Van der Poel surges to late Tour de France Stage 2 win

Mur-de-Bretagne, France, Jun 27 (EFE).- The Netherlands’ Mathieu van der Poel surged to a late Stage 2 win in the Tour de France on Sunday, claiming – at least temporarily – the leader’s yellow jersey that his late grandfather, French cycling icon Raymond Poulidor, never managed to grab.

The 26-year-old Dutch cyclist with the Alpecin-Fenix team, who is making his debut appearance on the Tour, “gambled a little bit” during the Mur-de-Bretagne leg in his own words after the fact, attacking strongly on one of the climbing stage’s ascents to acquire eight bonus seconds and then later taking the overall lead by six seconds from defending Tour champion Tadej Pogacar.

Saying he gave it “everything” he had “because I knew I needed the bonus seconds if I wanted the (yellow) jersey,” Van der Poel added that “(I’m thinking of) my grandad, of course.”

Pogacar – with UAE Team Emirates – and Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), both Slovenians, were second and third in Stage 2.

Stage 2 was a 183.5-km (114-mile) contest.

France’s Julian Alaphilippe, despite a serious fall and a number of crashes involving other riders on the first leg of the race on Saturday, had secured the competition’s first yellow jersey on that day, winning stage 1 by a wide margin.

Alaphilippe claimed 10 bonus seconds at the finish line for his dramatic late uphill surge and crossed the finish line an additional 12 seconds ahead of the No. 2 rider, Australia’s Michael Matthews.

Roglic was in third place at the end of the day on Saturday and Pogacar was just behind the leading group, with bikers moving at about 70 kilometers (43 miles) per hour and aggressively vying for position, a situation that resulted in second of two mass falls, this one involving some 20 riders.

The initial fall on Saturday was caused by a fan and among the more than 20 riders who went down was four-time Tour champion Chris Froome.

Stage 3 on Monday will run from Lorient to Pontivy, a trek of 182.9 km.

The Tour de France riders set out from the Atlantic port of Brest on Saturday, and the race will be run from June 26 through July 18, a 21-day cycling trek across France.

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