On the second stage of the Tour de France, the world champion, Peter Sagan, won the sprint at La Roche-sur-Yon. Back on the film of the day marked by the escape of Chavanel.
Slovak Peter Sagan won the second stage of the Tour de France at La Roche-sur-Yon ahead of Sonny Colbrelli and Arnaud Démare. A stage marked by the long breakaway of French rider Sylvain Chavanel, caught up at the end of the stage and a heavy fall to less than 2 km. Also noteworthy is the abandonment of one of Astana’s strongmen: Luis Leon Sanchez following a big crash.
At 1800 meters from the line, a massive fall cut the peloton and destroyed the chances of Colombian Fernando Gaviria to repeat his success of Fontenay-le-Comte and keep the yellow jersey.
Sagan won a sprint in small committee, about fifteen riders. He narrowly defeated the Italian Sonny Colbrelli on arrival judged on a false flat amount.
Arnaud Démare took the third place of this stage of 182,5 kilometers ahead of the German André Greipel. “I start early, ” said the French. “ I did not have much choice, I was in front and I did not want to be overflowed.
Sagan, 28, took off for the 9th time a stage of the Tour. Accustomed to the green jersey he has brought back to Paris five times, he has already worn the yellow jersey (2016).
The Chavanel festival
Last year, the Slovakian champion had won a stage before being ruled out for a dangerous sprint at Vittel (4th stage). He was later exonerated by the International Federation.
This very hot day, with a temperature above 30 degrees, was animated by the very long breakaway of Sylvain Chavanel, who offered himself a day of applause for what he announced his last participation.
Party with the New Zealander Dion Smith and the Austrian Michael Gogl from the first kilometers, Chavanel was alone on the 35th kilometer. Gogl got up and Smith imitated him. But the doyen of the French squad (39) continued for a jubilee-like festival.
Chavanel opened the road in the grove, between two crowded hedges of spectators, especially as his team Direct Energie, led by Jean-Rene Bernaudeau who celebrated Sunday his 62nd birthday, evolves at home in the Vendée. The Poitevin counted a little more than 4 minutes ahead of the peloton led by the only Quick-Step team of Colombian Fernando Gaviria.
The adventure extended to 14 kilometers from the finish. Such a consecration for the one who now holds only the record of participations (18). Since 2001, the French did not miss a single edition!
The first rider to leave the 2018 Tour, Ethiopian Tsgabu Grmay (Trek) stopped at the refueling after mid-race. He was emulated 40 kilometers from the finish by Spaniard Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), four-time stage winner in the past.
A time trial for Froome
Other falls in the final were Adam Yates of Britain, 4th of the 2016 Tour, and Switzerland’s Silvan Dillier, a valuable Romain Bardet teammate for the upcoming team time trial.
Dillier suffers from various bruises and superficial wounds. “The first assessment is encouraging,” said his sporting director Julien Jurdie, very worried at first. “Let’s hope so because Silvan is an essential piece in the device so that we can make a top 10” .
Monday, this “time trial” of 35,5 kilometers with departure and arrival in Cholet promises to establish a first hierarchy. Even if the last two exercises in the Tour were played by the second, both in 2013 and 2015 (BMC before Sky that year in Plumelec).
The team of Chris Froome, who last month dominated the team time of the Dauphine, favorite with the Quick-Step and BMC, podium regulars in recent years at the world championship specialty.
Froome, who must endure the hostility of the public at the start of the stages, has with him five riders who were part of the victorious team in Dauphine (Kwiatkowski, Moscon, Thomas, Castroviejo, Rowe).
The outgoing winner of the Tour could thus recover in good position after his disappointments of the first stage, as well as two other losers of the same day, Adam Yates (Mitchelton) and the Australian Richie Porte (BMC).