With all due respect to Bernard Hinault, it is not a Breton who won, this Sunday June 27 in Mûr-de-Bretagne, in the Côtes-d’Armor, at the end of the second stage of the 108e Tour de France. It is not a Frenchman who will leave with the yellow jersey on his shoulders during the third stage on Monday, between Lorient and Pontivy, in Morbihan.
However, the final of these 183.5 kilometers between Perros-Guirec and Mûr-de-Bretagne – Guerlédan will still go down in the history of the Tour. Because by winning this Sunday, the Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), 26, succeeded where his illustrious grandfather, Raymond Poulidor, always failed: he is a yellow jersey – however, let us remember that his father , the Dutch rider Adrie van der Poel, had worn the precious tunic during the Tour de France 1984.
“I knew it was my last chance to win the yellow jersey, explains “MVP”, the profile of the next steps being a priori less favorable. You can always dream of a scenario, but when it happens, it’s incredible. ” The rider says that he waited until he was sure he was in the lead of the general classification to let himself be overwhelmed by the emotions.
The bonus game
We knew this second stage promised to the puncheurs with its four fourth category climbs before the double ascent of that of Mûr-de-Bretagne (3e category, 2 km at 6.9% average slope). The day before was too, and MVP was already expected, but this one had been rather transparent – ranking at a disappointing 20e square.
“The best defense is attack”, prophesied yesterday’s winner, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), before the start on Sunday. The Dutch prodigy must have listened to him carefully, because he placed a first acceleration 17 km from the finish as the peloton was about to finish its first ascent of the “Mûr”.
An attack and a layout which resemble, moreover, to be mistaken for that of the Italian semi-classic of Strade Bianche of March 6, where “VDP” had pulverized the same Julian Alaphilippe and his “best enemy”, the Belgian Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) – who finished 23e this Sunday.
The sprint for the bonuses gave the opportunity to see the first pass between the favorites of this edition: because if “MVP” took the eight seconds of bonuses at the top, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates), second, in takes five while Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), third, pockets two. “The first time I crossed the line at Mûr-de-Bretagne, I just wanted to take the bonuses, explains the Dutchman. I ran quite opportunistically. ” Then rebel, after the red flame, while the Italian sprinter Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Victorious) burst from the outside.
Platoon affected physically and mentally
Despite the work of his teammates, in particular his road captain, the Belgian Tim Declercq, Julian Alaphilippe did not manage to escape and finished fifth on the stage. The world champion nevertheless retains the green jersey for the points classification. On the side of Ineos-Grenadiers, Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz seems more and more to establish himself as “the” leader, his teammate Geraint Thomas failing fifteen seconds behind him.
For his part, the Dutchman Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe) was determined to fight to keep his best climber polka dot jersey and finished the stage tied on points with Mathieu van der Poel (4 points).
Under a very Breton weather, alternating drizzle and clearings, it is also a peloton affected, physically and mentally, by the two impressive collective falls of the day before, which joined Mûr-de-Bretagne – Guerlédan. Four riders have already retired: Jasha Sütterlin (DSM), Cyril Lemoine (B & B Hotels-KTM), Ignatas Konovalovas (Groupama-FDJ) and Marc Soler (Movistar).
The gendarmerie has also announced the opening of a judicial investigation against the spectator at the origin of the first fall. A call for witnesses has been launched to find her.
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