Stage 2 of the Tour de France from Utrecht to Zelande could not have panned out much better for Chris Froome (Team Sky), with the former winner putting time into every single one of his main pre-race rivals during a gripping and tense battle through Dutch crosswinds.
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff Saxo) conceded four seconds after a late split but Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) – both victims in the crosswinds – lost 1:28 to the British rider on a day in which their overall aspirations took a damaging blow.
Podium contender Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) also lost a handful of seconds to Froome, and what's more, Team Sky succeeded thanks to the work of others, with Etixx-QuickStep, BMC Racing and Tinkoff-Saxo the main protagonists in splitting the bunch.
"This is a huge advantage for us now, sitting in this position after one flat day out on the road, that's fantastic. But this is a three-week race and as we've seen, things do change on a daily basis. We're ahead today, but who knows what's in store for us for the rest of the week?" Froome told the media after his warm-down.
That was just a warning and after the peloton regrouped and the heavens opened, Etixx-QuickStep split the bunch with an acceleration that had Quintana and his Movistar team in disarray.