Jan Bakelants (RadioShack Leopard) won stage 2 of Tour de France from Bastia to Ajaccio, holding off the sprinters in a gripping finale.
Marcel Kittel (Argos Shimano) was unable to retain his yellow jersey with Bakelants' one-second advantage enough to seal the maillot jaune.
Bakelants broke clear in the final few kilometres of a pulsating stage with Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team), Gorka Izagirre (Euskaltel Euskadi), Manuele Mori (Lampre-Merida), Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) and Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM).
With the peloton breathing down their necks, Bakelants took off with a kilometre to go, and managed to hang on ahead of Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step).
"I could see in the final that it’s going to happen and I knew I would probably also take this yellow jersey. Maybe it will be the first and the last time in my career, but today I wear it. I saw in the last 500 meters that I still had a gap and I told myself, ‘Come on, hold this. It’s going to be the nicest day of your life!’ And then I did it,” he said.
This wasn't just a stage marked by Bakelants' late bid for glory. It had much more to it than that, with the Corsican countryside serving up a intricate and at times enthralling stage.
There was, of course, the customary break, shepherded clear by Lars Boom (Belkin) once again. The Dutchman was joined by David Veilleux (Europcar), Blel Kadri (AG2R) and Ruben Perez (Euskaltel), with the foursome collaborating as the race travelled south.
On the first climb of the day of the Col de Bellagranajo, the gap had levelled off at two minutes. Boom secured the KOM points come the summit, outsmarting his breakaway companions with a well timed sprint.
But in similar fashion to stage 1, the peloton was in no mood to take any chances and had reduced the gap to 30 seconds on its prey.
It was too soon for the predator to catch its prey, and by the time of the second climb, the Col de la Serra the gap had grown out to 1:15.
Realising that the gap was almost up, only Kadri decided to press on. His advantage held at just 30 seconds, but a mechanical problem caused his lead shrink to less than 10 seconds on the slopes of Col de Vizzavona, as FDJ, perhaps with Marc Madiot's anger at yesterday's mishap with the Orica bus, still ringing in their ears, leading the bunch.
Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma - Quick Step) and race leader Marcel Kittel (Argos Shimano) were among those dropped, with the stage 1 winner quickly losing three minutes. Three minutes soon became five, and five quickly ran out to 10.
Just to emphasise the sprinters' limited chances of success, Pierre Rolland threw down a probing attack in search of his first mountain points. The Europcar leader quickly dispatched with Kadri by the summit, and moved into the lead of the King of the Mountains competition with Kardi tied in second.
Rolland's aggressive move prompted Sky into action with last year's all conquering cadre setting a furious pace on the descent. BMC allied with the British team, indicating their trust in Philippe Gilbert for the finish, with Rolland dragged back with around 45 kilometres to go.
Cannondale, who has been present in the pace setting duties before the climbs, rose once more, Peter Sagan clearly determined to make up for stage 1.
With the final climb of the Côte du Salario looming the nerves in the peloton began to fray. Sky, Lampre, Garmin, BMC and Canndonale all vied for position at the head of the field. The climb itself was no more than a kilometre long, but its steep pitches were enough to change the dynamic of the finale.
It was Juan Antonio Flecha and Cyril Gautier who attacked on the first slopes of the climb as behind them the GC contenders saved their powder. Richie Porte set pace for Sky with Cadel Evans (BMC) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) all in close quarters.
Then Froome attacked. It was perhaps no more than a test, but the move itself was impressive enough. Evans led the chase and when Flecha was caught, only Gautier remained at the head of the race once Sky’s leader was reeled in.
Cannondale were able to neutralise Gautier's attack, but it paved the way for Bakelants, Fuglsang, Izagirre, Mori, Chavanel and Flecha to move clear.
All of France sighed with relief for it was Chavanel's 34th birthday and surely the experienced Frenchman could finish off the job. Inside three kilometres, it still looked likely, the Omega rider hunched over the drops as he dragged his companions to their fate.
However, Bakelants had not read the script. Instead, with the peloton within touching distance, it was the RadioShack rider and not Chavanel who seized the opportunity and has he dove through the final bends and pushed for the line the peloton could only watch as the Belgian picked up the biggest win of his career.
“Coming in the last 10km we were quite a big group and I cannot win in a sprint. I had to gamble and go. When we were six in the finale I knew if everybody gave 100 percent that it was possible to go to the finish. It felt so easy in the break and every time I went to the front, I felt like I rode faster than the other guys. I don’t know, maybe I was just stronger than the others. In the end I was thinking, ‘Come on! Are we going to ride and be the first six riders or are we just going to wait for the bunch to come back and see another win of Sagan?’"
"I kept the gap and in the radio they were shouting for me to go. I was pushing my 11 and it didn’t look good but I went fast. I just kept pushing the pedals. And when I looked back and saw I had it, I said, ‘I’m going to win! I’m going to win a stage in the Tour de France!’ I’ve had to wait five years but what a victory. It’s hard to believe but it’s the second day of the Tour so now our nerves are settled. It’s incredible.”
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack Leopard||3:43:11|
|2||Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale||0:00:01|
|3||Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team||Row 2 - Cell 2|
|4||Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida||Row 3 - Cell 2|
|5||Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling||Row 4 - Cell 2|
|6||Julien Simon (Fra) Sojasun||Row 5 - Cell 2|
|7||Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team||Row 6 - Cell 2|
|8||Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge||Row 7 - Cell 2|
|9||Daniele Bennati (Ita) Team Saxo-Tinkoff||Row 8 - Cell 2|
|10||Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team||Row 9 - Cell 2|
|11||Elia Favilli (Ita) Lampre-Merida||Row 10 - Cell 2|
|12||Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team Europcar||Row 11 - Cell 2|
|13||David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Sharp||Row 12 - Cell 2|
|14||Bram Tankink (Ned) Belkin Procycling Team||Row 13 - Cell 2|
|15||Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 14 - Cell 2|
|16||Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEdge||Row 15 - Cell 2|
|17||Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel Euskadi||Row 16 - Cell 2|
|18||Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team||Row 17 - Cell 2|
|19||Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ.fr||Row 18 - Cell 2|
|20||Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Team Katusha||Row 19 - Cell 2|
|21||Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack Leopard||Row 20 - Cell 2|
|22||Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team||Row 21 - Cell 2|
|23||Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team||Row 22 - Cell 2|
|24||Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Belisol||Row 23 - Cell 2|
|25||Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar||Row 24 - Cell 2|
|26||Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 25 - Cell 2|
|27||Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team||Row 26 - Cell 2|
|28||Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol||Row 27 - Cell 2|
|29||Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp||Row 28 - Cell 2|
|30||Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits||Row 29 - Cell 2|
|31||Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team||Row 30 - Cell 2|
|32||Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel Euskadi||Row 31 - Cell 2|
|33||Davide Malacarne (Ita) Team Europcar||Row 32 - Cell 2|
|34||Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team||Row 33 - Cell 2|
|35||Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling||Row 34 - Cell 2|
|36||Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff||Row 35 - Cell 2|
|37||Andrey Amador Bikkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team||Row 36 - Cell 2|
|38||Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff||Row 37 - Cell 2|
|39||Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha||Row 38 - Cell 2|
|40||Jean Marc Marino (Fra) Sojasun||Row 39 - Cell 2|
|41||Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits||Row 40 - Cell 2|
|42||Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team||Row 41 - Cell 2|
|43||Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida||Row 42 - Cell 2|
|44||Brice Feillu (Fra) Sojasun||Row 43 - Cell 2|
|45||Jean Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 44 - Cell 2|
|46||Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel Euskadi||Row 45 - Cell 2|
|47||Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team||Row 46 - Cell 2|
|48||Rui Alberto Costa (Por) Movistar Team||Row 47 - Cell 2|
|49||Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team||Row 48 - Cell 2|
|50||Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Procycling Team||Row 49 - Cell 2|
|51||Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff||Row 50 - Cell 2|
|52||Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ.fr||Row 51 - Cell 2|
|53||Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack Leopard||Row 52 - Cell 2|
|54||Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling||Row 53 - Cell 2|
|55||Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel Euskadi||Row 54 - Cell 2|
|56||Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 55 - Cell 2|
|57||Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel Euskadi||Row 56 - Cell 2|
|58||Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha||Row 57 - Cell 2|
|59||Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Astana Pro Team||Row 58 - Cell 2|
|60||Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida||Row 59 - Cell 2|
|61||Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team||Row 60 - Cell 2|
|62||Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr||Row 61 - Cell 2|
|63||Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Sojasun||Row 62 - Cell 2|
|64||Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro Team||Row 63 - Cell 2|
|65||Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale||Row 64 - Cell 2|
|66||Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Saxo-Tinkoff||Row 65 - Cell 2|
|67||Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) Sojasun||Row 66 - Cell 2|
|68||Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida||Row 67 - Cell 2|
|69||Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp||Row 68 - Cell 2|
|70||Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Belkin Procycling Team||Row 69 - Cell 2|
|71||Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack Leopard||Row 70 - Cell 2|
|72||Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack Leopard||Row 71 - Cell 2|
|73||Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Team Katusha||Row 72 - Cell 2|
|74||Andy Schleck (Lux) RadioShack Leopard||Row 73 - Cell 2|
|75||Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits||Row 74 - Cell 2|
|76||Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar||Row 75 - Cell 2|
|77||Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin-Sharp||Row 76 - Cell 2|
|78||Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team||Row 77 - Cell 2|
|79||Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Team Saxo-Tinkoff||Row 78 - Cell 2|
|80||Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica GreenEdge||Row 79 - Cell 2|
|81||Yury Trofimov (Rus) Team Katusha||Row 80 - Cell 2|
|82||Maxime Mederel (Fra) Sojasun||Row 81 - Cell 2|
|83||Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Sky Procycling||Row 82 - Cell 2|
|84||Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar||Row 83 - Cell 2|
|85||John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 84 - Cell 2|
|86||Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Lampre-Merida||Row 85 - Cell 2|
|87||Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp||Row 86 - Cell 2|
|88||Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Procycling Team||Row 87 - Cell 2|
|89||Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin Procycling Team||Row 88 - Cell 2|
|90||Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana Pro Team||Row 89 - Cell 2|
|91||Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Sojasun||Row 90 - Cell 2|
|92||Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp||Row 91 - Cell 2|
|93||Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ.fr||Row 92 - Cell 2|
|94||Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Cannondale||0:01:24|
|95||Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) RadioShack Leopard||0:04:07|
|96||Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team||Row 95 - Cell 2|
|97||Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) FDJ.fr||Row 96 - Cell 2|
|98||Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Movistar Team||Row 97 - Cell 2|
|99||Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Movistar Team||Row 98 - Cell 2|
|100||Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team||Row 99 - Cell 2|
|101||Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack Leopard||0:05:39|
|102||Laurent Didier (Lux) RadioShack Leopard||Row 101 - Cell 2|
|103||Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Team Katusha||Row 102 - Cell 2|
|104||Julien El Fares (Fra) Sojasun||Row 103 - Cell 2|
|105||Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre-Merida||Row 104 - Cell 2|
|106||Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Sojasun||Row 105 - Cell 2|
|107||Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team||Row 106 - Cell 2|
|108||Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team||Row 107 - Cell 2|
|109||Pavel Brutt (Rus) Team Katusha||Row 108 - Cell 2|
|110||Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky Procycling||Row 109 - Cell 2|
|111||Jesus Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff||Row 110 - Cell 2|
|112||Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Solutions Credits||Row 111 - Cell 2|
|113||Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Team Saxo-Tinkoff||Row 112 - Cell 2|
|114||Kristjan Koren (Slo) Cannondale||Row 113 - Cell 2|
|115||Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:08:35|
|116||David Veilleux (Can) Team Europcar||0:09:06|
|117||Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin-Sharp||Row 116 - Cell 2|
|118||Maciek Bodnar (Pol) Cannondale||Row 117 - Cell 2|
|119||Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin Procycling Team||0:12:44|
|120||Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team||Row 119 - Cell 2|
|121||Egoitz Garcia Etxegibel (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits||Row 120 - Cell 2|
|122||Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team||Row 121 - Cell 2|
|123||Alan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale||Row 122 - Cell 2|
|124||Brian Vandborg (Den) Cannondale||Row 123 - Cell 2|
|125||José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Movistar Team||Row 124 - Cell 2|
|126||Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits||Row 125 - Cell 2|
|127||Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits||Row 126 - Cell 2|
|128||Maarten Wynants (Bel) Belkin Procycling Team||Row 127 - Cell 2|
|129||Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol||Row 128 - Cell 2|
|130||Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol||Row 129 - Cell 2|
|131||Jerome Coppel (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits||Row 130 - Cell 2|
|132||André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol||Row 131 - Cell 2|
|133||Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team||Row 132 - Cell 2|
|134||John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano||Row 133 - Cell 2|
|135||Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano||Row 134 - Cell 2|
|136||Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team||Row 135 - Cell 2|
|137||Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 136 - Cell 2|
|138||Yohan Bagot (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits||Row 137 - Cell 2|
|139||Juan Jose Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel Euskadi||Row 138 - Cell 2|
|140||Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano||0:17:35|
|141||Tom Veelers (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano||Row 140 - Cell 2|
|142||Albert Timmer (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano||Row 141 - Cell 2|
|143||Johannes Frohlinger (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano||Row 142 - Cell 2|
|144||Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano||Row 143 - Cell 2|
|145||Stuart O'grady (Aus) Orica GreenEdge||Row 144 - Cell 2|
|146||Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge||Row 145 - Cell 2|
|147||Lieuwe Westra (Ned Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team||Row 146 - Cell 2|
|148||Aleksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Team Katusha||Row 147 - Cell 2|
|149||Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol||Row 148 - Cell 2|
|150||Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Sky Procycling||Row 149 - Cell 2|
|151||Gregory Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol||Row 150 - Cell 2|