By the way, I forgot to mention that there are bonus seconds up for grabs on top of the first of two ascents of the Mûr-de-Bretagne, 15.3km out from the finish. With eight, five and three seconds available that may be enough to encourage the big general classification hitters to challenge. The second ascent of the Mûr-de-Bretagne, by the way, is approached after taking a sharp 90º turn meaning positioning here will be absolutely key. If there is one team that is able to deliver their man to exactly the right place at exactly right time, it is Deceuninck-Quick Step. But can they do it two days in a row?
55km to go
Edward Theuns and Jérémy Cabot still lead the stage, their advantage holding at around the two-minute mark. The front of the peloton now has riders from Bora-Hansgrohe, Groupama-FDJ, Alpecin-Fenix, ISN, UAE Team Emirtaes, BikeExchange and, of course, Deceuninck-Quick Step and so it looks like they are already thinking about positioning their riders.
64km to go
Edward Theuns and Jérémy Cabot have joined forces and on the front of the stage, Jonas Koch trails by around 30sec with the peloton another minute or so down the road.
67km to go
That move from Edward Theuns has decimated the breakaway. Jérémy Cabot (TotalÉnergies) is around 10sec down on Theuns, with Jonas Koch (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) another 20sec back. Anthony Perez and Ide Schelling have now been caught by the peloton, while Simon Clarke appears to have taken a tumble and is on his lonesome, but the main bunch is closing in on the Aussie.
70km to go
Edward Theuns clips off the front of the breakaway and it looks as if the Anthony Perez-Ide Schelling roadshow is no more. A number of the riders appear to have taken issue with Schelling who was not doing his share of the work, though had enough in the legs to challenge for the points. As classics specialist Theuns heads up towards the top of the côte de Saint-Brieuc the crowds are out in huge numbers. All respectfully standing on the pavement.
Incidentally, this is the town that Tom Simpson moved to in April 1959 after he had decided to chance his luck on the continent.
80km to go
The battle between Anthony Perez and Ide Schelling is still going on and what entertainment the pair are providing. On the approach to the summit of the category four côte de Pordic, once again, the pair go elbow-to-elbow in a sprint for the only point on offer. Schelling takes the honours before scsreaming with joy after Perez appears to run of of gas. Not sure I’ve ever seen a category four climb on the opening weekend so fiercely contested. Hugely entertaining stuff.
Points mean prizes, but who leads in race for green?
Intermediate sprint results in full . . .
French launch hunt for spectator who caused pile-up
French police say they are searching for the female spectator who triggered one of the worst multi-rider crashes in recent cycling history during Saturday’s stage, reports Tom Cary.
The unnamed fan faces possible legal action with French prosecutors confirming they have opened a criminal enquiry for “deliberately violating safety regulations and so causing injuries that might prevent someone working for up to three months”. This is an indictable offence in France punishable by up to a year in prison.
Tour organisers ASO said on Saturday that they would press charges. “We are suing this woman who behaved so badly,” race deputy director Pierre-Yves Thouault told AFP. “We are doing this so that the tiny minority of people who do this don’t spoil the show for everyone.”
Intermediate sprint time!
Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) wins the intermediate sprint ahead of Jonas Koch (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux). However, once the peloton neared the line it was Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) who took the lion’s share of the points on offer, finishing just ahead of Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick Step) who cracked a big smile, fist-bumping team-mate Michael Morkov just beyond the line in Plouha. Full details to follow shortly.
105km to go
The breakaway’s lead has dropped a few seconds more, but not too much else to report. Here’s that scrap for the point in the mountains . . .
110km to go
Just 900 metres in length at an average gradient of 6.6%, the côte de Sainte-Barb looks like a lovely little climb but not one on which the final winner of the mountains classification competition will be determined. That said, it was a fierce battle between Anthony Perez and Ide Schelling with the Cofidis rider taking the only point on offer. As a result, Perez leapfrogs Julian Alaphilippe to second spot in the virtual mountains classification – next climb is 30km away.
115km to go
The pace being set by Tim Declercq has ensured that the breakaway has failed to increase its lead as they approach the côte de Sainte-Barb, the first categorised climb of the day. In fact, the breakaway’s advantage has dropped slightly to a shade over three minutes.
120km to go
It’s that man Tim Declercq again who has been riding on the front. The diesel spent an awful long tine riding at the head of the field during Saturday’s opening stage, and he’s there again today which would suggest Deceuninck-Quick Step are confident that Julian Alaphilippe can make it two in a row atop the Mûr-de-Bretagne. Tucked in behind the man nicknamed El Tractor is the entire team of Ineos Grenadiers riders, while BikeExchange are not far behind.
The Australian team, presumably, are thinking that their man Michael Matthews can challenge later on this afternoon. It’s an interesting one, but Matthews has been climbing well – as we witnessed yesterday – so who knows?
As it stands . . .
Having set off from the picturesque town of Perros-Guirec which was blessed with a rare dose of sunshine, a small four-man break comprising Simon Clarke (Qhubeka-NextHash), Jonas Koch (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Anthony Perez (Cofidis) and Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) wasted little time in forming.
With five categorised climbs coming before the final ascent of the Mûr-de-Bretagne it will surprise nobody to discover that Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe), the early leader in the mountains classification, made sure he bridged over, taking with him Jérémy Cabot (TotalÉnergies). With a handful of points up for grabs, the Dutchman can tighten his grip on the polka dot jersey if he manages to add to his tally of three points after just one day of racing.
There was a nice moment earlier when local lad Franck Bonnamour, who rides for Breton team B&B Hotels p/b KTM, was cheered as he passed through his birth town of Lannion. Lovely.
Back on the front, the leading sextet has an advantage of 3min 39sec with just under 132km to go to the line on Mûr-de-Bretagne.
Froome to start stage two
So, what’s on today’s menu?
With a profile not too dissimilar to Saturday’s tough opener, today’s stage will be another testing day in the sadlle on these tough Breton roads. Lots of small climbs, of which just five – côte de Sainte-Barbe, côte de Pordic, côte de Saint-Brieuc, côte du Village de Mûr-de-Bretagne and Mûr-de-Bretagne (climbs twice) – are categorised.
With a total of seven points up for grabs for the first rider, or riders, over the first five climbs of the day there are opportunities for a breakaway rider to take the polka dot jersey off the young shoulders of Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe) who currently leads the mountains classification with just three points to his name.
However, with two points on offer on the finishing line race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step), who is my pick for the stage win today, could take control of the mountains classification too. Likewise, if that happens he would also tighten his grip on the green jersey as there are a whopping 50 points available – the same amount as on a sprint finish – atop the Mûr-de-Bretagne.
This is not a one-man show, though, and Alaphilippe will be receiving no gifts today, at least from his rivals. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) will be hoping to challenge for the stage win while the Slovenian will also be keen on taking any time bonus seconds available to the first three riders over the line. Michael Matthews (BikeExchange), second yesterday, is climbing well and could challenge while local rider David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) will be desperate to give his fellow Bretons something to cheer about.
Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), who saw several of his team-mates fall on Saturday, may have a crack too, as might Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) or Michael Woods (ISN). In summary, it is another day for the puncheurs, and another day which will be stressful for those hoping to challenge for the honours in the general classification.
Wiggins blasts ‘moron’ who caused pile-up
Speaking on his podcast, The Bradley Wiggins Show by Eurosport, the former Tour de France winner did not mince his words while discussing the incident on Saturday when a spectator stepped forward holding a placard which ended up taking out Tony Martin.
“What an absolute f—— [bleeped audio] she is. I don’t give a f— what it was, she’s an absolute [bleeped audio]. She has caused murder today at the Tour de France. People have put their livelihoods on the line. We’ve lost a rider from that crash who’s had to abandon unfortunately. Tony Martin went down… This is peoples’ livelihoods. People have trained all year for this, a very difficult year as well don’t forget, and a lot is at stake – this is the Tour de France!
“The crash at 6km to go is a race crash, this is murder! It just infuriates me – a—holes! P— off somewhere else, go and watch tennis or golf if you’re going to do that. It’s not an opportunity to get on the telly and flash a sign that you’ve written on the back of a toilet roll cardboard bloody box.
“We’ve lost riders. It’s just horrible; it was horrible to watch. If someone did that on the roadside in public with a cyclist coming down the road, they’d be thrown in prison.
“Arrest the spectator, arrest the spectator. This is nothing new, it’s been happening for years and years. And they are part of the race; the spectators are part of the race and part of the spectacle as well. It’s what makes this sport so beautiful.
“Let’s not butter this up and say, ‘Is this an education thing?’ No, they’re f—— morons and they exist in the world and they exist in the world. The world is a beautiful place but it’s full of [bleeped audio].”
Catch-up: Highlights from yesterday’s stage
If you somehow missed the action on Saturday, then here are the highlights – and lowlights – from an unforgettable stage in Brittany.
Hello and welcome to our live rolling blog from stage two at the Tour de France, the 183.5km run from Perros-Guirec to Mûr-de-Bretagne.
Sunday morning and I’m falling
I’ve got a feeling I don’t want to know
Early dawning, Sunday morning
It’s all the streets you crossed, not so long ago
One suspects that when Lou Reed and John Cale wrote Sunday Morning, the opening song of the seminal 1967 Velvet Underground & Nico album they had not considered its third verse used as the introduction to a Tour de France live blog. However, here we are – or there they, the riders, are – licking their wounds following a chaotic opening stage that led to four riders abandoning the race.
Following an act of stupidity from a roadside spectator who managed to earn themselves their 15 minutes of fame, and a stroke of bad luck that led to the day’s second mass pile-up which caused most damage, both to the physical wellbeing and to the hopes and dreams of numerous riders, including a handful of general classification hopes. When many of the riders woke today – if at all they managed to get much sleep as they writhed in pain, bedsheets, no doubt, sticking to their weeping bodies – they will feel shellshocked. It may take some time, days even, for the impact of those crashes to become apparent.
Anyway, not too much time to ponder. The Tour waits for nobody, as the peloton ploughs on towards Paris – only another 3,216.6km to go – starting with another tough looking day on the unforgiving roads of Brittany. Before we have a look at today’s stage, though, let’s remind ourselves about the standings in the top classifications. Having won the opening stage Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) took the first maillot jaune to become the first Frenchman rider to wear the leader’s yellow jersey in three successive Tours since Bernard Hinault completed the feat in 1986.
Having scooped up 50 points with the stage win, Alaphilippe also took the maillot vert, the green jersey, although Michael Matthews (BikeExchange), who won the points classification competition back in 2017, will wear that on behalf of the Frenchman today.
Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe), meanwhile, will be dressed in the maillot à pois, or the polka dot jersey, after the Dutchman cleverly clipped off the front of yesterday’s breakaway to ensure he took maximum points on top of two categorised climbs to make him the early leader in the mountains classification.
Defending champion Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), who is sixth on general classification trailing fellow Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) by four seconds, tops the young rider classification and will wear the maillot blanc during today’s stage.