SAN DIEGO, July 5, 2015 – The coastal weather in the Netherlands got its say on Stage 2 of the Tour de France. Intermittent rain and winds gave the riders plenty to contend with, if the first long ride wasn’t enough. The peloton is always a bit anxious and nerves come into play.
The result? Several crashes, flat tires and time gaps that put several of the general contenders at risk of losing precious seconds to their top rivals.
Fans were treated to a sprint for the finish with Andre Greipel of Lotto besting his top rivals, Peter Sagan of Tinkoff-Saxo and Mark Cavendish of Etixx-Quickstep. When Cavendish saw he would lose to Greipel at the line, he sat up and stopped pedaling. It allowed Fabian Cancellara of Trek Factory Racing to nip Cavendish for third place, leaving Cavendish in fourth.
Because the top three sprinters get time bonuses of several seconds, it was enough to give Cancellara the stage win over Tony Martin of Etixx-Quickstep. Martin had a one-second advantage on Cancellara after Saturday’s time trial, but because Cavendish lost the time bonus for third due to sitting up, it was enough for Cancellara to take the yellow jersey. He will lead the stage on Monday, the 29th time he has been the leader of the tour in his career. Cavendish is Martin’s teammate. Dinner table conversation tonight may be a little tense.
The weather and aggressive riding by the teams of the leaders caused a split and time gap in the peloton. BMC Racing kept American Tejay Van Garderen in the lead, sitting iin eighth place. Sky Racing improved Chris Froome’s position by a few seconds, as did Tinkoff-Saxo for Alberto Contador. They are all within 12 seconds of each other. Top contenders couldn’t catch up and lost another 1:28 to those in the front group, including 2014 tour champion Vicenzo Nibali of Astana, Nairo Quintana of Movistar and Thibaut Pinot of FDJ. Nibali had a flat tire with 15 miles to go but at least made it back to the chase group.
Contador was elated with the day’s results and credited his team, with special recognition to Australia’s Michael Rogers.
“I just must thank my teammates. Here’s your man!” he told journalists in English as the Australian was riding past.
“We knew that with eight or nine guys up there, we could make a difference. We used our assets well. It was a good day, we’ll keep trying tomorrow,” Rogers said.
Americans Andrew Talansky (Team Cannondale-Garmin) lost time, now sitting 2:41 off the lead. Tyler Farrar (MTN-Qhubeka) is 2:48 behind.
Greipel takes the green sprinter’s jersey. Tom Doumoulin of Holland (Team Giant-Alpecin) wears the white jersey as the best young rider for the second day.
All 198 riders survived and will start Stage 3 on Monday. This stage moves from Holland into Belgium, and the final portion follows the finishing route of a familiar spring classic race, the Flèche Wallonne. It will challenge riders with a 20 percent gradient at points along with a short, steep finish. The general classification riders will not have an easy day. Leaders must stay up near the front to avoid adding to any time gaps on their rivals.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is president/owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Follow the Tour de France daily in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google
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