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As it happened: GC battle bursts into life as breakaway wins again at the Tour de France


Bonjour and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of stage 2 of the Tour de France!

We're into Marco Pantani territory today as the Tour de France honours the roads of the controversial Il Pirata, 26 years after he completed the elusive Giro-Tour double.

If you somehow missed what was a magical opening day at the Tour de France yesterday, catch up with our race report. We may not get a better winners picture in the next three weeks:

After a huge day 1, DSM-Firmenich PostNL will have the pleasure of donning two of the classification jerseys at the Tour (despite leading in three). Bardet in yellow, for the first time in his career, and neo pro Van Den Broek in the green points jersey.

Make sure to follow CN's Instagram to get an inside view of the race from our great team on the ground. Here's Mark Cavendish arriving back at the team bus after a hellish first stage.

It's team presentation and sign-on time in Cesenatico for the second stage, with temperatures still upwards of 30 degrees but not quite as bad as the scorcher there was had on stage 1.

Today could be the first time we see the 'big four' of Tadej Pogačar, Jonas Vingegaard, Remco Evenepoel and Primož Roglič battle it out on the explosive San Luca climb. Pogačar will no doubt want to test the legs of the trio who were all nursing injuries in the April to May period while he was dominating the Giro.

Visma-Lease a Bike primed and ready for stage 2 after a successful return to Tour de France-level racing for Vingegaard and Van Aert yesterday.

A look at the stage 2 profile. Not as hard as yesterday's 3600+ metres of elevation gain but there are steeper climbs and they crest closer to the finish in Bologna, giving the GC guys a better chance of making it should they drop their rivals.

Yesterday was a day to forget for Groupama-FDJ's leaders as both Lenny Martinez and David Gaudu lost just under half an hour to stage winner, Romain Bardet (DFP). Maybe today will be better. 

A behind the scenes look at Astana Qazaqstan's controlled but brutal day out making sure Mark Cavendish made it to the finish in time. In the end, they made it with 9'59" to spare. 

So far, there are no new abandons after Michele Gazzoli (AST) left the race half way through yesterday's stage when he had suffered enough with Cavendish and co. 

In our graphic above you can see who the jersey wearers are after the opening stage. Of course, Frank van den Broek (DFP) can't wear two and he would be very warm if he did! So, Maxim Van Gils (LTD) will wear white on behalf on the young Dutchman. 

The last three winners of the Giro dell'Emilia, the race that finishes at the top of the San Luca climb (1.9km at 10.6%), are all in this race. In the last five years, three of the wins were taken by Primož Roglič (RBH) with the others won by now teammate, Aleksandr Vlasov (RBH) as well as Enric Mas (MOV). 

A really lovely photo of two good friends and the stars of yesterday's stage and the new yellow and green jerseys, Romain Bardet and Frank van den Broek, both of DSM-Firmenich-PostNL.

Neutral start

Last year, Primož Roglič (RBH) out-smarted and out-sprinted Tadej Pogačar (UAD) to take victory on San Luca... Similar today? We shall have to see. The race does not finish at the top by the sanctuary but rather in Bologna. 

European champion, Christophe Laporte (TVL) is just back at the car changing his shoe as he's having an issue with his new Nimbl Ultimate shoe. 

Just 5km until the official start. 

Front puncture

199.2km to go

We have a long section of flat before we get to the climbs and maybe that is putting people off. 


The first break is caught and several new moves try to go. World champion, Mathieu van der Poel (ADC) is lurking towards the front as well but it is Quentin Pacher (GFC) who tries to get away at the front. 

A brief hiatus in the pack as the back of the peloton is extremely strung out as Jan Hirt (SOQ) is right at the back after his accident in the sign on involving a fan yesterday. Hopefully he will be feeling better soon. 

Polka dots attack

The break swells to about 15 riders and more try to join. 

Rear puncture

The break looks like it may have gone with plenty of the teams involved with some very strong riders in there including the U23 world champion, Axel Laurance (ADC). Brent Van Moer (LTD) is trying to bridge. 

Bike change


Bike change


Brent Van Moer (LTD) sat up to wait for Michael Matthews (JAY) but they have +55" to bridge. It'll be quite a substantial effort. 

Maxim Van Gils and Arnaud De Lie back at the car getting bidons, gels and some food for Lotto-DSTNY. 

Good to see that Jan Hirt (SOQ) is smiling again after breaking three teeth yesterday before the stage involving a fan. 

180km to go

Bram Welten (DFP), who was looking after Fabio Jakobsen (DFP) yesterday and finished in the Cavendish (AST) group yesterday is up in the break but isn't doing any work. Not a day for him really but he is giving it a go while his leader, Bardet (DFP), tries to stay safe in yellow behind. 


The race is currently battling with a head cross wind coming from the riders left side and it is blowing at about 25kph. That's about 15mph. 

DSM-Firmenich-PostNL have taken control of the peloton with Evenepoel (SOQ), Van der Poel (ADC), Hindley (RBH) and others coming back from natural breaks. 

Philippe Gilbert thinks that Matthews (JAY) spoke to Pogačar (UAD), his best friend, to see if UAE Team Emirates were going to go for the stage and got the reply of no so he attacked. Interesting theory from the former world champion. 

170km to go

Rear puncture

Block head wind now for the riders. 

The tempo is a relatively steady one but it isn't by any means slow as Matthews (JAY) and Van Moer (LTD) appear to have sat up as their gap is balooning. 

160km to go

The break is working very well together and are almost seven minutes clear now. 

Both Matthews (JAY) and Van Moer (LTD) have sat up and even stopped for a natural break as the peloton catches them. 

Rear puncture

Behind the massed ranks of DSM-Firmenich-PostNL is interesting as the first team lined up is Visma-Lease a Bike with Vingegaard, Van Aert and Jorgenson all safe in the wheels. After them is Pogačar's UAE Team Emirates and the  the multi-leader team of Ineos Grenadiers. 

150km to go

Some great crowds out here in Italy to see the yellow Grand Tour come through what is usually the grounds of the pink Grand Tour. The Giro d'Italia did race in this area this year and the wind was strong then too but no splits stuck and it ended in a sprint. 

It appears that the peloton are happy for the break to take the win again as the gap is just over eight minutes. This can, of course, all change but if they do let the break go it will still be lively in the peloton over the San Luca climb.

140km to go

Few more teams coming towards the front of the pack with Bahrain Victorious keeping their three leaders, Pello Bilbao, Jack Haig and Santiago Buitrago to the front. 

Not too far off the first climb of the day, the Côte de Monticino. The climb is 2km long and averages just over 7% in gradient. 

Abrahamsen (UXM) back at the car in his polka dot skinsuit, helmet, gloves, socks and even bike. He holds that jersey by just two points over Madouas (GFC). 

Something we're seeing this year in the Grand Tours is that the jersey wearers are in the full skinsuits that are block colour apart from the white jersey. Not sure I'd want the full white skinsuit with red polka dots but Jonas Abrahamsen (UXM) suits it...  

130km to go

Here is a replay of that scary moment involving a fan on the side of the road... 

We are on the first climb of the day! The Côte de Monticino, not much flat roads left to ride today. 

Just two and one point(s) available at the top of this and all but one of the climbs today. 

Kevin Vauquelin (ARK) having his radio fixed in the breakaway. 

Bram Welten (DFP) dropped from the break. 

KoM (Côte de Monticino)

Visma-Lease a Bike, UAE Team Emirates and Ineos Grenadiers are challenging DSM-Firmenich-PostNL on this narrow but beautiful first ascent of the day. 

Red Bull-Bora-Hansgrohe join UAE Team Emirates, Ineos Grenadiers, Visma-Lease a Bike and DSM-Firmenich-PostNL as Astana Qazaqstan are all at the back with Mark Cavendish. 

Now Soudal-QuickStep come to the front too and the 'Big Four' have their teams up at the front. Meanwhile, at the back, Cavendish (AST) and co make it over the first climb. 

The upping in pace has seen a minute and a half sliced off the break's advantage already. Maybe it will be a GC day after all? 

Dropped by the peloton

Cavendish (AST) and Jakobsen (DFP) have got back into the peloton as Ineos join the big four teams on the front of the bunch. 

Bike change

110km to go


KoM (Côte de Gallisterna)

Now it is just over 15km to the intermediate sprint in Dozza. The peloton now start the climb at just over six minutes behind. 

Politt (UAD) gets back into the pack after his mechanical. Benoot (TVL) was just ahead of him. 


100km to go

Through Imola the race goes. The famous race track used as one of the Formula One circuits in Italy alongside Monza. This track was, of course, the place where Ayrton Senna lost his life in a tragic crash. 

Visma-Lease a Bike lead the peloton and now is is largely flat or downhill. Meanwhile, About 50" down on the peloton is Mark Cavendish (AST), Dylan Groenewegen (JAY) and others with Fabio Jakobsen (DFP) behind them.

Cavendish (AST) and Groenewegen (JAY) get back into the peloton as they leave the Imola circuit. 

EF Education-EasyPost and Bahrain Victorious join the other teams on the front of the peloton now as the gap continues to close. 

Intermediate Sprint

Abrahamsen (UXM) now leads the points standings as well as polka dots. 

The peloton battle for the minor points in the sprint with Demare (ARK), Coquard (COF) and Girmay (IWA) getting the points. 


Intermediate sprint (Dozza)

80km to go

20km to the next climb of the day and then we shall be really into the business end of the stage with four climbs coming one after the other. 

UAE Team Emirates now lead the peloton with the massed ranks of Ineos Grenadiers and Soudal-QuickStep immediately behind them as Van Aert (TVL) and Jorgenson (TVL) have taken turns at the doctor's car. 

Fabio Jakobsen (DFP) has made it back into the peloton. 

The gap to the break has stretched right back out again to just under eight minutes. This will likely drop again when they get to the next climbs, but, this is giving the break the opportunity to get the stage win. 

70km to go

Soudal-QuickStep, Visma-Lease a Bike and Ineos Grenadiers currently battling for the front but the gap is now at 9'11" up to the breakaway. Very interesting situation that is leaning towards the break at the moment. 

The next climb, the Côte de Botteghino di Zocca, is just around 4km away. It is 1.9km at 6.3%. 

60km to go

KoM (Côte de Botteghino di Zocca)

On the climb in the peloton and Cavendish (AST) goes out of the back with Jakobsen (DFP) again. 

Jakobsen (DFP) now dropped by the Cavendish (AST) group and he appears to be suffering with cramp. This has been such a tough season for him so far. 

You see the likes of Jakobsen (DFP) and Cavendish (AST) out of the back and yet the likes of Ackermann (IPT) and Bennett (DAT) are right up towards the front. 

With Cavendish (AST) he has three teammates as well as Fernando Gaviria (MOV) and Dan McLay (ARK) there as well. 

50km to go

Welten and Eekhoff have dropped back to support their DSM-Firmenich-PostNL sprint, Jakobsen. 

KoM (Côte de Montecalvo)


Victor Campenaerts (LTD) now hits the front with Maxim Van Gils (LTD) in his wheel. Girmay (IWA) is being distanced now as Frank van den Broek (DFP) is at the back of the peloton. 

Remco Evenepoel (SOQ) moves onto Van Gils' (LTD) wheel with Landa and Van Wilder up there supporting him. 


40km to go

Campenaerts (LTD) is still propped on the front with Evenepoel (SOQ) now locked on his wheel as he may be looking to make his first attack of the big four favourites. 

The breakaway cross the finish line for the first time of three. We are in Bologna and the race is heading to the brutal slopes of San Luca! Here we go. 

Decathlon-AG2R come to the front alongside Lotto-DSTNY, Visma-Lease a Bike and Ineos Grenadiers. The pace is absolutely rapid in the peloton. 

The San Luca climb is 1.9km long but averages at 10.6% gradients with a max kick of around 20%. 

Primož Roglič (RBH) is a little boxed in at the moment as Visma-Lease a Bike and Ineos Grenadiers have control in the peloton with Campenaerts (LTD) is still trying to do his job. 

Onto San Luca they go for the first of two times and Jegat (TEN) immediately attacks the break. 



Now the peloton come onto the San Luca led by Visma-Lease a Bike for Jonas Vingegaard who could be looking to show that he is here to be in the fight for yellow. 

Amazingly , Jonas Abrahamsen (UXM) is not too far away from the leaders as they head close to the top. 

Abrahamsen (UXM) is back in the front group with just 200m to the top. 

KoM (San Luca)

Vingegaard (TVL), Evenepoel (SOQ) and Pogačar (UAD) all right at the front. Whereas, Roglič (RBH) is a few wheels back. 

Tadej Pogačar (UAD) terrifies the life out of some of the peloton as he accelerates to take a bidon. 

Jorgenson (TVL) now takes up the pacing as Bardet (DFP) is starting to slowly drop down the peloton. 

Wout Van Aert (TVL) has just lost contact with the peloton after leading the peloton onto the climb. 


Meanwhile, at the front, the majority of the break has come back together and Nelson Oliveira (MOV) tries an attack on the descent. 

DSM-Firmenich-PostNL and Israel-Premier Tech lead the peloton at the moment. 

Attack in break

Oliveira (MOV) is joined by Vauquelin (ARK) and Abrahamsen (UXM) as the chase scrambles behind. 

20km to go

French champion, Paul Lapeira (DAT) leads alongside Lidl-Trek and Visma-Lease a Bike as he looks to keep Felix Gall (DAT) safe. 

Attack in peloton

Onto the San Luca for the final time and the leaders have 36" on the chasers then 4'01" back to the Healy (EFE) group and 4'20" to the peloton. 


Is it going to be two in a row for France at this year's race? 

Lidl-Trek and Visma-Lease a Bike lead onto the San Luca climb with a lot more pace this time. 


Jorgenson (TVL comes up to pace but now Yates (UAD) comes to the front for Pogačar (UAD). 

KoM (San Luca)

Yates (UAD) still leading the way. Red Bull-Bora-Hansgrohe have riders there but I can't see Primož Roglič just yet. 

Primož Roglič (RBH) has been distanced in a split. Poor positioning has led to a split. 


Vingegaard (TVL) does work with Pogačar (UAD) with Evenepoel (SOQ), Roglič (RBH) and the rest nowhere near them. 

10km to go

I am very surprised that at least Evenepoel (SOQ) wasn't able to follow. There's a big group of maybe 15 riders in the GC group behind the two superstars. Pogačar (UAD) and Vingegaard (TVL) have 40" on the chase and Pogačar is set to take yellow at this rate. 

5km to go

3km to go for Kevin Vauquelin (ARK). He has 46" on the chasing group. 

Behind Vauquelin (ARK), in the chase group, his teammate Cristian Rodriguez celebrates. 

2km to go for the Frenchman. Meanwhile, Pogačar (UAD) and Vingegaard (TVL) have about 40" on the chasers... However, Remco Evenepoel (SOQ) is said to be in between the gap.

Flamme Rouge

Kevin Vauquelin (ARK) wins stage two of the Tour de France 2024! Two days in a row for France. Arkea-B&B Hotels first ever win in the Tour. A magical moment for France's next big name. 

A late attack will see Jonas Abrahamsen (UXM) take a very well deserved second place. Third is Pacher or Rodriguez in a photo in the sprint. 

Evenepoel (SOQ) and Carapaz (EFE) are about to join Pogačar (UAD) and Vingegaard (TVL) in the final kilometre. Goodness me! 

Richard Carapaz (EFE) wins the sprint in that group of GC favourites and the Olympic champion is potentially the new yellow jersey! That was bonkers. 

Evenepoel (SOQ) dragged himself and Carapaz (EFE) back to Pogačar (UAD), Vinegegaard (TVL) and Jegat (TEN) from the break. The Frenchman launched with Carapaz over the top with the big three GC guys sitting up over the line. Interesting. 

It looked close for Bardet (DFP) holding onto yellow. However, thanks to count back, Tadej Pogačar (UAD) goes into yellow anyway. 

Stage two top 10

GC after stage two

The jerseys after today:

Mark Cavendish (AST) and Fabio Jakobsen (DFP) have made it across the finish line 25 minutes after Vauquelin (ARK) did. The time cut was just over 39 minutes. Easily in the time cut.

It was fantastic to see Jonas Vingegaard (TVL) being able to follow Tadej Pogačar (UAD) but also, Remco Evenepoel (SOQ) and Richard Carapaz (EFE) getting back to these two could be brilliant for the race. 

Kevin Vauquelin (ARK) after the stage: “It was really hard for me but I’m really happy. I had a perfect day out in the breakaway. I have to thank Cristian for his role in the way he helped me get through to win the stage. He put me in the perfect position and I knew I was going to be able to attack,”

With two tough stages opening this year's race, tomorrow should be a lot more relaxed with the first opportunity for the sprinters coming as they race to Turin before the monstrous Galibier stage coming a day later. 

Jonas Vingegaard was much better than he expected during today's stage. Read what he had to say here.

Remco Evenepoel seemed to indicate the Tour de France yellow jersey is a bit of a hot potato at the moment - suggesting Pogačar didn't really want it. But that could change tomorrow, and the Belgian could try to convert his white jersey to the maillot jaune.

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