Julian Alaphilippe won the second stage in the Tour de France on Sunday. The Frenchman was the strongest of a three-man breakaway in the first mountain stage. Tom Dumoulin went down in the final and was released with a fright.
On the second day of the Tour, the first mountain stage was already on the program. The peloton covered 186 kilometers to and from Nice and had to conquer two climbs of the first category and one of the second category along the way. The finish was 9 kilometers after the top of a short climb.
Shortly after the start, eight riders attacked, including Peter Sagan and Matteo Trentin. However, the Italian had to release quickly due to material trouble, after winning the first intermediate sprint shortly before.
Sagan stayed ahead and formed the leading group with Lukas Pöstlberger, Kasper Asgreen, Benoît Cosnefroy, Toms Skujins, Anthony Perez and Michael Gogl. On the Col de la Colmiane, the first ascent of the day, the septet had a lead of about three minutes.
Despite a breakout by Cosnefroy on that mountain of the first category, the escapees came together again in the descent. On the Col de Turini, the second climb of the first category, Sagan had to release from the leading group and the pace in the peloton was too high for the yellow jersey carrier Alexander Kristoff.
Leading group is caught on Col d'Èze
The other six refugees did stay ahead and saw their lead on the peloton led by Jumbo-Visma quickly diminish. At the foot of the Col d'Èze, a climb of the second category, the sextet was arrested.
The peloton was gradually thinned out on that climb. For example, it went too fast for Dan Martin, Tejay van Garderen and Tiesj Benoot. In the descent, Daniel Felipe Martínez crashed for the second time in the stage. The winner of the Critérium du Dauphiné fell behind, but returned before the last climb.
Eventually a group of about fifty riders started on the Col de Quatre Chemins, after which Julian Alaphilippe went on the attack. The Frenchman made a gap and could only follow Sunweb rider Marc Hirschi. Not much later, Adam Yates joined the leading duo.
Shortly before, Tom Dumoulin crashed after hitting INEOS rider Michal Kwiatkowski's wheel. The Limburger was able to continue quickly, but was just behind the peloton.
Alaphilippe, Hirschi and Yates stayed ahead with a lead of twenty seconds and competed for the stage victory in Nice. Just before the oncoming peloton, Alaphilippe turned out to be the strongest of the three.