One of the hands-down favourites for the stage and the next maillot jaune in Stage 2 of the 2020 Tour de France was Julian Alaphilippe. The finish suited him, the yellow jersey was on the shoulders of a sprinter so it was up for grabs, who could bet against him? But being the favourite means being watched and being watched means you have to pick your moment to pounce and hope you catch people by surprise. Because being the favourite to win in no way guarantees that you will win …
… except if you’re Julian Alaphilippe. Jumping with 13km to go, bringing Marc Hirschi (Sunweb) and Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) with him, they worked together to create a decent 20sec gap and it was all down to the sprint for the line. The French darling might look like he’s wearing his heart on his sleeve as he rides, but he is cool and calculating, letting the peloton get within spitting distance of the trio before launching himself with 200m to go, with only Hirschi able to make a contest out of it. Raising his hand to the sky in honour of his father, who passed away in late June, Alaphilippe once again brought the Tour to life and takes yellow into Stage 3.
Let us sing a song of Julian
A new man in white
Marc Hirschi from Sunweb looked like he only needed about 10m more and he would have taken the stage, so the disappointment must have been palpable for the young rider. But he helped make the last 10km of the stage an absolute rip-roarer – and we will certainly be seeing him win stages – if not in this Tour, in ones to come. He also moves into the white jersey for Best Young Rider.
Adam Yates said knew he couldn’t beat Alaphilippe in a sprint. Shame he dismissed Hirschi with a ‘That Hirschi or whatever his name is’ in the post-stage interview because, hey, Yates couldn’t beat him in a sprint either!
Meanwhile … back in the peloton
Alexander Kristoff was decked out in yellow from top to toe, including yellow shorts. I get it – he’s thrilled to be in yellow! But let’s face it – bike shorts are skin tight and anything other than a dark colour (preferably black) just highlights, well, everything going on in the KuKu Penthouse. So, let’s stick with the dark bibs with the yellow jersey, can we guys?
While we might not be able to unsee those yellow shorts, I’ll try to leave you with a more pleasing mental image.
Stage 2 Top 5
1 Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep) 4:55:27
2 Marc Hirschi (Sunweb) same time
3 Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) +0:01
4 Greg Avermaet (CCC Team) +0:02
5 Sergio Higuita (EF Pro Cycling) same time
GC Top 10Embed from Getty Images
1 Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep) 8:41:35
2 Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) +0:04
3 Marc Hirschi (Team Sunweb) +0:07
4 Sergio Higuita (EF Pro Cycling) +0:17
5 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) same time
6 Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) s/t
7 Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates s/t
8 Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) s/t
9 Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) s/t
10 Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) s/t
All the jerseys
Leader’s jersey Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep)
Points jersey Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates)
King of the Mountains Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R la Mondiale)
Best Young Rider Marc Hirschi (Sunweb)
Most Combativity of the Stage: Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R la Mondiale)
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Official race website: Le Tour
Header image: ©AFP/Stephane Mantel GETTY IMAGES