Ag2r La Mondiale rider chasing a stage win
It was a case of Tour de France Déjà vu for Ag2r La Mondiale's Blel Kadri who was the most combative rider on stage two for the second year running. Last year in Corsica, Kadri animated the day's breakaway and he repeated his efforts in Yorkshire to seal a visit to the podium in Sheffield.
Kadri was one of the seven riders who made their way into the day's major breakaway, and as he explained, his intention was to claim a debut stage win.
"I was pleased to be present at the front on a stage that we checked out," Kadri said. "That's always satisfying to be present when a goal is set! I quickly noticed that the other riders in the breakaway wished to fight for the polka dot jersey. I preferred not to take part to this fight and to remain focused on the stage win. That's why I attacked so far from the finish, around 60km.
"I knew that it would be complicated to win but I had to try my luck. I would have preferred to have some riders to help me but I didn't know the gap between me and the peloton because of the noise due to all the fans."
Kadri's breakaway exploits last year led to him leading the king of the mountains classification a few days later for one stage last year and he will have the opportunity to add to his tally on stage 4 for another stint in the polka dot jersey.
"I obtained the most combative rider award, I'm second on the KOM standings, that's great but my main goal remains to win a stage," the 27-year-old said. "That was the objective today and I will do all my best to achieve it before the end of the Tour."
While Kadri looks to claim his first stage win in his fifth Tour, Ag2r showed they are racing aggressively to win with numerous options with Romain Bardet attack in the final kilometres of the stage a demonstration of their intent over the next 19 stages. Bardet will start stage three in the best young riders jersey as the leader of the classification, Peter Sagan, will wear green.
With Christophe Riblon and Jean-Christophe Péraud also in the team, Kadri believes the French WorldTour squad is set for several more podium visits.
"Once again, we showed today we have a great collective spirit with also JC (Péraud) and Romain (Bardet) who tried their luck in the final part," Kadri said. "The team is strong and able to do at least as well as on the last Tour on which we were present in every important breakaways."
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