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Tour de la Provence stage 2 – Live race coverage

Tour de la Provence 2021 stage 2 profile

(Image credit: Tour de la Provence 2021)

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Tour de la Provence: Ballerini wins stage 1

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Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep 4:21:49
2Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
3Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
4Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain Victorious
5Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
6Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
7Gianni Moscon (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
8Stefano Oldani (Ita) Lotto Soudal
9Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
10Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
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General classification after stage 2
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep 9:04:52
2Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech 0:00:16
3Gianni Moscon (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:19
4Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:20
5Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain Victorious
6Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
7Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:25
8Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious 0:00:26
9Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
10Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the second stage of the 2021 Tour de la Provence. The day should see a shakeup at the top of the standings with a hilly finale and an uphill finish which takes the best part of three kilometres.

Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck-QuickStep) is in the leader's jersey today after winning stage 1 in Six-Fours-les-Plages. The Italian beat Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) to the line after his teammate, world champion Julian Alaphilippe, had spent the day in the break.

Read our report on the stage here.

CASSIS FRANCE FEVRIER 11 Davide Ballerini of team DECEUNINCK QUICK STEP durant letape 1 Aubagne Six Fours les Plages du Tour de Provence 2021 Le 11 fevrier 2021 Cassis France Photo by James StarttAgence Zoom

Ballerini in the leader's jersey after stage 1 (Image credit: Agence Zoom)

The riders are currently signing on before the start and are set to roll out of Cassis in around five minutes' time.

The peloton will head north from the coast to Manosque and will tackle three classified climbs along the way to the finish. Two third-category climbs line the route, along with a second-category climb 35km from the line.

The uphill finish comes in at 2.7km at 3.4 per cent, though a flat section in the middle skews the figures somewhat.

The peloton has just rolled out to start the neutralised zone and racing will soon be getting underway.

It's a 4.6km ride through the neutralised zone before the flag drops and the riders get going properly.

175km to go

The riders are off and the racing is underway!

It's uphill from the start with an unclassified 3.2km climb. The perfect place to establish a breakaway?

Five men are on the attack, taking advantage of the early hills to try and get away from the peloton.

Deceuninck-QuickStep sprinter Fabio Jakobsen has undergone another surgery in his recovery from the Tour de Pologne crash that almost cost him his career last year.

Fabio Jakobsen undergoes surgery on jaw and scars

165km to go

The five riders on the attack have 1:30 on the peloton, though we don't have their identities just yet.

The riders are moving towards the first climb of the day now, the Grand Caunet (3.6km at 3.6 per cent).

158km to go

And now the riders have passed the summit. Still no information on who's out front, though.

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LA CIOTAT FRANCE FEBRUARY 14 Merhawi Kudus of Eritrea and Team Astana Pro Team Iljo Keisse of Belgium and Team Deceuninck Quick Step Kasper Asgreen of Denmark and Team Deceuninck Quick Step Peloton Landscape Mediterranean Sea Fans Public during the 5th Tour de La Provence 2020 Stage 2 a 1749km stage from Aubagne to La Ciotat Les Crtes 344m TDLP letourdelaprovence TDLP2020 on February 14 2020 in La Ciotat France Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Filippo Conca (Lotto Soudal), Jérôme Cousin (Total Direct Énergie), Eduard-Michael Grosu (Delko), Baptiste Bleier (St Michel-Auber 93), Samuel Leroux (Xelliss-Roubaix Lille Métropole) are the five men out front. They're two minutes ahead of the peloton at the moment.

Here's a look at Deceuninck-QuickStep before the start, with Davide Ballerini in the Mondrian-inspired leader's jersey.

Deceuninck-QuickStep Tour de la Provence 2021

(Image credit: Jean-François Quénet)

155km to go

The Belgian team are currently leading the peloton, which is now 2:30 down on the five-man break.

Conca led the way over the Grand Caunet, leading Leroux and Bleier from the break.

Julian Alaphilippe to test himself up Mont Ventoux

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Now the gap back to the peloton has stretched out to 2:40.

140km to go

We've had an hour of racing now, and the break continues to hang around 2:35 out front as Deceuninck-QuickStep continue to do the work.

The route is up and down for now, but there are no classified climbs until the 35km to go mark. As such, the race should be fairly relaxed for a while – the peloton has let the break's advantage stretch out to 2:55 over the past few kilometres.

It's raining out on the course now. The gap is up to 3:30 after a lull in the peloton.

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Tour de la Provence 2021 6th Edition 1st stage Aubagne SixFourslesPlages 1823 km 11022021 Davide Ballerini ITA Deceuninck QuickStep Arnaud Demare FRA Groupama FDJ Ide Schelling NED Bora Hansgrohe photo William Cannarella CVBettiniPhoto2021

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

110km to go

The rain is falling harder now, as the Deceuninck-QuickStep-led peloton remains three minutes back.

100km to go

The riders pass the 100km to go mark, and the breakaway men are still working together well in the rain.

All the riders are wrapped up in long sleeves and rain gear. Grim conditions out on the roads of southern France.

UAE Team Emirates are up there behind Deceuninck-QuickStep in the peloton.

Feeding time in the peloton as the riders grab musettes from their soigneurs side of the road.

93km to go

The gap is holding steady at 2:30 at the moment, even as the peloton slows up a little to eat their lunch.

Rémi Cavagna and Yves Lampaert are among the Deceuninck-QuickStep riders putting in work on the front of the peloton.

We're still around 30 kilometres away from the next feature on the route. That's the day's first intermediate sprint at Gréoux-les-Bains.

Meanwhile, little has changed in the race situation. Deceuninck-QuickStep are still in control of the peloton with UAE Team Emirates close behind. Up the road, the break still holds an advantage of 2:50. 

At least the rain has eased off a little, though.

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The temperature out on the road is a reported 5-6c at the moment, so between that and the rain it's not a pleasant day out for the riders.

65km to go

The gap between peloton and break is back out a bit – it's up to three minutes again.

The break are now 5km away from the intermediate sprint.

56km to go

The break pass through the intermediate sprint, though there's no competition for the points. Grosu led Leroux and Cousin across the line.

The next obstacle, which they head straight onto, is an uncategorised climb. It's 3.5km long at an average gradient of 5.5 per cent.

50km to go

Past the 50km to go mark and the peloton are closing in on the break a little. The gap is down to 2:30 now.

Six kilometres to go to the second intermediate sprint of the day and then the riders will be immediately climbing to the second-category Col de la Mort d'Imbert (5km at 4 per cent).

The second intermediate sprint comes in Manosque, the location of today's finish.

40km to go

Conca has jumped away from the break at the bottom of the climb. Meanwhile, Bleier is having difficulty staying in touch.

The peloton lies 2:20 down.

Lotto Soudal and Ineos Grenadiers join Deceuninck-QuickStep at the front of the peloton.

10 seconds between Conca and the rest of the break.

AG2R Citroën are also up front as the peloton climb.

34km to go

Conca has extended his lead to 33 seconds now. He's riding well on the ascent.

30km to go

Conca led the way over the top for five points with Leroux and Grosu taking second and third.

The Italian is now 45 seconds clear at the front.

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Deceuninck-QuickStep continue to drive it on the front of the peloton. They're 1:45 down on Conca, and just 55 seconds behind the rest of the break.

The riders are descending the Col de la Mort d'Imbert now. There's another unclassified climb coming up before they'll tackle the third-category Col Montfuron, which they'll crest at 17km to go.

25km to go

It's over for the break as the peloton drags them back. Just Conca out front now – 1:25 down. Deceuninck-QuickStep, Arkéa-Samsic and Movistar are all up at the front of the peloton.

Ineos, Bora-Hansgrohe and Bahrain Victorious also have men up front.

22km to go

Now Bahrain take it up. They'll be riding for one of Dylan Teuns, Jack Haig or Wout Poels, each of whom could be suited to an overall bid at this race.

Arkéa-Samsic have Warren Barguil to lead them, while Ineos are riding for Iván Sosa if Egan Bernal's comments before stage 1 are to be believed. Julian Alaphilippe would be Deceuninck-QuickStep's leadership candidate, meanwhile.

The gap to Conca is down to 42 seconds now as Deceuninck-QuickStep continue to work.

Conca is a neo-pro this year, of course. He has finished fifth at the U23 Giro in each of the past two seasons.

18km to go

And just like that, Conca is within sight for the peloton. His time out front is almost over.

Riders are struggling to hang on at the rear of the peloton, such is the high pace.

It's also started to rain heavier now, too. A grim finish for the riders.

15km to go

It's over for Conca. He's swept up by the charging peloton as they head towards the top of the Col de Montfuron (3km at 4 per cent).

12km to go

Lotto Soudal are determined to do something today. Florian Vermeersch is on the attack now.

A Movistar rider is with him.

Matteo Jorgenson is the rider with Vermeersch.

9km to go

The now-reduced peloton isn't far behind the duo, however.

8km to go

The duo are working well together, exchanging turns on the front in the horrible weather. Around five seconds back, the chase is on.

The climb to the line starts 3km out, so not long to go now...

5km to go

The lead duo are still handing out front, but they won't last for much longer.

4km to go

And the pair are caught. 1km to go until the climb starts.

3km to go

Deceuninck-QuickStep lead the way onto the ascent. Alaphilippe is third wheel. Lotto Soudal, Astana and Bahrain are also up there.

Astana take over at the front with Alaphilippe in prime position. Ballerini is on his wheel now.

2km to go

The peloton reaches a flatter portion now which lasts for almost another kilometre. Astana are still in control.

Astana have the Izagirre brothers, Alexey Lutsenko, and Aleksandr Vlasov as their leaders this week.

The Kazakhstani squad have four men towards the front.

1km to go

Flamme rouge for the peloton and there's a crash at the front! An Astana rider slid out on a corner and took out Alaphilippe!

Astana still lead the way with Lutsenko in second position. Ballerini is still up there.

Fraile works for Lutsenko.

300 metres to go and Fraile still pushes.

Lutsenko takes it up but Ballerini comes from behind!

Another crash behind..

Ballerini just edges it at the line. He beats Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) in the sprint.

A Movistar rider hit the deck in the background. Meanwhile, Alaphilippe smiles to the camera as he rides to the finish. He's OK.

Ballerini went early and was fading towards the line but he had enough to hold off his compatriot, who was catching.

Alex Aranburu (Astana-Premier Tech) took third place.

Alaphilippe has just crossed the line alongside teammates Zdenek Štybar and Kasper Asgreen.

Two wins in two days to start the season for 26-year-old Ballerini. Those have been his fifth and sixth victories as a pro.

That result, of course, means that Ballerini extends his lead at the top of the general classification. His reign as race leader should come to an end tomorrow though, as the peloton tackle Mont Ventoux.

Here's the top 10 on the stage.

And here's what Ballerini had to say after the stage.

"What a stage and what a team. They worked all day and I think it’s the best thing to win in the final when you see a team like this. I’m really, really happy for the team and the sponsor. I saw the crash from Loulou. I think he’s good, I hope he’s good. It was not easy, it was very, very stressful in the final because it was raining, and also it was slippery on the downhill, but we stayed in front and did the best.

"I’m in very good condition and I’ll try to keep this condition until the Classics because they’re my focus this season. We’ll see. Sunday, on paper, will be a sprint, I hope. We’ll see how it goes because maybe there’ll be wind or something else, but for sure we can try."

Check out our full stage 2 report here. Full results and photo galllery to follow.

Check back later for the full results and photo gallery from stage 2 of the Tour de la Provence.

Tour de la Provence 2021 - 6th Edition - 2nd stage Cassis - Manosque 174,7 km - 12/02/2021 - Davide Ballerini (ITA - Deceuninck - Quick-Step) - Giulio Ciccone (ITA - Trek - Segafredo) - photo William Cannarella CV/BettiniPhoto©2021

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

That's all from our live coverage for today, though. Be sure to check back tomorrow for live reporting from stage 3, which finishes at Chalet Reynard on the famous Mont Ventoux.

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