Live coverage of stage 2 of the Vuelta, a flat stage across southern France where crosswinds could be a factor.
Stage 1 report: BMC win opening TTT
Good morning, and welcome to our live race centre for stage 2 of the 2017 Vuelta a España. This is the flattest stage of the entire race, but there are plenty of butterflies in the stomachs this morning as one word can be heard being whispered around the team buses in Nîmes: 'Crosswinds'.
@lavuelta Sun, 20th Aug 2017 10:06:09
The riders are signing on, with the roll-out scheduled for 12.25 local time.
Yesterday the Vuelta got underway with a team time trial in Nîmes, taking riders right through the Roman amphitheatre. Former TTT world champions BMC won the battle and put Rohan Dennis into the first red jersey of the race. Report, results, photos all in here:
Vuelta a Espana: BMC win opening team time trial
BMC, with almost a clean sweep of jerseys, line up on the front as the riders wait for the race to get underway.
The riders are on their way and currently making their way through what is a pretty big neutralised zone. So the flag should drop for the start of the race proper in around 15 minutes.
Before we get underway, here's the full story on those crosswinds I mentioned earlier. Basically, strong winds are blowing out to sea, straight across the race route, which tracks the coast for over 100km. Alberto Contador says days like this can be just as important as big summit finishes like the Angliru.
The peloton probably didn't need such a long neutral zone with a 200+km stage coming up, but the flag has finally dropped and we are racing.
The first attacks are coming, but Contador's Trek-Segafredo team is on the front of the peloton attempting to control matters in the early phases.
It's fast. No successful breakaway attempts thus far, but the peloton is rattling along, and some riders are fighting to stick to the back of the peloton.
178km remaining from 203km
25 kilometres on the clock and still no breakaway. In another 25km or so the race will hit the coast and run along the more exposed roads and lagoons.
@lavuelta Sun, 20th Aug 2017 11:14:54
Things have calmed down out there, but the peloton is still as one.
You can now catch up on yesterday's action with our highlights video. Check it out here.
Just over 40km gone, and we're nearing the coastline. At the moment we're seeing a fight for position at the front of the peloton, with BMC, Trek, Sky, and Katusha among those trying to keep their leaders well positioned.
This is a flat stage, but for the moment it's all about the general classification riders.
“We'll give it all to maintain Alberto (Contador) at the front, because you can lose a lot of time today with the wind. We need to make sure he doesn't get dropped," Trek's sprinter, John Degenkolb, told the race organisers this morning.
"Obviously we'll look at the opportunity to fight for stage win at the end, and I hope we have a strong team to work together. We have a good shot at achieving a good result."
Speaking of Degenkolb, Alasdair Fotheringham spoke to the German yesterday. He's here in his first race since the Tour to build towards the World Championships in September (Degenkolb, not Fotheringham). Here's the full story.
@CajaRural_RGA Sun, 20th Aug 2017 11:47:52
46.3 kilometres have been covered in the first hour of racing.
Chris Froome is widely considered the favourite for this Vuelta, and he made a solid start in the team time trial yesterday, with Sky finishing fourth on the stage. "OK, it’s not the stage victory, but we put in a very solid ride," said Froome, who put significant chunks of time into his main rivals for the GC.
138km remaining from 203km
Big crash, taking out several riders.
The nerves and anticipation of crosswinds was always going to increase the likelihood of crashes, and riders from Cofidis, Astana, and LottoNL went down there. It's nothing too serious, though, and they're all back up and running.
131km remaining from 203km
We're over 70km in, and still we have all 198 riders in one peloton.
Still no echelon action, but the general consensus is that at one point or another, the wind will unleash its impact on the race - and the GC riders must be switched on at every moment.
"Today, we will have to wait and see how decisive the wind is and exactly how selective it's going to be. In my opinion, it will split somewhere, so we need to be on the right side of that," Chris Froome told the Vuelta's media people this morning.
Our Spanish correspondent Alasdair Fotheringham has just arrived at the finish in Gruissan. Before he attacks the press buffet, he sends us the following weather update.
"It's blowing a gale. Sunny, not a cloud in the sky. But really, really windy. The finish is out on the coast. Virtually no cover, very exposed in general."
Susan jumping in so that Patrick can recover from all the excitement so far in this stage. Or try to wake up. Whatever....
There was a lot more action in yesterday's short team time trial than there has been yet in today's stage. Take a look at some video highlights of stage 1.
After 2 hours of racing, the average speed is 44.9 km/hr.
@quickstepteam Sun, 20th Aug 2017 13:01:56
The feeding zone has been passed. We wish the peloton Bon Appetit.
Team Sunweb finished third in yesterday's team time trial. They were tied in time with second-placed Quick Step, at six seconds. This was also three seconds faster than the favoured Team Sky. No one was more surprised that Team Sunweb itself.
Who might win this thing today? Niki Sorensen, DS at Aqua Blue, puts in a good word for his Adam Blythe. He told our Al Fotheringham at the start that the 27-year-old Briton is in good shape and recently did a strong Vuelta a Burgos.
This is Blythe’s first Vuelta and fourth Grand Tour, having ridden the Giro d’Italia in 2010, 2011 and 2013. He is still looking for his first win this season.
A very very long stretch of very straight road. And of course as flat as can be.
@9lives2 Sun, 20th Aug 2017 13:24:30
At the front right now we have Sunweb, AG2R, Trek, Bahrain-Merida, Astana, Sky --- good thing it is a wide road.
The field is now stretched out in a long line, as compared to being all bunched up. But still all together.
We have wind! And some furious riding up front. And we see the first little gap forming!
Pantano of Trek leading the peloton. There are maybe 30-40 riders in teh second group.
Apparently all the big names are in the first group, and, as we said, it is a small group which is now behind, only about 20 riders.
69km remaining from 203km
Things have slowed down and everyone is back together again.
Mechanical for Froome! The Sky rider is lucky to have his problem during a lull in the pace, and he has teammates to help him back on.
Froome is back up near the front of the bunch as his Sky riders take the lead.
A narrow road has caused a number of riders to hit the deck, and this time it looks fairly serious. Several riders are down and not about to remount anytime soon.
Marc Fournier (FDJ), Javi Moreno (Bahrain), and Anass Aït El Abdia (UAE) are all sat up at the side of the road.
El Abdia's head is slumped. This looks like a collarbone, and it certainly looks like the end of the road for him. Moreno is holding his face.
57km remaining from 203km
The race continues, and the peloton is spread across the road. The pace is pretty leisurely at this point.
Fournier is back up and running, as is Moreno, but the Bahrain rider is moving very gingerly. We're still waiting for confirmation of El Abdia's abandon.
The pace has been taken out of proceedings here, and the action will have to wait for later, it seems. The riders are heading inland now, so into more of a headwind. With 30km or so remaining, they'll turn almost 180 to head straight in the direction of the coast.
@TeamUAEAbuDhabi Sun, 20th Aug 2017 14:23:41
Javier Moreno has also abandoned the Vuelta.
36km remaining from 203km
The riders continue into this headwind but in a few kilometres' time we'll be turning back towards the coast, where it will become more of a headwind. It's still all together, and all bunched up, with Sky and Katusha at the front of affairs.
36km remaining from 203km
The riders continue into this headwind but in a few kilometres' time we'll be turning back towards the coast, where it will become more of a tailwind. It's still all together, and all bunched up, with Sky and Katusha at the front of affairs.
32km remaining from 203km
The pace increases slightly as the riders make the change in direction. The peloton comes through a tight corner and it strings out.
Kautsha take it up here, and now the pace is really high. There's an intermediate sprint coming up, so maybe they're thinking about that.
Katusha have forced some splits here. Three of their riders are up with Daniel Oss and a Quick-Step rider. Behind them there's a gap to the others, but it's single file now.
A fair few riders have been blown out of the back of the peloton here.
The gaps up front are closed but it's stretched out and the pace remains very high.
Chris Froome is up there near the front, following a LottoNL wheel, without a teammate in his immediate vicinity.
27km remaining from 203km
Ian Stannard comes to the front now for Sky as Katusha take their foot off the gas slightly and the front of the peloton spreads across the road once more.
Quick-Step hit the front now and they're riding hard here. Astana tucked in just behind, protecting Fabio Aru.
@quickstepteam Sun, 20th Aug 2017 14:56:31
Orica are doing a handy job of keeping their GC men up at the front, as are Astana. Trek suddenly appear on the right-hand side with Contador in tow.
20km remaining from 203km
We're into the final 20km and it's fast, with plenty of teams forming trains across the whole road.
A roundabout creates considerable disruption. The left-hand side is clearly the shortest way round, but half of the teams take the elongated right-hand path, leaving them about half-way down the peloton by the time they emerge.
Orica take it up through Narbonne, with the town-centre roads throwing up some twists and turns, causing the peloton to stretch out once more.
15km remaining from 203km
Sunweb are taking it up now.
We're heading for a sprint here, though a lot can still happen in the final few kilometres, with the wind still a threat. There aren't many top-tier sprinters here, and not teams dedicated to controlling these flat stages, so we may see an opportunist try their luck before long.
11km remaining from 203km
The road widens out with just over 11km to go and the peloton spreads across it, all the way down. It's a bit calmer once again now but the pace is still high.
Trek's main job for the day has been to keep Contador well protected, but in the final couple of kilometres thoughts will turn to the stage win, as they have two of the strongest cards for a sprint finish in John Degenkolb and Edward Theuns. Degenkolb said they'd make the call out on the road as to who they work for today.
@BMCProTeam Sun, 20th Aug 2017 15:14:33
6km remaining from 203km
Team Sky take it up now and they're really drilling it. They have five riders taking turns - the TTT was yesterday, lads.
This latest injection of pace has seen plenty of small groups off the back of the peloton.
@Ride_Argyle Sun, 20th Aug 2017 15:18:04
4km remaining from 203km
Sky's hegemony is disrupted as the riders take on a small incline. Stannard is on the front but others are making their presence felt, with Astana sending two to the front now.
Stannard back on the front as we near the safety net of the -3km to go banner.
2km remaining from 203km
The riders take a big left-hander as they hit one of many roundabouts in the finale of today's stage.
Quick-Step give it full gas as the change in direction changes the wind.
It's on! Quick-Step have three and it's splitting up big time.
A Cannondale group makes it back to the Quick-Step group, but there's a gap back to the rest.
1km remaining from 203km
Only 15 left out front.
Solo effort from a Quick-Step rider.
It's Yves Lampaert
Lampaert's going to take this...He has a gap
Yves Lampaert wins stage 2 of the Vuelta a España
@quickstepteam Sun, 20th Aug 2017 15:24:14
What a ride from Lampaert. What a ride from Quick-Step. They knew all about that roundabout and the change in the wind direction, and they duly split the race and put numbers up at the front. Lampaert had the power to open the gap, and there was no one to shut it down. Even if there was, QS had Matteo Trentin waiting for a sprint. Great tactics, great execution.
Trentin took second place there, as the rest of the group came in a couple of seconds down. Adam Blythe (Aqua Blue) was third.
Strong tweeting from the Quick-Step's media team. As they say, the Belgian squad is the king of crosswinds, and after ripping it up at the Giro for one of four wins for Fernando Gaviria, they've done it again here. They took 5 stages at the Giro and 5 at the Tour - 5 for the Vuelta?
@quickstepteam Sun, 20th Aug 2017 15:27:21
Lampaert is the new leader of the Vuelta, courtesy of the 10 bonus seconds he picks up for the stage win. BMC had Daniel Oss in that front group but Lampaert was one of the Quick-Step riders to finish just 6 seconds back in yesterday's TTT.
1 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors 04:36:13
2 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
3 Adam Blythe (GBr) Aqua Blue Sport
4 Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
5 Sacha Modolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
6 Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
7 Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team
8 Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team
9 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
10 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
"At the moment I do not realise it. I don't know what's happening - it's really crazy for me," says Lampaert.
"During the race we planned that if we could make an echelon, we would try in the last 10km. We went full from last three kilometres, then we were away with Alaphilippe and a few guys in the break. After that, just before the roundabout, they shouted at me, 'go go go!' I knew i could ride one kilometre very fast and it worked out."
In terms of the GC picture, it's interesting to note the presence of Vincenzo Nibali in that front group. The Italian has therefore gained a small chunk of time on his rivals.
Esteban Chaves finished in a small group 5 seconds back, while Chris Froome was 8 seconds back with Fabio Aru, Adam Yates, Rafal Majka, and Domenico Pozzovivo.
The rest of the GC favourites - including Contador, Bardet, Zakarin, Kruijswijk - were all 13 seconds back.
@OrregoRicardo Sun, 20th Aug 2017 15:54:18
General Classification after stage 2
1 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors 4:52:07
2 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:01
3 Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:00:03
4 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:17
5 Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing Team
6 Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team
7 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:18
8 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb
9 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:21
10 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky
For more photos from today's stage, along full results, here's our report page.
Vuelta a Espana: Lampaert wins stage 2
We also have a video of the final kilometre, when Lampaert launched his attack, which you can find in our report at the link below.
@EdwardTheuns Sun, 20th Aug 2017 16:15:51
Tomorrow, it's into the Pyrenees. Bit early for mountains in a Grand Tour, but we're not complaining.
We'll be back here, of course, for full live coverage of tomorrow's stage. Until then, keep your eyes peeled on Cyclingnews for all the latest stories from the Vuelta, including video highlights from today's stage. Hasta mañana!
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