Hello and welcome to our live coverage of stage 2 of the Tour de Wallonie.
Today is a largely flat day, with no classified climbs and two sprint points to be contested during the 172km stage to Wavre.
The stage is set to get underway in Frasnes-Lez-Anvaing shortly.
Stage 2 is underway!
Top départ de la 2e étape #TRW2020 à Frasnes-Lez-Anvaing. Bonne course à tous ! pic.twitter.com/D56zzm91SyAugust 17, 2020
Caleb Ewan won stage 1 on Sunday. He's likely to battle against Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep) again here today.
Nacer Bouhanni (Arkéa-Samsic), Mark Cavendish (Bahrain McLaren), Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) and Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT) are among the other sprinters at the race.
The peloton has just passed km0, marking the start of real racing, and six men are on the attack.
167km to go
The peloton have let the men go. They're 1:45 up the road at the moment. We'll get the names when we can.
James Fouche (Hagens Berman Axeon) and Tom Wirtgen (Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles) are among the riders up the road.
152km to go
The gap to the break is now 3:20.
Gianni Marchand (Tartoletto-Isorex) and Ludwig De Winter (Circus-Wanty Gobert) are also in the breakaway.
CCC's leader Greg Van Avermaet spoke before the stage, saying it will be tough to drop the pure sprinters today. His eyes are on stages 3 and 4, which feature more hills and will decide the overall GC.
"A similar stage but a bit harder in the end because there are some quite hard, short climbs. I don't think it will be hard enough to drop some of the real sprinters, though it can make them a little bit tired so we'll see what's happening.
"Hopefully it stays dry and we can maybe try to be in front and make a result. But I think in general the GC will be played on the last two stages. We're ambitious to do some good results in the next days.
It's good to do some extra rhythm for the Tour de France too, and to see how the legs are responding to the training we did."
It's raining out on course now. The break are two minutes up on the peloton.
Finally we have full information on the makeup of the break. Wirtgen, De Winter, Fouche and Marchand are up front with Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix) and Toon Aerts (Telenet-Baloise Lions).
A few shots of the peloton out on the road today, courtesy of the race organisers...
Peloton groupé roule à vive allure #trw2020 pic.twitter.com/uq6WGKuReKAugust 17, 2020
128km to go
The first hour of racing saw the riders cover 44.5km
The six-man break is now 3:40 up the road under dark skies.
There's still some time to go until live television coverage of the action begins, but we've got you covered. Find out how to watch the Tour de Wallonie here.
Lotto Soudal are working at the head of the peloton. Their man Caleb Ewan won yesterday, holds the leader's jersey, and is among the favourites to win again today.
The Critérium du Dauphiné finished yesterday. Here are six conclusions from the race, from Martínez magic to why it's time for riders to strike.
100km to go
With just over 70km of racing done, it's still Lotto Soudal at the front of the peloton as the riders pass between Charleroi and Namur before turning north.
The work put in by Lotto has seen the gap come down. What was an four-minute advantage for the break is now down to 2:20.
Here's a look at the men out in the break today.
Les 6 hommes de tête sont @DeWinterLudwig @CircusWGT #driesdebondt @AlpecinCycling @TomWirtgen @CTBingoalWB #jamesfouche @HBAxeon #giannimarchand #tartelettoisorex @toonaerts @Telenet_Baloise pic.twitter.com/16m0FSexeCLes 6 hommes de tête sont @DeWinterLudwig @CircusWGT #driesdebondt @AlpecinCycling @TomWirtgen @CTBingoalWB #jamesfouche @HBAxeon #giannimarchand #tartelettoisorex @toonaerts @Telenet_Baloise pic.twitter.com/16m0FSexeCAugust 17, 2020August 17, 2020
Here's our latest news story of the day – Marion Sicot has filed sexual harrassment complaints with the UCI and French police against Doltcini-Van Eyck manager Marc Bracke.
Isaac Cantón (Burgos-BH) has crashed in the peloton but he gets going again without too much trouble.
Greg Van Avermaet and Owain Doull (Team Ineos) have also crashed.
60km to go
Bahrain McLaren and Groupama-FDJ lead the peloton at the moment, while the rain has now eased up. There's no further news on Van Avermaet or Doull so we'll assume they're back with the peloton for now.
Yes, Van Avermaet is back.
The peloton is 1:30 down on the six men in the break at the moment.
50km to go
Christian Knees (Team Ineos) drops back from the peloton, possibly with a mechanical. Meanwhile, the peloton are now within a minute of the break.
Doull made it the back to the peloton after his crash, too, by the way.
It would be hard to say that today's action has lived up to the weekend's racing at Il Lombardia or the Dauphiné. We're just waiting for the peloton to make the catch and then maybe we'll see some attackers try and disrupt the expected sprint finish.
42km to go
The gap is 50 seconds now, and still the same teams work at the front of the peloton. Arkéa-Samsic are also up there.
Romain Hardy (Arkéa-Samsic) stops for a front wheel change.
37km to go
The gap hands at around the 55-second mark. The peloton has this well in hand.
Bike change for race leader Caleb Ewan!
No fuss for him or the Lotto Soudal team car and he should get back with no problems or energy wasted if some teammates drop back to help.
31km to go
Ewan is safely back with the peloton now. There has been a crash in the middle of the peloton as the pace has upped, though. Everylne seems to be back up and running ok, though.
Bouhanni was involved but everyone is back in now. The break is almost caught.
27km to go
The break is caught. Bahrain McLaren and Groupama-FDJ work on the front.
The peloton crosses the finish line for the first time. One lap around Wavre before they come back to sprint for the win.
John Degenkolb (Lotto Soudal) is making his way back after a puncture.
Toon Aerts (Telenet-Baloise Lions) gave it a go as they crossed the line.
Attaque de #toonaerts au passage de la ligne. Il reste 24 km. pic.twitter.com/l2qFWSQtszAugust 17, 2020
17km to go
Mark Cavendish (Bahrain McLaren) drops out the back of the peloton on one of the non-categorised hills. He had a teammate with him briefly before the rider returned to the peloton.
Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT) has crashed approaching a roundabout. He gets back on his bike a touch slowly. Looks like a Burgos-BH rider also went down but he was up and away more quickly.
Teams fighting for positions on these narrow roads sees riders towards the rear miss out and drop back. Several riders have just made a mess of trying to move up by cutting a corner across someone's gravel driveway.
13km to go
Bahrain McLaren are on the front of the peloton again. We haven't seen Cavendish get back in so it looks like he's gone and they're working for Phil Bauhaus.
Riders are jumping onto the pavement on a short cobbld rise to push on for the sprin and three bonus seconds. Philippe Gilbert led the way but he was beaten by Zdenek Štybar.
11km to go
Meanwhile, Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep) drops off the back of the peloton on that rise. He's pedalling extremely slowly so it looks like a mechanical problem.
Bennett waves the camera moto away. It looks like he just blew up on that climb, actually.
We've seen riders thrown out of races for doing what a few riders – including Gilbert – did by riding on the pavement on that hill. Seems unlikely that anything will happen to him here, though. It is the UCI we're talking about, after all.
8km to go
Gilbert is off the front now with Štybar. Reigning champion Loic Vliegen (Circus-Wanty Gobert) and Amaury Capiot (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) are there too, as CCC work at the head of the peloton.
The gap between the attackers and peloton is only around five seconds here. They won't make it to the end.
5km to go
The group has been brought back now. It should be a sprint in Wavre.
3km to go
CCC Team are still driving at the front. Groupama-FDJ are behind.
Greg Van Avermaet is in third wheel now. Giacomo Nizzolo is also back up there. Deceuninck-QuickStep have a man on the front now.
1km to go
Into the final kilometre and Lotto Soudal on the front now, along with Michael Morkov of Deceuninck-QuickStep.
Ewan launches his sprint first!
But it's Arnaud Démare who comes from behind to go past and cross the line first! A win for Groupama-FDJ.
Démare played that well to get in Ewan's wheel. He timed his sprint to come around and fly past the Australian. Dan McLay took third for Arkéa-Samsic.
Here's a look at the sprint finish.
Victoire pour @ArnaudDemare !! pic.twitter.com/sfGmeEtpqvAugust 17, 2020
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ|
|2||Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal|
|3||Daniel McLay (GBr) Team Arkea-Samsic|
|4||Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic|
|5||Florian Senechal (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep|
|6||Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck-Quickstep|
|7||Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling|
|8||Dries Van Gestel (Bel) Total Direct Energie|
|9||Lionel Taminiaux (Bel) Bingoal WB|
|10||Edward Planckaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise|
Our short stage report is up here along with brief results and a gallery of the day's action. Check back later for a full report, full results and even more photos.
Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) will take the leader's jersey into stage 3 after taking another six-second time bonus today.
Tomorrow has far more climbing along the 192km route to Vise though, so you'd expect a new face in yellow after the stage.
There are seven categorised climbs tomorrow, five of them first category. The stage is held east of Liège, so you know what kind of climbs they are – short and sharp.
A shot of the finish today, with Démare just taking it at the line.
We'll be back tomorrow with more live coverage from Wallonia – the queen stage of the race – as well as from the Giro dell'Emilia, where Vincenzo Nibali, Jakob Fuglsang, Fabio Aru and Richard Carapaz are all on the start list.
Don't forget to check out our new themed week, too – 'Ride like a Pro' week sponsored by Cadex.
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