Finally payoff for Bakelants

Bryn Lennon

After a heartstopping chase to the line Radioshacks Jan Bakelants managed to hold off a charging bunch by a second to grab the stagewin and Yellow jersey on the second stage of the Tour de France.

In the final kilometer the Belgian dropped his companions from a late attack in the final 10 kms that came after the peloton had cleared the final short sharp climb and descent more or less intact. He bit his handlebars trying to hold off the mad dash of the sprinters behind. Cannondale and Orica did their best to launch their fastmen but the effort came off just a few meters short, Sagan came in second but Impey only managed 8th. The win was a long awaited success for Bakelants who has struggled to get the big results on the World Tour level.

Speculation was whether many sprinters would be able to contest the stage after a day with quite hard climbs. The answer came early as the pace on the climbs was high, both as a result of attacking and because FDJ went to the front in a conscious effort to thin the field. The result was immediate as Cavendish, Kristoff and Yellow Jersey Marcel Kittel were dropped early and dropped many minutes behind. The remaining big peloton stayed intact over the final Cote de Salario where race favorite Chris Froome made a curious attack over the top, easily distancing the field but without an apparent intent beyond perhaps staying safe on the steep descent.

French favorite Pierre Rolland crowned an aggressive stage for Europcar by attacking on the Cat 2 Col de Vizzavona to grab the Climbers Jersey, a jersey he may have designs on wearing in Paris, beyond his General Classification objectives. A strong sprint put Omega Pharma's Michal Kwiatkowski in the White Jersey for best young rider continuing the magical season he has had all through the spring classics, the Dauphiné and to the Tour that he got a late call-up for.

The early break consisted of David Veilleux (EUC), Lars Boom (BEL), Ruben Perez (EUS) and Blel Kadri (ALM) with Julian Simon unsuccesfully trying to bridge. As he wasn't allowed to join the Sojasun team tried briefly to lead the peloton and close down the breakaway but to no avail. The break got little out of their efforts today as they were chased down by an active peloton on the Cat 3 and Cat 2 climbs mid-stage.

Stage Result:

1. BELBAKELANTS Jan 42 RADIOSHACK LEOPARD 03h 43' 11''
2. SVKSAGAN Peter 11 CANNONDALE 03h 43' 12'' + 00' 01''
3. POLKWIATKOWSKI Michal 153 OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP 03h 43' 12'' + 00' 01''
4. ITACIMOLAI Davide 143 LAMPRE - MERIDA 03h 43' 12'' + 00' 01''
5. NORBOASSON HAGEN Edvald 2 SKY PROCYCLING 03h 43' 12'' + 00' 01''
6. FRASIMON Julien 218 SOJASUN 03h 43' 12'' + 00' 01''
7. ITAGAVAZZI Francesco 65 ASTANA PRO TEAM 03h 43' 12'' + 00' 01''
8. RSAIMPEY Daryl 185 ORICA GREENEDGE 03h 43' 12'' + 00' 01''
9. ITABENNATI Daniele 92 TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF 03h 43' 12'' + 00' 01''
10. UZBLAGUTIN Sergey 206 VACANSOLEIL-DCM 03h 43' 12''

+ 00' 01''

General Classification:

1. BELBAKELANTS Jan 42 RADIOSHACK LEOPARD 08h 40' 03''
2. GBRMILLAR David 176 GARMIN - SHARP 08h 40' 04'' + 00' 01''
3. FRASIMON Julien 218 SOJASUN 08h 40' 04'' + 00' 01''
4. RSAIMPEY Daryl 185 ORICA GREENEDGE 08h 40' 04'' + 00' 01''
5. NORBOASSON HAGEN Edvald 2 SKY PROCYCLING 08h 40' 04'' + 00' 01''
6. AUSGERRANS Simon 181 ORICA GREENEDGE 08h 40' 04'' + 00' 01''
7. POLKWIATKOWSKI Michal 153 OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP 08h 40' 04'' + 00' 01''
8. UZBLAGUTIN Sergey 206 VACANSOLEIL-DCM 08h 40' 04'' + 00' 01''
9. FRARIBLON Christophe 89 AG2R LA MONDIALE 08h 40' 04'' + 00' 01''
10. AUSEVANS Cadel 31 BMC RACING TEAM 08h 40' 04'' + 00' 01''

Points:

1. GERKITTEL Marcel 197 TEAM ARGOS-SHIMANO 47 pts
2. SVKSAGAN Peter 11 CANNONDALE 43 pts
3. NORKRISTOFF Alexander 103 KATUSHA TEAM 41 pts

Meilleur Grimpeur:

1. FRAROLLAND Pierre 51 TEAM EUROPCAR 5 pts
2. FRAKADRI Blel 87 AG2R LA MONDIALE 5 pts
3. FRAGAUTIER Cyril 54 TEAM EUROPCAR 2 pts

Young Rider:

1. POLKWIATKOWSKI Michal 153 OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP 08h 40' 04''
2. FRABARDET Romain 82 AG2R LA MONDIALE 08h 40' 04'' + 00' 00''
3. COLQUINTANA ROJAS Nairo Alexander 128 MOVISTAR TEAM 08h 40' 04'' + 00' 00''
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