Second week of the Tour de France starts with 3 hellish stages in the Alps and ends in Danish Dynamite delight. La Course left us breathless and hoarse with a fantastic finish. Buckle-up for a helter-skelter week of French racing.
First day in the mountains and all the action came from the breakaway. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) was fire and ice swashbuckling his way to a stage win and the polka dots. Greg van Avermaet (BMC) was simply magnificent to extend his lead on the yellow.
The GC big hitters come out to play. Movistar and Tom Dumoulin play their cards. Team Sky assert their dominance and Geraint Thomas races away on the mountain top finish to grab yellow.
Switchbacks galore. A Steven Kruijswijk 100km solo attack of pure grinta. A four-way GC sprint ends with Geraint Thomas showing them all how to ride a corner to claim the Alpe d’Huez scalp. The famous climb also showed it’s uglier side with Vincenzo Nibali crashing to the tarmac in a melee of fans.
Any sprinters who made it through the Alps grabbed chance to strut their stuff in Valence. BMC’s Michael Schar and Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) tried their best to spoil the party, but no one could stop Peter Sagan from claiming his hat trick.
There was a lot of excitement for this finish at Mende and the fans were not disappointed. Kudos to Jasper Stuyven for his solo effort, but Omar Fraile‘s victory came with a serving of pain and agony followed by the biggest smile in the peloton at the finish. Just brilliant.
A crafty double Viking raid on the roads to Carcassone ended with back-to-back Astana wins as Magnus Cort punched the air in victory on his Tour de France debut. Unfortunately fists also came into play within the first kilometre as Gianni Moscon was thrown out of the Tour for punching Fortuneo-Samsic’s Elie Gesbert.
What a race the women’s peloton gave us (it’s part of our Stage 10 review). Breathless with excitement at the finish as Annemiek Van Vleuten stalks down Anna Van Der Breggan in the closing metres. I defy you not to yell when you watch this.
I cried at John Degenkolb’s post stage 9 interview. THis will have you reaching for the tissues again. So passionate. THIS is what it means!
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Header Image: Chris Graythen/Getty Images