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Tour de France 2021: Stage 2 preview

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Stage 2 profile 2021 Tour de France

Stage 2 profile (Image credit: ASO)
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Stage 2 map 2021 Tour de France

Stage 2 map (Image credit: ASO)

Stage 2: Perros-Guirec – Mûr-de-Bretagne Guerlédan

Date: June 27, 2021 

Distance: 183.5km 

Stage timing: 13:10 - 17:30 CEST

Stage type: Hilly

Stage 2 preview video

To an extent, stage 2 is a rehashing of the opening day of the Tour, with six lower-category climbs on the menu and another testing uphill finish that will suit the puncheurs, and perhaps even result in the same winner as 24 hours earlier.

This one starts in a gentler manner, at least as far as the terrain is concerned, as the road follows the beautiful Pink Granite Coast of northern Brittany. Of course, being right on the edge of the Atlantic could make for a very challenging start indeed. What’s more, the route remains within sniffing distance of the coast until beyond the stage’s halfway point, so if the conditions are difficult there’s going to be little escape from them until the riders reach Saint-Brieuc, with two-thirds of the stage complete.

This is where the climbing becomes more challenging, the route bumping its way southwards to Mûr-de-Bretagne Guerlédan, where the fourth categorised climb of the day leads directly onto a finishing circuit that begins with the third-category ascent through the finish line. The route continues northwards for a couple of kilometres, then loops back to the south to return to arrive at the final ascent once again, the climb running for two kilometres at 6.9 per cent.

This is the Tour’s fourth finish on this ascent in a decade, and the previous three were all won by strong climbers, Cadel Evans outsprinting Alberto Contador in 2011, Alexis Vuillermoz’s spring-heeled attack surprising everyone in 2015, and Dan Martin accelerating clear in 2018. On that latter occasion, the race also featured two ascents of the final climb and race boss Christian Prudhomme came away disappointed that no one attempted a long attack on the first passage. Will someone throw caution to the wind and upstage the puncheurs?

Audrey Cordon Ragot's view

The race starts on the coast at Perros-Guirec then travels toward the centre of Bretagne for the finish at the Mûr-de-Bretagne Guerledan, which is where I live, and so this is really a home stage. If look back through the history of the Tour de France, this stage has been bad for some leaders, with Romain Bardet puncturing here, and some other leaders losing time. 

The final lap with the Mur de Bretagne is held on narrow and technical roads, and it’s a fast arrival to the bottom of the climb, which is a wall, so the riders will need to have good legs. We  have seen in the past that there are good French riders who can sprint well up a climb like that, so why not again, someone like Julian Alaphilippe, Tadej Pogačar or Primož Roglič. 

It’s not as hard as the Mur de Huy, for example, and the road is bigger, so your position in the bunch is less important, but it's still a really hard, steep climb up the Mûr-de-Bretagne.

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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).

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