Mathieu Van der Poel won stage 2 of the Tour de France on Sunday to seize the yellow jersey of the leader of the general classification and deal a blow to his famous cycling family.
The 25-year-old Dutchman is the grandson of French cycling icon – the late Raymond Poulidor – who was a regular on the Tour de France podium and beloved by French fans although he never wore the legendary yellow jersey.
On his first Tour de France, Van der Poel fell on the tarmac breathlessly before crying with his hands covering his face as the weight of Poulidor’s historic legacy rested on two spectacular climbs of the same Breton hill , the Wall of Brittany.
“Imagine how he would feel, he’s not here,” said van der Poel from Poulidor, who died in 2019 at the age of 83. “It was my last chance on the Tour to do it, it’s so good.”
French fans saw their own hero Julian Alaphilippe lose the yellow jersey, but applauded the Dutchman for both his gung-ho passion and his beloved grandfather.
Van der Poel won a maximum of 18 extra seconds for crossing the summit in the lead twice, then winning with a clear lead after accelerating away from a group of elite road racers.
Defending UAE Team Emirates champion Tadej Pogacar was second, followed by Primoz Roglic, while Alaphilippe was fifth at eight seconds.
Stage 2 proceeded in relative calm after two spectacular falls on stage one triggered a police investigation into the roadside spectator which caused a domino effect.
1 Mathieu Van Der Poel, Alpecin-Fenix 08: 57.25
2 Julian Alaphilippe Deceuninck-Quick-Step + 8s
3 Tadej Pogacar UAE Team Emirates + 13
4 Primoz Roglic Jumbo-Visma + 14s
5 Wilco Kelderman Bora-Hansgrohe + 24s
6 Jack Haig Bahrain Victorious + 26s
7 Bauke Mollema Trek-Segafredo + 26s
8 Sergio Andres Higuita EF Education-Nippo + 26s
9 Jonas Vingegaard Jumbo-Visma + 26s
10 David Gauda Groupama-FDJ + 26