Étape of the Day – Bravo Julian!

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If Stage 1 was an unexpected win for Alexander Kristoff, Stage 2 certainly wasn’t an unexpected triumph for a rider who lit up last year’s Tour. There was no hope in betting against Julian Alaphilippe to win today’s stage in a three-up sprint with the approaching peloton.

After lighting up the Tour last year it isn’t surprising that Julian Alaphilippe has done exactly the same again. He’s back in the yellow jersey and who knows for how long!

The day started with the fight for the green jersey as Matteo Trentin fought for points up against Peter Sagan. In the break, AG2R’s Benoit Cosnefroy and Cofidis rider Anthony Perez battled Frenchman on Frenchman for the polka-dot jersey. Cosnefroy himself put in so much effort to keep up with the pace on the Col de Turini so hats off to him – our new leader in the polka-dots!

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The break was caught on the descent of the Turini and throughout the final 80 km we saw Jumbo-Visma control the race up until the final climb on the Col d’Èze.

The stage headlines though belong to Julian Alaphilippe, a rider who attacked on the final loop of the Nice circuit was joined by Adam Yates and Marc Hirschi before jumping them both.

Last year Alaphilippe lit up the race and who would bet on him doing the same again. A superb stage win another appearance in the yellow jersey, could the GC now be Alaphilippe’s target. If you were Jumbo-Visma or Ineos – here is a rider who could easily spring a surprise.

For Sunweb’s Marc Hirschi he’s another talent who should be proud for having a go but for Adam Yates, he’s in a similar situation to Alaphilippe himself. Both riders have declared pre-race that they’re not going for the GC but could they be bluffing? We’ll have to see how they both fare in the stages ahead.

All the contenders finished safely. Ineos pair Egan Bernal and Richard Carapaz are in the top ten as is Tom Dumoulin. Both Jumbo-Visma and Team Ineos will be relatively happy with the start to their Tour despite some bumps and bruises. Controlling the front of the peloton seems to be Jumbo-Visma’s new role, a role that we’ve been accustomed to by Ineos over the years. The battle between the two teams goes on.

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Ride of the day though belongs to Groupama-FDJ’s David Gaudu. A key domestique to Thibaut Pinot we saw him suffering with a back problem as soon as the stage began. The young Frenchman finished the stage – chapeau sir!

Early days but the GC now has a structure. Julian Alaphilippe is in yellow and for Deceuninck-Quick Step another opportunity for Sam Bennett to sprint tomorrow.

Stage 2 was a classic, edge of your seat stage. It was classic Julian Alaphilippe, one of the best if not the best bike rider in world cycling right now.

He’s back in yellow. Could the 2019 Tour de France be repeating itself?

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