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They came to the Tour de France to get Fabio Jakobsen a victory, and QuickStep-AlphaVinyl made that dream come true on a chaotic finale to stage 2. Race leader Yves Lampaert showed himself at the front as the lead-out for Jakobsen and, despite a late surge from Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Jakobsen powered past the green jersey wearer to the victory.
The team’s non-selection of last year’s green jersey winner Mark Cavendish led to plenty of pre-race polemics, but Jakobsen payed back the team’s trust with his first Tour stage win.
“Today is incroyable. For me, it was a long process step by step. A lot of people helped me along the way. This is to pay them back so they can see it was not for nothing. I’m happy I still enjoy riding the bike and racing and luckily I can still win. It’s an amazing day and I’d like to thank all the people that helped me to here,” Jakobsen said.
“The team kept me in a good position in front when we exited from the bridge with the right-left combination and then the final straight. I could stay behind Morkov. He dropped me in the wheel of Van Aert. In the last few hundred metres I was on the left next to Sagan, we touched but luckily we stayed upright. There was a final stretch of 150 metres where I could launch and pass the other two.
“When I tell it like this it sounds easy but for sure the legs were in pain. This is what we train for, this is why we race. A stage of the Tour de France is what I’ve been dreaming about for 15 years.”
Van Aert just held off Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and, thanks to the time bonus, moved into the race lead. The Belgian leads the Tour de France by one second over Lampaert, with defending champion Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) in third at eight seconds.
There was mayhem in the closing kilometres with a massive spill blocking the road with 2.2 kilometres to go. The riders would not lose time but several riders limped in minutes after the stage winner, with Pogačar rolling in alone, finishing with two flat tyres, and waving to the crowd safe in the knowledge he would be given the same time as the leaders.
The crash in the finale was not the only significant fall, as EF Education-EasyPost’s GC leader Rigoberto Urán came down after a touch of wheels in the frantic run-up to the Great Belt Bridge with 21km to go and, on the crosswind section of the lengthy span, Lampaert came down in a similar incident two kilometres later.
The maillot jaune was quickly up and running and, with a spell behind the team cars and a slackening of the pace, Lampaert was back in and in shape to lead-out Jakobsen to victory, bringing his miraculous recovery from the 2020 Tour de Pologne near-death crash to a close. It took Urán another 10km to get back on but he also made it in safely.
Of the general classification contenders, Pogačar, and Jumbo-Visma leader Jonas Vingegaard and Primož Roglič are the best placed at 8, 16 and 17 seconds, respectively, from Van Aert.
How it unfolded
The second stage of the Tour’s Grand Départ in Denmark would be the longest of the three stages in Scandinavia, taking in 202km from Roskilde to Nyborg and an expected sprint finish.
Few obstacles stood between the riders and the finish, though three fourth-category climbs in the middle of the stage would provide the race with its first polka dot jersey wearer, and the 18km long Great Belt Bridge inside the final 21km threw up the possibility of crosswind action.
The race got underway a few kilometres late after punctures for Tim Wellens and Adam Yates in the neutral roll-out saw race director Christian Prudhomme hold the flag drop on the first road stage of the 2022 Tour.
When he did drop the flag, however, the first big battle for the breakaway never materialised. Instead, four men jumped away from the peloton in the opening kilometres of the race, with the sprinter’s teams quick to block the road behind and let the move ride away.
The B&B Hotels-KTM pairing of Cyril Barthe and Pierre Rolland were joined out front by home favourite Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost) and Sven Erik Bystrøm (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert).
Despite the lack of drama early on, the cheers from the massive crowds that lined the roads out of Roskilde weren’t dampened, with the sunny skies making it a nice day to spectate as well as go racing – in contrast to Friday’s opening time trial.
There was little action to write home about in the first 50km of the stage as the riders headed north-west across the island of Zealand on the way to the bridge and the island of Funen.
Instead, the break was held on a tight leash by the sprint squads, with 1:30 the maximum advantage the four men out front could extract from the situation. Things pepped up once the break hit the day’s first climb, the fourth-category Côte d’Asnæs Indelukke.
There, Barthe pushed a hard pace before dropping back only for teammate Rolland to be unable to do anything as Cort took it up and pushed on with Bystrøm. The Dane duly took the first KOM point of the Tour as the B&B Hotels-KTM duo were surprisingly dropped.
They wouldn’t make it back for the next climb of the Côte d’Høve Stræde, nor for the third and final hill of the day, the Côte de Kårup Strandbakke. The pair languished 15 seconds behind as Cort out-sprinted Bystrøm on the second climb and lay 40 seconds down when Cort took his third point of the day soon after.
Cort raised his arms in the air in celebration as he crossed the top, the first polka dot jersey of the race in the bag as the Danish fans cheered him on.
He and Bystrøm headed into the final 100km with a three minute lead on the peloton, while Barthe and Rolland were brought back by the peloton after a fruitless 100km at the head of the race.
The intermediate sprint at 75km to go was next on the docket for the riders, marking the point at which they would turn south and head along the coast towards the bridge and the stage finale.
On the approach to the sprint, the breakaway’s gap tumbled as the peloton sped up as the wind blew ominously across the road. Bystrøm led Cort across the line uncontested, and just over 30 seconds later it was Caleb Ewan who led the peloton across the line, grabbing 15 points ahead of Wout van Aert’s 13 and Peter Sagan’s 11.
A block headwind kept the peloton from catching the two leaders who continued to dangle out front until Bystrøm left Cort behind with 60km to go.
Bystrøm continued to fly the blue and neon yellow flag ahead of the bunch until the headwind proved too much and the peloton swept past with a vicious surge just before a turn into the crosswind with 31.2km to go.
Nerves heading into the Great Belt Bridge spelled disaster for Rigoberto Urán, who crashed and was left behind with 21km to go. The peloton was in full flight and the incident split a few echelons out the back as the race headed onto the 18km-long span.
The nerves led to chaos with a crash bringing down the maillot jaune with 19.3km to go. The strong wind and respect for the leader led to a lull in the pace, with Lampaert glued to the bumper of the team cars until his teammates dropped back to pace him to the front.
The officials blocked the Urán chase group from using the team cars, and he was a minute behind for the second half of the bridge as the race turned into a headwind, allowing the chase to gain ground. They made it to the convoy with 10.7km to go and Urán safely back in the fold, albeit minus a packet of matches.
Bob Jungels crashed in a turn but the AG2R rider was the only one to crash there, but only metres later, with 2.3km to go, there was a much larger crash involving Ineos Grenadiers and dozens of others.
The spill did not disrupt the sprinters, however, and Jakobsen had a clean run into the line, coming from behind to edge out Van Aert and Pedersen.
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