Tenth on a difficult and tense stage, fifth overall and with two of his leading contenders losing time – Chris Froome (Team Sky) could hardly have hoped for a better opening two stages at this year’s Tour de France.
No contender would take satisfaction from his rivals crashing, of course, but Froome and his teammates will be justifiably content with their own race, while Alberto Contador – who crashed for the second time in two days – and Richie Porte both lost time.
Froome survived the melee on stage 2 to Cherbourg-En-Cotentin, taking 10th behind stage winner and new race leader Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), with Contador conceding 48 seconds and Porte 1:45 after an late puncture.
"I think the stage went well. The main objective was to stay up front and not lose any time. That worked out well for us," Froome said rather modestly after his post-stage warm-down.
"They’re pretty significant gaps but it’s of course too early to count them out. The Tour will be won and lost by minutes sometimes so these gaps are still insignificant."
True, the race will not be won on a blustery and wet stage in northern France, but today’s action may well prove to be significant in the grand scheme of things.
Porte has lost enough time for BMC to reasonably question whether they back Tejay van Garderen at 100 per cent and Contador, while not out of the frame, is clearly on his knees and suffering.
"It’s unfortunate and that comes with the territory in these kind of stages. That’s why we really try to make a big effort to be up front. Guys like Ian Stannard and Luke Rowe are up there protecting me on days like these and keeping me at the front to give me the best chance to stay out of trouble and out of harms way."
"That’s why you get your team to ride at the front, that’s why you fight for position. You give yourself the best chance to stay out of trouble. There are no guarantees but you give yourself the best chance."
On the final climb Froome even stuck his nose in the wind and it looked as though he would contend for the stage at one point. However there were still several faster riders and if the objective was to stay safe then Froome could toast to that success.
"It was pretty full on. It was sketchy coming into the final and I couldn’t really hear much but all in all I’m happy to have stayed out of trouble and not lost any time to the other contenders," he said.