Mathieu van der Poel took on the yellow jersey he and his family dreamed of as he propelled the Mur-de-Bretagne to a touching stage victory in the Tour de France on Sunday.
As Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic bolstered their arguments as contenders to wear yellow in Paris – and Geraint Thomas was wasting time – Van der Poel, grandson of Tour great Raymond Poulidor, took the jersey.
His grandfather, who died in 2019, finished third in the Tour three times and third five times in the 1960s and 1970s but never wore the yellow jersey. His grandson achieved this feat on only his second day of racing.
Mathieu van der Poel won the second stage and now leads Julian Alaphillipe by eight seconds
The newbie looked at the skies as he crossed the line, then broke down in tears.
“I have no words,” said the 26-year-old. “I played a bit because I knew I needed the bonus seconds if I wanted the jersey. I think of my grandfather, of course.
Van der Poel now leads Julian Alaphilippe by eight seconds with defending champion Pogacar in third place.
It was a race where Geraint Thomas lost pace against his Tour de France rivals