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Tour de France 2010: Stage 2

Stage two of the Tour de France takes us through Belgium, and those short but steep climbs that are so popular with the Spring Classics riders.  Will everyone stay upright today, or will they all hit the pavement again, like in stage one?

Hello and welcome back to the Tour de Crash! Oops, let's make that the Tour de France. The biggest news is that we have climbs today! Six ranked climbs, all in roughly the last half of the 201 kms. It should be another exciting day today.

We hear that all 195 riders have signed in today, which doesn't make much sense.  Adam Hansen of HTC-Columbia is an iron man, as he proved by finishing yesterday, but surely they wouldn't let him start today with a broken sternum, collar bone and ribs?

Today starts our with a 10km long neutralized stage, so nothing will happen until the "real" start at half past.   Think we will see anothe successful breakaway right from the start, like yesterday?

It looks like the weather is finally cooperating, for just about the first time all year. Our forecast today is for sunshine and 23° Celsius, which sounds absolutely wonderful!

Hansen did not start today, of course.  We wish him a speedy recovery!

Let's take our usual daily look at who is leading which ranking. No change yesterday in the Top Ten GC:
1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank 5:19:38
2 Tony Martin (Ger) Team HTC - Columbia 0:00:10
3 David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Transitions 0:00:20
4 Lance Armstrong (USA) Team Radioshack 0:00:22
5 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:00:23
6 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 0:00:27
7 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Transitions 0:00:28
8 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team Radioshack
9 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:00:32
0 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram 0:00:35
 

There was a change in the green jersey, though. Alessandro Petacchi of Lampre is leading things there now, ahead of Mark Renshaw (HTC-Columbia) and Thor Hushovd (Cervelo).

The race has officially started now.  By the way, they were five minutes late.

195km remaining from 201km

Eight riders are trying to break away.  Too soon to know who they are, or whether they will have any chance.

Tony Martin (HTC-Columbia) is still best young rider, leading Geraint Thomas and Edvald Boasson Hagen, both Team Sky, in that ranking.

The group has 13 seconds on the peloton.

That group was caught, and now Sylvain Chavanel is trying to get away.  He has 10 seconds on the Saxo Bank-led peloton at the moment.

179km remaining from 201km

Chavanel has company now. He is now in a group with Matthew Lloyd (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Jürgen Roelandts (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Marcus Burghardt (BMC), Jerome Pineau (QuickStep), Sebasitien Turgot (Bbox), Rein Taaramae (Cofidis), and Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre). They have 55 seconds now on the peloton.

Team RadioShack still leads the team ranking, with HTC-Columbia and Garmin-Transitions quite close behind them.

There was no change in the mountain ranking, because no mountain points have yet been awarded. But they will be today!

174km remaining from 201km

The highest placed rider in this group is Taaramae. He was 33rd overall, only 45 seconds down. Now that the gap has grown to 1:55, he is now the virtual leader. Not bad for a Tour novice!

170km remaining from 201km

The gap has jumped another minute, to 2:55.  Looks like we have our group of the day!

167km remaining from 201km

Yup, definitely the group of the day.  The peloton has decided to let them go, and the gap is now 4:25.

For those of you playing our Easton-Cyclingnews Wheelset a Day Giveaway during the Tour de France, here is your trivia question for the day: Who has the greatest number of Tour podiums ever?

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Today's prize is an Easton EC90 Aero.

Click here for information about the prize

 

Climbs! We have climbs today! Ranked climbs! Not real big ones, to be sure, but then again, we are in Belgium, you know. And here they are:


Km 98.0 - Côte de France - 2.2 km climb to 6.2 % - Category 4
Km 128.5 - Côte de Filot - 3.9 km climb to 4.5 % - Category 4
Km 136.0 - Côte de Werbomont - 4.5 km climb to 3.5 % - Category 4
Km 161.5 - Côte d'Aisomont - 4.5 km climb to 5.2 % - Category 3
Km 167.5 - Col de Stockeu - 3.0 km climb to 5.9 % - Category 3
Km 189.0 - Col du Rosier - 6.4 km climb to 4 % - Category 3

Who do you blame for crashes in the finale like we saw yesterday? Cycling legend Eddy Merckx knows where to lay the blame. “It's part of the job. Especially in the beginning of a Grand Tour You can not blame the organisation. A straight line is 1800 meters long enough anyway, right? It is the riders themselves who bear the blame. If you do not want to brake and if you are not afraid to go for an opponent who is faster, the do not be afraid of the crash,” he told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.

153km remaining from 201km

The gap crept up to nearly seven minutes, and the peloton found that was getting a bit much. It is now back down to 6:10.

148km remaining from 201km

Down, down, down comes the gap. It's now at 5:40.

The scanners were active again yesterday, busily checking bikes for batteries or engines. They didn't find any in the bikes of Alessandro Petacchi, Tyler Farrar, Kanstantsin Sivtsov, Danilo Hondo and Mirco Lorenzetto.

Yesterday's escape was engineered by Rabobank's Lars Boom, who said “it is very beautiful to get away for a day in your own country and lead the race. … The public was again very numerous and very enthusiastic, even in Belgium. Everywhere we were loudly encouraged. It is wonderful to ride through it.”

He also disclosed that “I had previously discussed it with Maarten Wynants and we rode away together.”
 

Michael Barry of Team Sky is finally making his Tour debut, and his assignment yesterday was to baby-sit captain Bradley Wiggins.

"My job is basically to take care of him, make sure he stays out of trouble, and keep him in position and protected from the wind," explained Barry. "And when he has mechanical problems, and even needs to take a pee or whatever, then I have to stop and wait for him and help to bring him back.”

 

 

Did we say something about sunshine?  Silly us!  THere were showers this morning in Brussels, and it is raining now in Spa.  At least it is at the moment dry where the riders are.

Maarten Wynants wasn't too excited about how the stage went yesterday. was he?

“I was lucky at the start,” he said. The first breakaway was the good one. I was with Boom and Perez, everybody did their part in the breakaway. I'm happy because I was the first Belgian rider to cross the border today! It was an exciting moment!”

Milram's Fabian Wegmann has had problems with his back for a year now, and thought he had it healed. So of course he got caught in the mass crash yesterday “and now my back is really sore.”

As he said, “The advantge on the situtaion was that I fell relatively softly on to the poor guy in front of me and didn't get hurt. The disadvantage is that there were still a lot of people coming up from behind, so I had the questionable hnour of having Fabian Cancellara in his yellow jersey sliding over my back.”

127km remaining from 201km

Andreas Klöden has punctured, but the RadioShack team car is quickly there to help him.

The gap is now at 4:25.

One sprinter who would dearly have loved to have been in at the finish yesterday is Tom Boonen.  The QuickStep rider isn't in the race this year, though, due to a bum knee. 

"It's a bit strange to be here with the other guys, who are getting ready for the stage," he told Cyclingnews.

You can read more about it here.

Oscar Freire of Rabobank went down in the first of the crashes in the finale. “It's a bit painful, but I think it's not too bad,” he said, more upset about the lost chance than anything else. “I felt very good and was in a good position, but it was suddenly over. But that's cycling.”

Let's give a nice round of welcoming applause to Cyclinngews' newest, Barry Ryan.  He is going to step in for a short spell on live report.  This is his maiden effort, so be nice to him, folks!

Hi there, the break is approaching the feed, still with 4-10 over the peloton

110km remaining from 201km

The gap is starting to come down a little more quickly now as the feed and the first climb approaches

105km remaining from 201km

And the gap is just over three minutes as the peloton hits the feed zone.

103km remaining from 201km

The break has come through the feed and is now starting the first climb of the Tour, the Cote de France

Jerome Pineau is first over the climb, outsprinting Matthew Lloyd and Rein Taaramae

102km remaining from 201km

Those were the first points on offer in the Mountains Classification in this year's Tour. Interesting to see Giro mountains winner Lloyd up there in the hunt already

Cervelo leading the peloton over the climb, 3:37 behind

Petacchi is at the rear of the peloton, removing his undervest. He's having a real struggle to get the green jersey back on over his head. Don't try this at home kids

Good to see Sylvain Chavanel off the front of the bunch again so soon after his fracturing his skull in that horrible crash at Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

Thanks, Barry.  Susan back again.

Cancellara is quite far back at the moment, like behind the team cars.  But we doubt that it will take long for him to get back to the peloton.

89km remaining from 201km

The gap is 3:22, with the peloton being led by Cervelo.

There are a number of riders trailing the peloton, either individually or in small groups.  No one seems to really have been dropped, though.

Cancellara finally catches up again.

The lead group has gone through the next intermediate sprint, with Roelandts crossing the line ahead of Turgot and Chavanel.

The leading group passes a field of grazing cows, who show themselves not at all impressed by the spectacle of the Tour de France.

The sky is very definitely not blue any more.  We think we see a few raindrops as well, but are trying to pretend we don't.

The gap is down to 3:01.

Two Astana riders are dangling at the end of the field.  They seem to be waiting for someone.....

78km remaining from 201km

Ah, the sun is out again.  Too bad the leaders are going through a heavily wooded section right now and have only shade.

The leaders start up the next climb of the day.

Oscar Freire of Rabobank went down in the first of the crashes in the finale.  “It's a bit painful, but I think it's not too bad,” he said, more upset about the lost chance than anything else.  “I felt very good and was in a good position, but it was suddenly over.  But that's cycling.”

We have movement in the break group. Are they trying to get away, or just to get the mountain points?

71km remaining from 201km

RadioShack moves to the front of the peloton.

Hey, look out!  Someone just waved a flag into the field, and a few riders had to dodge or ride through it.

Another field of cows, who pay a bit more attention.

The gap had crept under three minutes, but now it is just over that mark, 3:05.

Daniel Navarro drops back to the Astana car and loads up on water bottles.

By the way, Pineau won the mountain ranking ahead of Taaramae and Lloyd.

The gap has just dropped a lot.  Somehow we doubt aht all this can be right.  It is now 2:27.

The leaders are now on their way up the next climb.

We have a crash.  Two rides have gone done. A Caisse d'Epargne rider popped right back up and got on his way, and a BBox rider had to wrestle his bike back into condition before he could do the same.

A ghost!  Eek!

Or is it just someone clad in a sheet on the side of the road?

Less than a km to the top of the next climb, and this road is defnitely wet.

Once again there is a sprint for the mountain points.

And once again it is Pineau ahead of Taaramae and Lloyd.

A Liquigas rider pulls out his stage map and tries to figure out where he is. 

Oops, there are raindrops.  For sure, now. Not good.

This weather really does not look nice.  It is very dark, the road is very wet, and there is rain coming down.

Pineau has fallen back to the team car and seems to have an issue with his right shoe.

59km remaining from 201km

The gap continues to go down, it is at 2:07 now.

Oops, another crash.  We recognize Martin Elinger, Silak, Dean, who is slow getting up.  We have riders down on both sides of the road.

A Lotto rider seems to be injured, we understand is is Mickael Delage.

He has facial injuries and is bleeding.

That spring the peloton.  A bunch of people will have to scurry to catch up now.

There is only a small group now, maybe 30 riders around the yellow jersey?  We see another large group coming up behind them.  The gap is down to 1:47.

We see Armstrong and Petacchi together in a group, but not sure which one.

Apparently Delage was the only injured in that crash.  We still do not know if he has abandoned or continued.

So of course we now hear that he was forced to abandon.  Meanwhile the rain is getting heavier, and the gap is getting smaller, down to 1:33.

And Löfkvist gets some adjustments on his bike.

Chavanel seems to have been dropped from the lead group.  Doesn't make that much difference, the gap is still falling so they will all be caught soon.

And bunches of riders are still moving up through the team cars to catch the peloton.

50km remaining from 201km

Burghardt has built up a slight lead over his former escape companions.  No, there they come to catch him.

Saxo Bank is at the head of the peloton and they have turned up the speed.  The field is stretched out single file now.

156km remaining from 201km

A Katusha rider is helping to bring Vladimir Karpets back up to the peloton.

Only 49 seconds left for the break.

It is up the next climb for the leading group.

Thor Hushovd managed to avoid the crashes and sprint for the victory in Brussels.  The big Norwegian brought in a third place finish for Cervelo TestTeam. 

The weather seems to have improved ever so slightly.  The road is not wet and it doesn't appear to be raining at the moment.

40km remaining from 201km

40 km to go and a gap of 40 seconds.

Once again the sprint for the mountain points.  And the points go to Pineau, who ought to have the KOM jersey secured now.  This time second was Taaramae and third was Burghardt.

A Katusha rider has punctured, and keeps on going until he can get help.

The lead group has sort of split up, every man for himself now.  They are racing along, trying to stay away.

Roelandts leads now, over the exploded lead group.

Chavanel has not fallen out of the lead group, as we had thought, but has moved up to join Roelandts in the lead. And in fact takes up ahead of the Belgian.

The weather was getting better? Who on earth said that?  It is raining again....

No surprise to see Mark Cavendish falling off the back of the field, but it is surprising to see Gerald Ciolek (Milram) back there with him.

167km remaining from 201km

The field gets Burghardt and at the same time, Maxime Monfort of HTC-Columbia attacks.

Astana moves to the head of the peloton.

Now an Euskaltel rider attacks.

More and more rain....

Another crash.  Andy Schleck has gone done and looks to be injured.  He has a teammate's bike but is gong very slowly.

A number of riders have gone down.  We see Cancellara alone, but don't at the moment know who is where.

Petacchi also appears to be injured.

Handfuls of rider are dribbling along.  Everyone is going slowly, hoping to gather the troops again.

Schleck is going but does not look good.

We still don't know what happened...

There is a mjaor discussion going on at the head of the first chase group.  Vande Velde also went down, we think, when we see his kit.

Schleck seems to be doing a bit better now.  Hopefully it was the shock that got to him.  He is pretty far back, though.

Now he gets a bike adjustment. Schleck  is now 4:18 back.

The two leaders have built up a 1:38 lead now. 

At least the sun has come out agian!

We see Tony Martin, Andeas Klöden in the Cancellara group.  Don't know if Armstrong is in it too.

No, he is not.  We see him moving up in a group, with 4 teammates.  It llooks like he went down, too.  Contador is also in his group.

Schleck is now with two teammates, moving on up.

21km remaining from 201km

Just over 20 km left to go -- we may see some major upsets today.

 Apparently Contador had to stop and get a new bike, so he has fallen even further back.

Chavanel has picked up the pace, and Roelandts can't match him.

18km remaining from 201km

Things are looking good for Chavanel, as the gap is nearly two minutes now.

Chavanel chugs along on the wet road, looking like he will take things today.

The first chase group, around Cancellara, looks to be talking amongst themselves and purposely holding their tempo down.

The Armstrong group is about to catch the Cancellara group.

Jens Voigt is riding like a madman to bring the Schleck brothers back up.

Too much for Voigt -- he has to fall back. Andy Schleck leads now, looking rather stunned.

15km remaining from 201km

Lars Boom is also in the Schleck group. The Cancellara group is apparently waiting for them.  They have about 50 seconds to make up.

The Schleck group is in the team cars now.  Well, not literally!

This stage win will give Chavanel the yellow jersey!

15km remaining from 201km

Only 15 km to go for Chavanel.  And the Schleck group has now caught the peloton.

It's the last climb now for Chavanel, and for the others, too, of course.

Chavanel wins the final mountain ranking.

He is zipping right along, as compared to the field, which is not.

Cancellara and Martin lead the field, with Armstrong right behind them.

10km remaining from 201km

Nearly three minutes now for Chavanel.

What an accomplishment for Chavanel, who crashed with a team car at Liege-Bastogne-Liege and fractured his skull.

Andy Schleck is at the end of the field and has to be careful to hang on and not be dropped.

5km remaining from 201km

Sunshine for Chavanel as he nears the finish.

The peloton is riding together as a group.  No one wants to take any more chances today.

Monfort is still between Chavanel and the field.

3km remaining from 201km

Over three minutes for Chavanel.

two km and 3:12 for Chavanel.

He is up out of the saddle, with his eye firmly on his goal.

Will we see a sprint from the field?  There will still be valuable points to be picked up.

The last km for Chavanel.

He zips his jersey and pepares to celebrate.  He clutches his charm and kisses it, happy as can be as he crosses the line.

What a day for Chavanel!  To come back from a fracatured skull to win a stage and take over the yellow jersey in the Tour de France.

 Cancellara goes to the race jury car for a word.

Cancellara is now back up at the head of things as the group near the finish.

There will be no sprint at the finish line.

Oops someone wanted to, and Cancellara shook his finger at them.

The peloton is spread across the road, and will cross the finish line that way.

Looks like a AG2R rider pulled forward at the last second to take second place.  And earned himself a fussing-at from Cancellara.

A number of big hugs for Chavanel from his teammates.

Also Eddy Merckx gives the young Frenchman a hug in congratulation.

“I don't know what to say to be honest, it's the happiest day of my career. I had a difficult start to the season,” Chavanel said.  “It was a hugely difficult stage, but I was able to do something - and obviously it's great.”

Chavanel has moved into the overall lead, with Cancellara second and Martln third.

There seems to be some talk of neutralising the stage.  Stay tuned, we will let you know what is happening!

Rides are stil now coming in, over 13 minutes down!  Petacchi is in this group.

That was it - and not at all what we expected.  Let's just hope that there were no more injuries today.  Thanks for joining us and be sure to read long again tomorrow.

Stage:

1 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step 4:40:48
2 Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:56
3 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Team Milram
4 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team Katusha
5 Christian Knees (Ger) Team Milram
6 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
7 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team
8 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram
9 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Française des Jeux
10 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team HTC - Columbia

 

GC

1 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step 10:02:25
2 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank 0:02:57
3 Tony Martin (Ger) Team HTC - Columbia 0:03:07
4 David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Transitions 0:03:17
5 Lance Armstrong (USA) Team Radioshack 0:03:19
6 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:03:20
7 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 0:03:24
8 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Transitions 0:03:25
9 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team Radioshack 0:03:25
10 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Professional Cycling Team

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