Tour de France: Van der Poel wins at Mûr-de-Bretagne

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) produced a remarkable onslaught on the double ascent of Mur-de-Bretagne to claim victory on stage 2 of the Tour de France and move into the yellow jersey.

The Dutchman came home six seconds ahead of defending champion Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), who outsprinted compatriot Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) and Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe) to second place.

Van der Poel’s decisive attack came with 800 metres remaining when he ripped clear of an elite front group with a devastating acceleration, but he had already laid out his intentions the first time up the climb, when he surged clear to sweep up the bonus seconds on offer at the summit.

After falling short on the opening stage, Van der Poel was eager to make amends here and the Tour debutant dedicated his yellow jersey to his late grandfather Raymond Pouliodor, who so marked the history of the race but who never wore the famous garment during his career.

“I have no words. Really I don’t know what to say,” Van der Poel said.

“I gambled a little bit and I played everything the first climb already because I knew I needed the bonus seconds if I wanted the jersey and it was also my last chance to get the yellow jersey. It’s incredible.”

Van der Poel’s first acceleration came at the foot of the first ascent up Mur-de-Bretagne with 17km to go. His lone effort there initially looked like folly. Nobody deigned to follow as he built up a lead of 13 seconds and that advantage gradually shrank as he approached the summit.

Although Van der Poel picked up the 8 bonus seconds on offer there – while Pogacar outsprinted Roglic, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Richard Carapaz (Ineos) for second – it appeared as though he had erred in showing his hand so early.

The normal rules, of course, don’t seem to apply to Van der Poel, who seemed just as fresh on the final ascent up the climb.

By then, Ineos has taken over at the head of the peloton, and they set a relentless pace on the approach to the finishing climb. Richie Porte led on the lower slopes, pegging back an acceleration from Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates), but the race ignited when Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) attacked with 1.2km to go. Van der Poel swiftly shut down that move and he also snuffed out an effort from Italian champion Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) before deciding to test the waters himself.

He ripped clear of the shrinking front group with 800 metres remaining, never to be caught again. Behind, the group fragmented in the closing metres, with Pogacar, Roglic and Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe) detaching themselves from the rest and contesting second place – and the time bonuses – 6 seconds down on Van der Poel.

Yellow jersey Julian Alaphilippe was unable to repeat his sparkling display of 24 hours earlier, coming home 5th at eight seconds at the head of a group of 20 or so riders. Geraint Thomas (Ineos), well placed throughout the run-in, was unable to follow the pace on that tumultuous final climb, and he conceded 23 seconds to Van der Poel, as did Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Premier Tech), while Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos) lost a further 3:48.

In the overall standings, Van der Poel carries the yellow jersey into stage 3 with a lead of 8 seconds on Alaphilippe. Pogacar lies third at 13 seconds, one second and one place ahead of his fellow Slovenian Roglic. The headlines belong to Van der Poel for now, but the overarching narrative of this race is developing just behind him.

How it unfolded

After the mass crashes that marred the opening stage, the peloton was populated by the walking wounded on Sunday, but that did little to diminish the intensity of the stage, which was animated by a six-strong group of early attackers.

Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo), Simon Clarke (Qhubeka-Nexthash) and Jonas Koch (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert), Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Jérémy Cabot (TotalEnergies) forged clear in the opening kilometres, and they would build a maximum lead of 4 minutes over the peloton before Deceuninck-QuickStep set about placing limits on their movement.

The king of the mountains Schelling and his closest rival Perez provided an entertaining duel on the day’s early climbs as they battled for possession of the polka dot jersey, though the contest would almost be rendered moot by Van der Poel’s double strike on Mur-de-Bretagne, which netted him the lead in the mountains classification to boot.

The break splintered when Theuns attacked on the category 4 ascent at Saint-Brieuc, where Jacky Durand won the prologue of the 1995 Tour. Theuns was joined over the other side by Cabot, and that duo held a lead of two minutes over the peloton as they entered the final 50km. They still had 1:25 in hand with 30km remaining, but that advantage quickly melted as the pace heated up in the peloton behind.

Theuns dropped Cabot on the climb of the Côte du Village de Mur-de-Bretagne with 19km to go, but he was swept up over the other side, as the peloton prepared itself for the bonus sprint on the Mur-de-Bretagne itself, where Van der Poel began his one-man show.

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix 4:18:30
2Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:06
3Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma
4Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe
5Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:08
6Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
7Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma
8Sergio Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education-Nippo
9Pierre Latour (Fra) TotalEnergies
10Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious
11Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-up Nation
12Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers
13Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team
14David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
15Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic
16Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
17Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
18Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious
19Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
20Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain Victorious
21Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Team BikeExchange
22Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
23Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
24Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis
25Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education-Nippo
26Sergio Henao Montoya (Col) Qhubeka-NextHash
27Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
28Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:23
29Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
30Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Movistar Team
31Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana-Premier Tech
32Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Education-Nippo
33Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
34Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
35Louis Meintjes (RSA) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
36Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
37Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain Victorious
38Quentin Pacher (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
39Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Team BikeExchange 0:00:28
40Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-up Nation 0:00:36
41Elie Gesbert (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:00:42
42Richie Porte (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers
43Franck Bonnamour (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM 0:00:49
44Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team DSM 0:00:51
45Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team DSM
46Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:59
47Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
48Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo
49Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo
50Jan Bakelants (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
51Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
52Ben O'Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën Team 0:01:06
53Stefan De Bod (RSA) Astana-Premier Tech 0:01:11
54Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:01:14
55Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Victorious 0:01:30
56Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:35
57Simon Yates (GBr) Team BikeExchange 0:01:44
58Julien Simon (Fra) TotalEnergies 0:01:45
59Pierre Rolland (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
60Neilson Powless (USA) EF Education-Nippo
61Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
62Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo
63Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates 0:02:10
64Simon Geschke (Ger) Cofidis 0:02:26
65Rafal Majka (Pol) UAE Team Emirates
66Fabien Doubey (Fra) TotalEnergies
67Anthony Turgis (Fra) TotalEnergies
68Dries Devenyns (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
69Victor de la Parte (Spa) TotalEnergies
70Michael Gogl (Aut) Qhubeka-NextHash
71Michael Valgren (Den) EF Education-Nippo
72Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates
73Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
74Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Cofidis 0:02:38
75Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
76Michael Matthews (Aus) Team BikeExchange 0:02:40
77Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Ineos Grenadiers 0:03:48
78Cristian Rodriguez Martin (Spa) TotalEnergies
79Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Movistar Team
80Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix
81Omar Fraile Matarranz (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
82Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
83Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Movistar Team
84Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Ineos Grenadiers
85Mark Donovan (GBr) Team DSM
86Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma
87Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep
88Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team BikeExchange
89Silvan Dillier (Swi) Alpecin-Fenix 0:03:51
90Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Ineos Grenadiers 0:04:03
91Robert Gesink (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 0:04:49
92Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Team DSM
93Connor Swift (GBr) Team Arkea-Samsic
94Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
95Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Lotto Soudal
96Dorian Godon (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
97Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Start-up Nation
98Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
99Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) TotalEnergies
100Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
101Bruno Armirail (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:05:23
102Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
103Magnus Cort (Den) EF Education-Nippo 0:05:58
104Hugo Houle (Can) Astana-Premier Tech
105Jonas Rickaert (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 0:06:18
106Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
107Cyril Barthe (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
108Cyril Gautier (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
109Maxime Chevalier (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
110Loïc Vliegen (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:06:56
111Brent Van Moer (Bel) Lotto Soudal
112Boy van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:07:03
113Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis 0:07:41
114Omer Goldstein (Isr) Israel Start-up Nation
115Simon Clarke (Aus) Qhubeka-NextHash
116Jonas Rutsch (Ger) EF Education-Nippo
117Michael Schär (Swi) AG2R Citroën Team
118Stefan Bissegger (Swi) EF Education-Nippo
119Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fra) Cofidis
120Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
121Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
122Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Qhubeka-NextHash
123Sean Bennett (USA) Qhubeka-NextHash
124Nils Eekhoff (Ned) Team DSM 0:09:06
125Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal
126Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team
127Jorge Arcas (Spa) Movistar Team
128Fred Wright (GBr) Bahrain Victorious
129Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
130Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
131Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
132Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
133Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
134Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates
135Nils Politt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:11:21
136Rick Zabel (Ger) Israel Start-up Nation
137Jelle Wallays (Bel) Cofidis
138Chris Froome (GBr) Israel Start-up Nation
139Carlos Barbero (Spa) Qhubeka-NextHash
140Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis
141Marco Haller (Aut) Bahrain Victorious
142Petr Vakoc (Cze) Alpecin-Fenix 0:11:44
143Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 0:11:51
144Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:12:30
145Ide Schelling (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:12:55