Good morning and welcome to live coverage of the Tour de l'Ain stage 2.
If you didn't see yesterday's stage, then you can catch up with what happened in our race report above. Andrea Bagioli (Deceuninck-QuickStep) took the victory in a thrilling finale that saw Tom Dumoulin lead out Primoz Roglic.
Présentation en cours ☀️#TOURDELAIN #TDA pic.twitter.com/JDM8AFZFT2August 8, 2020
The race start is less than 30 minutes away. After yesterday's undulating offering, today is a much more mountainous affair with five classified climbs across 140km of racing.
Before we go any further, let's take a look at how the general classification stands.
1 Andrea Bagioli (Ita) Deceuninck-Quickstep 3:16:50
2 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:04
3 Stefan Bissegger (Swi) Switzerland 0:00:06
4 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:10
5 Erik Fetter (Hun) Kometa Xstra
6 Giacomo Garavaglia (Ita) Kometa Xstra
7 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis
8 João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep
9 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
10 Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
Don't forget, it is also Milan-San Remo today. Follow all the action live with Patrick Fletcher here.
There's definitely time to follow both. With such a short stage here at the Tour de l'Ain, we're likely to see some fast and furious action from the off. Today's stage will finish well before the finale in San Remo.
The Tour de Pologne is also going on this weekend. Dylan Groenwegen was disqualified from the race after causing a crash at the end of stage 1, which resulted in some traumatic injuries for Fabio Jakobsen. Groenewegen has now been suspended by his team and is under investigation by the UCI. Read the full story here.
The riders have set off for the neutralised start and we should have racing proper in just over five miniutes. This is your five-minute warning!
Deceuninck-QuickStep DS Rik van Slycke seems pretty relaxed going into today's stage. His team may have the leader's jersey but there is not much pressure on the team with some much bigger names elsewhere in the peloton. This is what he had to say before the start.
"It will be a very hard day with lots of climbing on narrow roads. There is a huge peloton with some big names so we will see what we can do today with the youngsters. They surprised us already by taking the victory so we are riding in the yellow leader’s jersey. Of course, we’re going to try to defend and see how far they can go among the big stars of the Tour de France. We are very excited to see what will happen today."
In a bit of mean spiritedness from the organisers, there is a small unclassified climb right after the official start. The first proper climb of the day comes approximately 18km into the day.
The toughest climb of the day will be the final one. The Côte de Menthières is 9.1km at an average of 6.3%. Strictly speaking, it's not the last ascent of the day as once the riders have descended the mountain there is a long unclassified climb up to the finish line, which could do some damage.
🇫🇷 #TourdelAinThe race just started in Lagnieu. It’s going to be a hot and exciting day ☀️🏔 pic.twitter.com/iWvbYSZzTdAugust 8, 2020
I mentioned the incident at the finish of stage 1 of the Tour de Pologne, where Fabio Jakobsen crashed really hard. It was awful to see but, thankfully, Deceuninck-QuickStep issued some reassuring news on his condition yesterday. You can find a full update on Jakobsen's condition here.
124km to go
A five-man escape group has gone up the road. I will bring you names as soon as I've fot them.
The riders are already onto the first of the five classified climbs. It is the Col de Montgriffon and it is 12.5km at an average of 4.1%.
The five team repesented in the breakaway are Groupama-FDJ, Trek-Segafredo, CCC Team, Israel Start-Up Nation and AG2R La Mondiale. Who the riders are, well that's still a mystery at the moment.
There is little respite for the riders in the first half of the stage. The descents off the climbs are minimal and the climbs are packed tightly together. It won't be long before we see a thinning out of the peloton.
At last, as Etta James once sang, we have the names of the riders in the breakaway. They are: Jaakko Hanninen (AG2R-La Mondiale), Simon Guglielmi (Groupama-FDJ), Nils Politt (Israel Start-Up Nation), Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo) and Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team).
The breakaway has about two minutes over the peloton, which is not keen to let these five riders have too much of a gap.
Les coureurs sont dans le 1er GPM de la journée. 📍Col de Montgriffon - 12,5km à 4,1%#TOURDELAIN #TDA pic.twitter.com/084IjWuyZRAugust 8, 2020
Deceuninck-QuickStep is leading the peloton at the moment, as they look to protect the leader's jersey. It will be a tough prospect for them on this terrain but they already upset the favourites yesterday, so I wouldn't dismiss their chances today.
We're onto climb number two for today. It is the Col des Pézières and it is 3.9km long with an average gradient of 6.9%.
It seems to be extremely odd saying this in August, when we would normally be getting Tour de France withdrawl and building up to the Vuelta a Espana, but Procycling's Tour de France preview is on sale now. The cover is amazing and the content inside is just as good. Check out how to subscribe and get yourself a copy.
It is a pretty warm day out there in the Ain region of France. It was 29C at the start in Lagnieu and it's warming up as we approach midday. We can expect the temperatures to rise up to about 35C.
Julien Bernard took the points at the top of the first climb of the day and Simon Guglielmi took them on the second. There were some climbs yesterday and Ivan Centrone is currently the classification leader. He is not in the breakaway today so the jersey is up for grabs within this breakaway.
1 Ivan Centrone (Lux) Natura4ever-Roubaix-Lille Metropole 20
2 Martin Salmon (Ger) Team Sunweb 7
3 Michal Paluta (Pol) CCC Team 4
4 Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep 3
5 Joseph Rosskopf (USA) CCC Team 1
6 Alexys Brunel (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 1
The gap to the breakaway currently stands at 3:10.
Thanks to its position ahead of the Tour de France this year, due to the coronavirus disruption, the Tour de l'Ain has some big GC hitters in the peloton. Ineos and Jumbo Visma each have a formidable line-up with several Grand Tour winners in the pack. Today's finale is likely to see these two teams go head to head.
It will be interesting to see how Ineos play it as their three Tour de France champions, Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal, try to stamp their authority on proceedings ahead of the Grand Boucle. Froome, in particular, will have a bit to prove today after losing almost two minutes due to a mechanical issue.
85km to go
As the riders complete the third climb of the day, the gap has grown out a little bit more to 3:55. It's a cautious gap, given the short nature of the stage.
Trek-Segafredo has Bernard in the breakaway but they also have Richie Porte in the pack. Porte looked good recently at the Mont Ventoux Denivele Challenge. He didn't quite have enought to overhaul Vlasov for the win but it was a confidence-building showing for the Australian and he should be well in the mix today. He has Bauke Mollema for support, or as a second option for the team.
Fabio Aru was also at the Mont Ventoux challenge and he is here at the Tour de l'Ain. He finished fifth on Mont Ventoux and quietly completed yesterday's stage in the pack. The UAE team also has Joe Dombrowski for support and a wildcard option.
Nairo Quintana is here for the Arkea Samsic team. He's still on the recovery trail after he was hit by a car during training before the resumtion of the season. He put in a solid performance on the Mont Ventoux earlier in the week but didn't seem quite back to his best. Today's stage will be another good test of his recovery.
#TheWolfpack are setting a steady pace at the #TourdelAin, where only two classified climbs remain, incidentally, the hardest of today's stage.#WayToRidePhoto: @GettySport pic.twitter.com/gbSHghNRUNAugust 8, 2020
There are two former champions in the peloton today in Sam Oomen and Rein Taaremae. Of the two, I think Oomen has the better chance of making to the top step of the podium, or at least onto the podium, come tomorrow.
Last year's champion Thibaut Pinot is not here this year. He's next due to race at the Criterium du Dauphine, which begins next week.
The gap between the leaders and the peloton is still hovering around to four-minute mark.
There is still about 200km to go in Milan-San Remo today. The 2018 winner Vincenzo Nibali is safe in the pack. This year's parcours is arguably better suited to him than the one he took victory on. Read his thoughts ahead of the first Monument of the season.
65km to go
On a small downhill section for the leaders, who now have 4:23 on the pack behind.
I'd like to briefly go back to the contenders for the day. I've listed most of them but there are still a few people to watch out for in the finale. Dan Martin is in the peloton for Israel Start-Up Nation, Cofidis has Guillaume Martin and Jesus Herrada and CCC Team has Jan Hirt. Dan Martin probably has the best chance from these five to get up into that gront group but you can't count any of them out.
The riders are onto the penultimate classified climb of the day, the Còte de Giron. It is 7.6km and has an average gradient of 6.2%.
50km to go
Rosskopf has briefly moved back from the breakaway to the team car to pick up a bottle. The first is to go over his head to cool him down and the second is for drinking. It is warm out there, though there is some protection from the sun by the trees lining the road.
The peloton has begun chipping away at the gap to the leaders on this penultimate climb. Having gone up over the four-minute mark, the gap is now 3:21.
Some riders are unhappy with the pace of the peloton have they've attacked from the bunch. They're not getting very far just yet with Jumbo-Visma pacing the pack.
A quick reminder of the five riders in the breakaway: Jaakko Hanninen (AG2R-La Mondiale), Simon Guglielmi (Groupama-FDJ), Nils Politt (Israel Start-Up Nation), Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo) and Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team).
Meanwhile, it is Romain Sicard and Simon Pellaud who are trying to bridge the gap to the leaders. As I type, Pellaud is dropped by Sicard.
48km to go
Sicard is making a bit of headway now, as Pellaud is brought back, but we can see the head of the peloton peering around the corners of this climb.
The race organiser reports that Bernard took the third KOM, having claimed the first of the day. The leaders are on the fourth of the day. Can Bernard do it again?
Bernard jumps off the front of the breakaway group in search of the next KOM.
Bernard takes the points. Meanwhile, Sicard is within two minutes of the leaders now and continues to make good progress.
44km to go
Sicard has his forearms resting on his handlebars. It's a riding position that fills me with fear. Don't try this at home kids! His chase has stagnated a bit now that we're off the climb.
The riders are on a lengthy descent towards the last classified climb. Politt doesn't look overly happy on the descent and he has been slightly distanced by his companions.
Sicard is now 1:35 behind the leaders. He's seemingly stuck in no man's land at the moment.
Politt is coming back to the front group now. His descending looked very uncomfortable and made me feel a little nervous, to be honest.
36km to go
Sicard has picked up the pace and resumed his position with his forearms on the bars. He's still 1:21 behind the five leaders, and the peloton is just 20 seconds behind him.
It's all over for Sicard, who is about to be brought back by the peloton. It was a decent effort but he could not pull the gap back alone.
Jumbo-Visma is really pushing the pace in the peloton. It looks like it's Gesink doing the pace setting at the moment and the group is strung out. The gap to the leaders is now just 58 seconds.
30km to go
It looks like Politt has pulled out the parachute. He was always going to struggle against the lighter climbers on this climb. Just four up front now with a 39-second gap.
There is jostling in the peloton and Sunweb has moved up to the front to ensure Sam Oomen is in the right place for the final classified climb.
Hanninen has attacked from the breakaway as Politt is swallowed by the peloton. Guglielmi is the next to crack.
Gesink is really digging deep at the front of the peloton. We can now see the leaders, Guglielmi and the peloton all on the one shot. Just 28 seconds is the gap between the groups.
27km to go
Dumoulin is now at the front of the pack. There is a Sunweb rider at the back of the Jumbo-Visma train and Ineos is sitting behind them. This is a brutal pace being set by Dumoulin. Just about 20 riders left in this leading group.
Make that nine riders as splits happen all over the road. The leader's jersey of Bagioli has been dropped. He's not too far behind and battling but this is going to be tough.
26km to go
Hanninen is the last of the breakaway riders out there and it won't be long until he's caught. He has just 10 seconds on the chasing group.
Looking at this main peloton group and it seems that Chris Froome is among those that has been dropped. I can see just Bernal and Thomas in this group.
George Bennett is now pushing hard and he's split the group. He's got Thomas on his wheel and Roglic has to dig in to bridge the gap.
26km to go
Hanninen is caught.
There are some riders bridging across to this front group. Bennett continues to lead the way for now. Jumbo-Visma has Roglic and Kruijswijk in there, too. Also in this group is Quintana, Cantroviejo, Mollama and Conti. Thomas has now been distanced.
Roglic looks very comfortable with this pace. He has Bernal on his wheel with Quintana just behind. Just eight riders in this front group now.
Thomas is now back with a group that contains Guillaume Martin, Herrada and Hanninen.
Sam Oomen and and Jan Hirt are in a group together even further down the road. The pace set by Jumbo-Visma blew a lot of legs.
Castroviejo, who chased back into this group after initially being dropped, looks like he's out of go. He is distanced, as is Conti, leaving us with just six riders left at the front.
Telling to see that there is three Jumbo-Visma riders remaining, in Bennet, Roglic and Kruijswijk.
23km to go
Mollema looks like he's struggling a little bit. He is gapped slightly and has to up the pace to make it back on.
About three kilomtres to the top of the climb. There will be just under 20km to go when the riders reach the top. After that, there is a fast descent before the final, unclassified, climb to the finish line.
George Bennett doing a huge turn on the front. He's still pushing away, slowly crushing the hopes of those behind.
Jersey's open to the navel seems to be the order of fashion at the moment. It is a pretty hot day out there and the pace is blistering, too.
Castroviejo and Conti are still working hard to get back up to this front group. Egan Bernal would be thankful for the help if Castroviejo can het back up there. The pair is 17 seconds behind the six leaders.
18km to go
We're onto the descent now and Castroviejo is dropping Conti. He's a man on a mission.
Castroviejo can see the leaders up the road. He's almost there. Bernal will be happy to see him but how long can he stay up there to help him?
15km to go
TV motorbike got trapped in the gap during that descent but it's out and Castroviejo and Conti are about to make the bridge over to this leading group.
A reminder of the riders up there: Bennett, Roglic, Kruijswijk, Quintana, Mollema, Bernal, Castroviejo and Conti.
Almeda is the next rider ont he road hoping that he can make it back to the front. He has 20 seconds to make up and Bennett is determined not to let any more into the club. He's really pushing hard on the descent.
The riders are almost at the bottom of this descent and they'll be climbing once again.
Almeida is just 13 seconds away from the leading group of riders. He's running out of time before the final ascent. Can he do it?
An attack from Kruijswijk!
There's no immediate counter-attack. What that attack does is put the pressure on Ineos, who have to make the chase. Castroviejo is now being put back to work for the team and he's leading the chase behind Castroviejo.
10km to go
Meanwhile, Quintana, Conti and Mollema can sit near the back. There's no need for them to do a turn on the front. They have no teammates to help them.
Castroviejo looks like he's feeling the effort right now. He puffs his cheeks, Jumbo-Visma is not making it easy for him or Ineos.
Kruijswijk has 17 seconds on the chasing group right now. This is a solid effort from the Dutchman.
8km to go
The road flattens out a few times on this ascent and the riders are on one of the flatter sections. Castroviejo has pulled back the gap to Kruijswijk to 13 seconds and he's had enough. He pulls off and drops anchor.
6.9km to go
Bennett and Conti have been dropped from this front group as Kruijswijk is brought back. The Dutchman immediately sets the pace.
A strong effort from Bennett. He makes it back, with Conti in tow, and he takes up the pace setting again. He's really earning his salary today.
Jumbo-Visma is really setting a punishing pace again. Roglic is in third wheel and he has Bernal on his wheel.
5.2km to go
It doesn't appear that anyone else is going to make it back to the group and the stage winner and new race leader will come from this front group.
None of the other riders seem intent on attacking just yet. How long will they wait before they try to make a move? Do they have the legs to make the move?
A little chat between Kruijswijk and Roglic. Perhaps planning tactics for the finale. What will they do next?
3.6km to go
It feels like the calm before the storm right now. Nobody wants to blink to early and pay the price.
Just past the 3km to go marker and it is Kruijswijk now controlling the pace.
2km to go
And, all of a sudden, we can see a group of riders just 20 seconds down the road. This could change everything if they make it back. It's going to be close.
And the attacks are coming now. Bennett has been dropped.
Kruijswijk driving things on and it has calmed down again.
Under the flamme rouge. Who will go for it?
Bernal is in second wheel behind Kruijswijk with Roglic in his wheel. Quintana is behind Roglic.
Kruijswijk goes for it
Egan Bernal pegs his move and stays on his wheel
Mollama tries to attack but it goes wrong
Roglic attacks and wins
Bernal finishes second, Conti in third and Quintana in fourth.
It looked like Mollema had a mechanical issue as he tried to go on the attack. Dissapointing for him.
Roglic looked really comfortable as he sprinted for the line. He will go into the overall lead with that win.
Jumbo-Visma put on a mighty show in that finale. Tom Dumoulin destroyed the bunch on the penultimate climb and Bennett and Kruijswijk built upon that to set up Roglic for the win.
Bernal looked strong but he was isolated for much of that finale and didn't have enough to challenge Roglic in the sprint for the line.
It was notable that Froome was distnced pretty quickly on that final climb, which is not a good sign for the Tour de France. Thomas lasted a little bit longer but he'll be disappointed not to be in the mix in the finale.
Thomas and Froome just coming into the finish in a group with Dumoulin now.
This is how it finished on the stage
1 Primoz Roglic (Slv) Jumbo-Visma 3:38:14
2 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Ineos
3 Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
4 Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic 0:00:01
5 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:06
6 Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis 0:00:14
7 Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
8 Joao Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:15
9 Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Team Ineos 0:00:19
10 Jan Hirt (Cze) CCC Team
And, this is what it looks like in the overall classification after that brilliant finale.
1 Primoz Roglic (Slv) Jumbo-Visma 7:14:58
2 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Ineos 0:00:10
3 Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:12
4 Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic 0:00:18
5 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:23
6 Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis 0:00:31
7 Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
8 Joao Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:32
9 Jan Hirt (Cze) CCC Team 0:00:36
10 Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) 0:00:39
Bauke Mollema will be very dissapointed. He did so well to stick with that group, only to be done over by a mechanical issue right at the end.
We'll have to wait and hear from Mollema on what exactly happened there.
In the very near future, we will have a full report, results and pictures from the Tour de l'Ain here.
I dont' imagine you've forgotten, but just in case you have, we also have live coverage of Milan-San Remo right here. It's the first Monument of the season and, with a new course, who knows what will happen?
Une victoire toute en maîtrise de la part de @JumboVismaRoad 🔥#TOURDELAIN #TDA pic.twitter.com/JWwKnAbGyoAugust 8, 2020
Julien Bernard may have been caught before the top of the final climb but he did enough beforehand to take the mountains classification. He will wear the spotty jersey tomorrow. There are a lot of points on offer tomorrow so he'll have to do something if he hopes to keep it by the ned of the day.
A few shorts words from today's winner Primoz Roglic:
"It was a perfect day. The whole team did a really great job and I was super happy that I could finish it off.
"It was definitely nice to see that other guys are also strong. We are here to find the right feelings and we are concentrating on that."
🇫🇷 #TourdelAin“Thanks mate”, @rogla & @tonymartin85 pic.twitter.com/UuPKE7HjuzAugust 8, 2020
The Tour de l'Ain is a three-day affair, which means that tomorrow's stage is the last. The organisers have something big planned for the occasion, too. At 144km, it's fairly short again but it packs a punch. It hugs the Swiss border and takes in two first category climbs before the mountaintop finish on the haute categorie Grand Colombier. It will be a stern test for the climbers and it would not be too outlandish to imagine that Jumbo-Visma will try to do something similar to what they did today.
Ineos will not want a repeat of today in the final stage. Given the climbing that's in store, they will be hoping to get a few more riders into the select group so that Bernal is not as isolated as he found himself today. Castroviejo did a mighty job to get back and put in big turn on the final ascent but Thomas and Froome will want to stick around at the front for a little bit longer into the stage.
Trek-Segafredo DS Steven de Jongh on what happened at the finish:
“As Bauke launched his sprint the cleat on his shoe came loose and he couldn’t pedal anymore. It’s a shame because he was coming from behind with some speed and it would have been a good finish for him.
"Anyway, it was a really intense day of climbing and Bauke is riding very well.”
While the finish was a bit frustrating for Mollema today, he can take a lot of heart from it. He was riding very well on the climb and he will be one to keep an eye on tomorrow. Let's just hope he can keep his foot in his pedal.
4e place pour Nairo Quintana au sommet du Mont Lélex, et même place au classement général du Tour de l’Ain📸: Tour de l’Ain- Elise Chauveau#Tousensemble pic.twitter.com/9PIVwH2RlUAugust 8, 2020
Joey Rosskopf was one of five riders to make it into the breakaway today. This is what he had to say about the stage:
“I really enjoyed my opportunity to get out in front today. Just as we had planned, Barta and Černy also started well, covering attacks to ensure that one of us would make the break. Once there, being able to take as many bottles and ice socks from the car really helped me cope with the hot weather.
Although we got caught pretty quickly once the strong GC teams turned on the gas on the last KOM climb, I still enjoyed the chance to see what I could get out of myself on today’s hard course.”
Meanwhile, Julien Bernard - the new mountains classificatino leader - had this to say:
"Taking the breakaway was planned, the stage victory was complicated with the war between Jumbo and Ineos so I focused on the best climber jersey"
Valerio Conti put in a solid ride to day, battling back after being dropped to finish third on the stage. This is what he had to say about his performance:
“This year the Tour de l’Ain is an important race in the preparation of the Tour de France, so the level of the field is very high.Today was one of my greatest uphill performances. I was very happy to be climbing with the strongest in the world, namely Quintana, Roglic, Kruijswijk and Bernal.I gave my all because I wanted to get to the final sprint.In the sprint I had the right position behind Mollema but, when he started, he had a problem with the pedals, so I had to overtake him and follow Roglic and Bernal.Unfortunately I didn’t manage to pass Roglic, he was the strongest.”
Our full report on today's action is in. Read up on what was an exciting finale, here.
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