Chavanel Wins Stage 2 of Tour and Dons Yellow Jersey
Another crash-marred stage of the 2010 Tour de France has finished, and Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) has won it.
Another crash-marred stage of the 2010 Tour de France has finished, and Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) has won it. The Frenchman, who was once viewed as a potential Tour de France champion, soloed home to win Stage 2, a rolling, 201-km ride from Brussels to Spa, Belgium in 4:40:48. The finish was neutralized, and no other podium spots or sprint competition points were contested. Chavanel finished 3:56 ahead of the field and has taken the maillot jaune from Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank).
The hostilies began early. Just after the 10-km mark, Chavanel attacked, and Reine Taaramae (Cofidis), Jerome Pineau (Quick Step), Sebastien Turgot (Bouygues Telecom), Jurgen Roelandts (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre), Matthew Lloyd (Omega Pharma-Lotto), and Marcus Burghardt (BMC) joined him. The octet ran up a seven-minute lead before Saxo Bank began to chase. When the race reached the first of six categorized climbs, the escapees' lead was down to three minutes.
The break remained intact over the first three ascents (all were Category 4), but attrition took its toll on the fourth climb, the Category 3 Col d'Alsomont. Lloyd, Turgot, Burghardt, and Gavazzi were dropped. As the peloton descended the Alsomont, the day's major crash occurred.
Major players such as Lance Armstrong (RadioShack), Andy and Frank Schleck (both from Saxo Bank), Stage 1 winner Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre), and Christian Vande Velde and Tyler Farrar (both from Garmin) found themselves on the ground. Vande Velde crashed a second time, suffering two broken ribs, and would abandon after finishing the stage. According to Sky manager Dave Brailsford, "It was carnage in the true sense of the word. Sixty guys must have crashed in different places." Cancellara slowed what remained of the peloton to allow those who had crashed or been delayed to get back on.
By the time that the Cancellara group reached the base of the last climb, the Category 3 Col du Rosier, all of the heads of state except the Schleck brothers and Vande Velde had rejoined the peloton. The former rejoined on the climb. Ahead, Chavanel dropped Roelandts, his last companion. Cancellara approached race official Jean-Francois Pescheux. The two reached what Pescheux termed "a tacit agreement" that the sprint would be neutralized and that only Chavanel would receive points.
In the overall, Chavanel leads Cancellara by 2:57 and Tony Martin (HTC-Columbia) by 3:07. Given that Stage 3 will feature 13.2 km of cobblestones, including sections of the Paris-Roubaix course, more crashes should be expected. The flat, 213-km run from Wanze, Belgium will bring the 2010 Tour to France. It will end at Arenberg-Porte du Hainaut. Teams with classics riders such as Saxo Bank (Cancellara and Stuart O'Grady have three Paris-Roubaix wins between them), Cervelo (Thor Hushovd), and Sky (Juan Antonio Flecha) should produce a winner. Who will win? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!