the contents spilled on the road, but importantly his
slowing meant Jalabert's front wheel was taken out. Nobody else fell though. Two
crashes in two days in the Feed Zone; it's one of the most dangerous places
along the route.
For Voeckler and Chavanel, it's the first Cat 3 climb of the race - the Mur
de Bretagne. Straight up and steep near the top, there will be thousands of
Breton fans lining the route. It's a real landmark in Breton cycling. This climb
is known as the 'Wall of Brittany' Suddenly it looks like an Alpine climb, with
crowds packed two or three deep towards the top. 600m to the top for the pair.
And the first raindrops fall on the French parade.
Well, as the rains pours down, Chavanel interestingly crests the climb ahead
of Voeckler to take maximum points. No rain yet at the finish in St-Brieuc.
70.3km - the Peloton reach the top of the
climb, led by Christophe Moreau (Agritubel). They are 2'54" behind the leaders
Our live coverage continues
Stage 2 Live Part 2
- Discuss this race and the sport with other cycling fans from around the world
on the Daily Peloton.com Forums
and Chat Room.
the daily peloton & advertise your product -
- Join the Daily Peloton crew, writers, photographers and techs with a
passion for cycling and a yen to write: long hours, demanding work and lots of