Trying to work through the thousands of great tweets from the first three stages of this year’s Tour de France has been like trying to sort bikes and bodies after the whole peloton goes down. I’ve done my best, picking up bits here and there to make a snapshot of the weekend, but they’re definitely not in chronological order. So just think of it as you’re the mechanic trying to make sense of the parts you have in front of you! Let’s get going!
Stage 2 of Tour de France 2021 was thankfully less chaotic, albeit no less emotional, than the opening stage. After two enormous pile-ups on Stage 1, which regrettably finished four riders’ Tour before it started, there were sore bodies and perhaps nerves aplenty. Julian Alaphilippe started the day in the first maillot jaune of 2021, however the second and final ascent up the Mur-de0Bretagne saw him and other favourites out-Alaphilippe’d by maverick Mathieu van der Poel. A poignant point to the sky on the finish line and a moving post-race interview saw MvdP dedicating his first Tour stage win and his first ever yellow jersey to his late grandfather and Tour legend, Raymond Poulidor.
The first stage of Tour de France 2021 was brutal and bloody, with two massive crashes that, combined, pretty much had every cyclist on the ground at one point or another. A lead group of only 50 riders went into the final climb to contest the stage win, including stage favourites Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert as well as the world champion. As is his wont, Julian Alaphilippe put in a searing attack from nearly 2km out and a combination of everyone looking around, ‘no legs’ and the explosiveness of his acceleration meant that no one came close to catching him as he cruised in for an emotional win. But the aftermath of this stage is going to be felt for some time.