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To paraphrase a well-worn cliché, you can’t win the Tour de France this early, but you certainly can lose it. Most of the big names made it through with little or no time lost, though there are some that will be going back to the drawing board as they look to either make up the deficit or change tactics.
Words by Sadhbh O’Shea; Images by Chris Auld
Daniel Martinez was among many pre-race picks for the final podium, but he had his hopes dented with a crash in the final 30 kilometers on the second stage. The Colombian had to chase with the help of Hugh Carthy to regain touch with the peloton and the effort showed as he was dropped on the final, uncategorized, climb and he lost 3:38 to the winner. His teammate Rigoberto Uran came through with the selection of just 37 riders, as did dark horse Sergio Higuita.
While Mikel Landa made it through the opening weekend with very little trouble, the same can’t be said for two of his key support riders at Bahrain McLaren. Rafa Valls Ferri was one of the many fallers in the slippery conditions on day one and did not start stage 2 due to a broken femur. Wout Poels, who broke his rib in the crash with 3km to go on stage one, decided to plug on but the Dutchman has lost a massive 25:47 on the overall and there will be a question mark over what he is capable of when the race hits the big mountains.
Julian Alaphilippe had a weekend of two halves after crashing in the rain and enduring multiple bike changes and chases on day one. He looked none the worse for his experience in the final kilometers of stage 2 as he out sprinted his breakaway companions to the stage win and the second yellow jersey of the race. After securing a top-five finish at last year’s Tour de France, Alaphilippe’s return to yellow will whet the appetite of French fans hoping for a home winner. It’s a long road to Paris, though, and the gap to his rivals is small.
Fellow Frenchman, and the home nation’s best shot at the overall, Thibaut Pinot had differing fortunes over the opening two days. Pinot escaped most of the carnage on the opening day only to come a cropper with a spill under the 3km to go marker. The Groupama-FDJ rider did not lose any time and he is just 17 seconds behind Alaphilippe but he took quite a hit – as did several key team mates – and it remains to be seen how his injuries develop over the coming days. His key team mate David Gaudu was dropped early on stage 2 and his future may be in question.
Despite Tony Martin’s promotion to peloton patron on stage 1, there was nothing the German could do to prevent his teammates George Bennett and Wout van Aert communing with the tarmac. Primoz Roglic and Tom Dumoulin came through unscathed, but the Dutchman would hit the deck in a lapse of concentration on stage 2. The pair still sit neatly at the cusp of the top 10, ready to pounce when the parcours gets tougher.
Ineos could not say the same with Pavel Sivakov crashing hard and losing more than 13 minutes in the overall classification. It’s an early blow for the team as the young rider could have done well alongside Egan Bernal in the mountains. The Russian lost yet more time on the second stage and is sitting in penultimate spot. Andrey Amador was another to suffer, and was in recovery mode on Sunday, losing 28min. Bernal managed to avoid the trouble and he still has Richard Carapaz close to him at 17 seconds down overall.
Dan Martin came into the Tour de France with a big question mark over his form after fracturing his sacral bone in a crash at the Criterium du Dauphine. The Israel Start-Up Nation rider made it to the start line, but he struggled with the pace on stage 2 and rolled in more than 17 minutes down. The team went into the race with ambitions for stage victories, and Martin’s time loss makes this the only option now for the Irishman.
Other early losers in the overall classification are Fabio Aru who, unseen by the cameras, was dropped and lost over two minutes on stage 2. Meanwhile, Marc Soler battled through knee pain to help his Movistar teammates and gave away just over a minute to the race leader. And then there were those who stayed hidden – Richie Porte hit the deck on day one, but he and Trek co-leader Bauke Mollema both made the selection on day two, along with team mate Kenny Elissonde. And the worst nightmare? Lotto-Soudal, bereft of both Philippe Gilbert and John Degenkolb in the space of a single day.
GC winners and losers after stage 2
1 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep 8:41:35
2 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:04
3 Marc Hirschi (Swi) Team Sunweb 0:00:07
4 Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Pro Cycling 0:00:17
5 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
6 Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott
7 Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
8 Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers
9 Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers
10 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
11 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma
13 Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic
18 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
19 Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar Team
21 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
25 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Pro Cycling
27 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
29 Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Astana Pro Team
30 Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo
32 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain McLaren
33 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
38 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:27
43 Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:02:24
46 Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Pro Cycling 0:03:53
52 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) CCC Team 0:04:40
101 Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation 18:00
127 Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain McLaren 0:26:02
172 Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Ineos Grenadiers 0:41:34