It didn’t take long for this year’s Tour de France to fire up, and credit has to go to the race organiser’s for laying down a challenging second stage. What is a real surprise to me is that it is definitely NOT flat in Yorkshire. And after yesterday’s efforst by the Manx Missile (Mark Cavendish) to imitate a head butting bull he has had to pull out of the race. His team of Omega Pharma – Quickstep now have their Tour de France plans in complete disarray. Anyways, misfiring missiles are all history now and there is 20 days of racing to go – here is the tale of the tape for stage 2.

A Breakaway Making a Good Effort

After “The Jensie” (Jens Voigt) dished out a lesson to the peloton yesterday in cement mixing, the breakaway group of 7 riders decided that they should give a good crack at it. The main protagonists were Cyril Lemoine (Cofidis) and Blel Kadri (AG2R La Mondiale). Fair play to Lemoine who chased down as many of the hill top finishes to earn his place in the Polka Dot Jersey taking it off the shoulders of the Jensie. He was in the break for some 140km. He earnt some of these points through what has to be the funniest name for a climb (in French) – “Côte de Blubberhouses”.

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Big credit also goes to Kadri who only got caught with just over 30km to go gave it a proper crack, but his compatriot Thomas Voeckler (Europcar – and face pulling champion of the peloton) led off an attack dragging a punchy group of riders – including the GC contenders to reel him back in. There were several more attacks including a brazen attempt from Mr Fashion Faux Pas himself Pierre Rolland (Europcar – check out his all polka dot affair from last year’s race… not good). Credit to Rolland who has showed that he intends to back up from his efforts in the Giro, let’s hope his legs hold up. Rolland was only caught by the chase group with just under 10km to go.

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Finish with a Shark Attack!

Surprisingly the GC boys all came out to play. First it was the Froome-dog who was checked by Clentador (Alberto Contador – sorry that name is going to stick) and The Shark (Vincenzo Nibali finally hunting in Le Tour). It was the Shark’s team mate, Jakob Fulsang (Astana), who messed around with everyone providing the perfect springboard for a Shark Attack!

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Nibali went with 2km and he smoked all of them. As he crossed the line he let everyone know that he is here to win and intends to do so as the Italian national champion. Chapeau! Nibali now wears Yellow on his back, and there will be fun and games in the days to come.

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One should not look past the guys who finished behind him as the GC contenders including the dark horses, like my pick Talansky, were all nipping away at Nibali’s fins.

The Cement Ladder – The Grey Jersey

Watching the toughest sportsmen in the world, I have decided to start a “cement” ranking that reflects truly great feats of endurance and the overcoming of pain (basically a bit of HTFU and a demonstration of adherence to Rule #5). Former winners include Jens Voigt (multiple times) and Johnny Hoogerland. Maybe ASO could make a special jersey, grey, for this category.

5pts – Blel Kadri who really kicked on with it on an underestimated but tough stage.

3pts – Cyril Lemoine for not only riding the breakaway but also laying some smack down to his partners in the breakaway group.

2pts – Vincenzo Nibali for his successful attack in the final two kms earning the rewards and firing up the contest early in the race.

1pt – Jens Voigt for cracking jokes with his fellow riders in the peloton while wearing the silliest jersey in the race.

The current table is:

6pts – The Jensie (Voigt)

5pts – Kadri

3pts – Lemoine and Spartacus (Cancellara)

2pts – The Shark (Nibali)

1pt – The Hornet (Horner)

It is a veritable zoo in the hunt for Grey.

 

For a more serious look at the first stage of racing check out.

Cycling NewsStage 2 Report

SBS Cycling CentralStage 2 wrapup

VeloVoicesTour Stage 2

N.B. the photos of the racing have been sourced from Cyclingnews.com and the copyright obviously remains with the copyright holder.