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Aggressive Belgian joins late 6-rider move, leaves behind his companions and narrowly holds off the peloton to take both the stage win and the yellow jersey

Photo: Sirotti

JAN BAKELANTS

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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30.06.2013 @ 17:33 Posted by Daniel Quistgaard

Jan Bakelants (Radioshack) took his first win as a professional on the biggest possible scene as the Belgian denied big favourite Peter Sagan (Cannondale) the win in the second stage of the Tour de France. By opening up a 1-second gap on the chasing peloton, the young Belgian also took over the yellow jersey from Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) who struggled on the many climbs and lost more than 17 minutes.

 

Jan Bakelants left behind a troublesome year that saw him miss most of the early season due to a knee injury when he won today's second stage of the Giro d'Italia in solo fashion. Despite numerous near-misses in the past, the Belgian had still not won a race as a professional and could not have imagined a bigger scene to finally get his maiden victory.

 

Bakelants triumphed at the end of a very tough stage that even saw big favourite Chris Froome (Sky) try his hand in the final. A hard tempo by FDJ on the main climbs at the mid-point of the stage had seen all the big sprinters getting dropped and a reduced peloton rallied towards the day's final tough climb, the short, steep Cote de Salario (1km, 8,9%).

 

Team Sky took control on the run-in to the ascent and Vasil Kiryienka set a hard tempo on the lower slopes. However, that did not discourage Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil) and Cyril Gautier (Europcar) from trying their hand and they gapped the peloton which was now led by first Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) and later Richie Porte (Sky).

 

Flecha was unable to keep up with Gautier and fell back into the main group which gradually got smaller and smaller. All the big favourites were, however, attentive and stayed near the front while Porte continued to power along.

 

Just over the top, Froome made a hugely surprising attack, setting off in lone pursuit of Gautier who had crested the summit as the lone leader. Saxo-Tinkoff could not allow the race favourite any leeway and so Roche started to chase. With 9km to, the Sky captain was back into the fold but that only invited other riders to go on the attack.

 

Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) was the first to try but big favourite Sagan was in his wheel and so he got nowhere. Instead, it was Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff), Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Janez Brajkovic (Astana) who opened up a small gap and they quickly caught Gautier.

 

Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol) took a huge turn on the front and brought the quartet back into the fold. However, Chavanel had not given up and he countered immediately, dragging along Flecha, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Gorka Izagirre (Euskaltel), Manuel Mori (Lampre) and Bakelants.

 

The sextet worked well together and opened up a 10-second gap on the peloton which was now led by Cannondale, the Italian team wanting to win the stage with Sagan. However, the Slovakian had only Alessandro De Marchi left for support and he struggled to bring back the escape on his own.

 

Sojasun, Garmin-Sharp and Orica-GreenEdge all had a big chance of taking yellow with Julien Simon, David Millar and Daryl Impey respectively, as those three riders had been well-placed in yesterday's stage. Hence, they started to chase hard and even Ryder Hesjedal and Andrew Talansky took some huge turns on the front.

 

With 1,5km to go, Bakelants went to the front on a small hill and when he looked back, he realized that he had gapped his companions. He put down the hammer and quickly opened up a gap on the chase group in which Chavanel was the only one committing to the work.

 

The 5-rider group was brought back and with Fuglsang no longer a stage win option, Astana kicked into action. Enrico Gasparotto hit the front with teammate Francesco Gavazzi in his wheel but his effort came a tad too late.

 

Bakelants narrowly held off the charging peloton while Sagan's sprint win only allowed him to take 2nd ahead of Kwiatkowski. As the Belgian winner still had a 1-second gap on the line, he also took over the yello jersey from Marcel Kittel who was left far behind on the earlier climbs.

 

Bakelants now takes that narrow 1-second gap into the final Corsican stage on the Tour, a short 145,5km run from Ajaccio to Calvi. Starting at 12.30, you can follow the entire stage on CyclingQuotes.com/live.

 

4 riders on the attack

The 156km second stage took in some hilly terrain but with the final 50km being almost all downhill, it was always a question whether the sprinters would be able to handle the strains. From the gun, attacks went clear as Sep Vanmarcke (Blanco) and Jens Voigt (Radioshack) were the first riders to try their hand.

 

The first move got nowhere and instead it was the counterattack launched by David Veilleux (Europcar), Blel Kadri (Ag2r), Ruben Perez (Euskaltel) and Lars Boom (Belkin) that was allowed to go clear. Voigt made a short-lived attempt to bridge the gap but when the German was brought back, the front quartet was allowed to put some distance into the peloton.

 

Simon tries to bridge

Simon attacked on his own and tried to bridge the gap but it was clear that he got nowhere. At the same time, Argos-Shimano and Omega Pharma-Quick Step put Albert Timmer and Jerome Pineau on the front of the peloton as the gap was now over three minutes.

 

Sojasun tried to force the front group to wait for Simon by putting 3 riders on the front of the peloton and brought the gap down to just 2.20. However, the French team decided to stop its effort and instead Simon chose to wait for the main group.

 

The peloton keeps everything under control

Pineau and Timmer were now joined by Alan Marangoni (Cannondale) to form a trio of workers that held the front group under firm control. Up ahead, Boom took maximum points in the intermediate sprint for the second day in a row without getting challenged at all.

 

The peloton's sprint for 5th was far more dramatic as Cannondale and Argos-Shimano gave Kittel and Sagan a full lead-out. However, it was Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) who crossed the line first ahead of the Slovakian and Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).

 

The peloton slows down

The sprint action had seen the gap drop down to less than a minute and so the peloton decided to slow down a bit to allow the advantage to grow back up to more than 2 minutes. However, Pineau, Marangoni and Timmer were quickly back on the front, this time joined by Frederik Willems (Lotto-Belisol).

 

As the peloton approached the day's first categorized climb, the battle for position intensified which saw the gap fall down to just 1.40. As soon as they started the ascent, the pace did slow down though as no one was apparently interested in putting the sprinters under pressure.

 

Cannondale ups the pace

That all changed in the final part of the climb as Cannondale finally decided to see if they could dislodge the sprinters. They were unable to do so on this climb but Cavendish had already drifted towards the back end of the peloton.

 

Up ahead, Boom beat Perez in the KOM sprint and after a short descent, the front quartet started the day's second climb. Veilleux upped the pace on the lower slopes and only Kadri was able to match his speed.

 

FDJ rides aggressively

Behind, FDJ set a furious pace as Jeremy Roy and Pierrick Fedrigo and later Alexandre Geniez and Arnold Jeannesson put down the hammer. Cavendish immediately lost contact and moments later it was all over for Kittel. The next in line was Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and finally, Greipel also had to give up on his stage win ambitions.

 

Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) launched an attack, passing Boom and Perez - who were caught by the peloton - in the process. He was unable to keep FDJ at bay though and fell back into the peloton moments later.

 

Kadri on his own

Veilleux was now also unable to keep up with Kadri who took maximum points on the climb while Veilleux was caught just after the top. The riders immediately started the first category 2 climb of the race and FDJ still applied a solid pressure.

 

Disaster struck for Kadri who had a mechanical but he managed to get back on his bike to keep a 10-second lead. That was the signal for Pierre Rolland (Europcar) to attack, the Frenchman quickly overtaking Kadri and taking maximum points on the climb. That moved him into the polka-dot jersey at the end of the day.

 

Feillu on the attack

Brice Feillu (Sojasun) bridged to Kadri but the Ag2r rider sprinted ahead of his fellow Frenchman to take second on the climb. Moments later, the duo was caught, leaving just Rolland ahead.

 

Vasil Kiryienka (Sky) set the pace on the descent to keep Froome safe but as the downhill section levelled out, it was time for BMC and Cannondale to up the pace. Brent Bookwalter (BMC) and Maciej Bodnar (Cannondale) set the pace for some time, bringing back Rolland who decided to wait for the main group.

 

Bodnar doing all the work

Bookwalter stopped his work which left just Bodnar to set the pace. At the same time, the other riders enjoyed the chance to take a short breather ahead of the hectic final.

 

As they approached the final climb whose top was located with just 12km to go, the pace significantly ramped up as the big teams battled for position. Sky led the team onto the lower slopes of the climb, thus setting off the dramatic final part of the race.

 

Result:

1. Jan Bakelants 3.43.11

2. Peter Sagan +0.01

3. Michal Kwiatkowski

4. Davide Cimolai

5. Edvald Boasson Hagen

6. Julien Simon

7. Francesco Gavazzi

8. Daryl Impey

9. Daniele Bennati

10. Sergey Lagutin

 

General classification:

1. Jan Bakelants 8.40.03

2. David Millar +0.01

3. Julien Simon

4. Daryl Impey

5. Edvald Boasson Hagen

6. Simon Gerrans

7. Michal Kwiatkowski

8. Sergey Lagutin

9. Christophe Riblon

10. Cadel Evans

 

Points classification:

1. Marcel Kittel 47

2. Peter Sagan 43

3. Alexander Kristoff 41

4. Lars Boom 40

5. Danny Van Poppel 39

 

Mountains classification:

1. Pierre Rolland 5

2. Blel Kadri 5

3. Cyril Gautier 2

4. Lars Boom 2

5. Brice Feillu 2

 

Youth classification:

1. Michal Kwiatkowski 8.40.04

2. Romain Bardet

3. Nairo Quintana

4. Ion Izagirre

5. Rudy Molard

 

Teams classification:

1. Radioshack 26.00.11

2. Vacansoleil +0.01

3. Orica-GreenEdge

4. Lampre-Merida

5. BMC

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