The second stage of the 2022 Tour de France hit the open roads and bridges of Denmark. Much chaos was predicted, but the racing was quite straightforward, though marred by a number of nervous crashes. QuickStep Alpha Vinyl’s Fabio Jakobsen took a feel-good sprint win, while Jumbo Visma’s Wout van Aert came second on the stage, enough to bag him the leader’s yellow jersey.
How it went down
Oh, Denmark, you tried. You served up some potential peril at the start of this race. Yesterday, you treated the riders to a soggy and sinuous time trial course and today coastal roads, crosswinds and the biggest bridge known to (Danish) mankind was on offer. We should know better by now, shouldn’t we? The more a stage is hyped up to have epic potential, the more likely it is to be… well… a bit dull. The crosswinds didn’t cross hard enough, the bridge looked great but didn’t provide decisive action. It all came down to a fairly bog-standard sprint finish.
Things that did happen
There’s no sport like cycling for paying tribute to its own. It’s been less than a year since Chris Anker Sorensen was killed after being hit by a van while riding his bike
If we fans were feeling the excitement of the hype, the riders were feeling nervy. The GC teams stayed alert all stage long, everyone had their own piece of the road and they wanted to keep it. Even if that means giving T-Pog a shove.
As the Great Belt Bridge approached, the tension rose and we started to see crashes. Rigoberto Uran (EF) came down on the run-in to the bridge, and he had to chase like the almighty for nearly half the bridge span to get back to the peloton.
Buit we didn’t turn on to see crashes, do we? We wanted to see the winds rip the race apart! Fans were hoping for echelons, the kind of echelons that have your favourite riders at the front, and your least favourite riders forlornly chasing at the back. That’s what we wanted.
Sadly, the bridge didn’t deliver. Yellow jersey wearer Yves Lampaert (QuickStep) came down with several others as the race hit the bridge and then… nothing. Eighteen kilometres of straightness. It looked pretty alright, but damn it, we’d been sold so much more.
💥A crash in the peloton has seen the Yellow Jersey down! He's back off again!
Once off the bridge, a HUGE crash took out a whole stack of riders and blocked the road for half the peloton. That led to a final sprint contested by a smaller group, but one stacked full of potential winners.
A big crash here, and it looks like 🇸🇮@tamaupogi is involved!
At the time of writing, there are no reports of serious injuries from this crash but it’s bound to take a toll on some.
Anyway, back to the flamme rouge…
Yves Lampaert was back! After a mighty chase to catch the peloton over the bridge, he was in position to help QuickStep lead out Fabio Jakoben. Also present: Wout van Aert, Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), Peter Sagan! (TotalEnergies), Danny van Poppel (Bora-hansgrohe) and Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck). Any of those guys is capable of winning a stage like this but it was Mads Pedersen from Trek who made the running, powering clear of the pack in the closing metres.
You have to get up early to catch out Wout, though. He was alive to that move, closing the gap quickly and coming around the Dane. My eyes feasted on a meaty Classics-style tussle, a battle of wills as much as a battle of power. Whichever of these two took the stage would be a worthy winner.
And then, to their right, the flighty Fabio Jakobsen sailed on past – all pointed sprinter power compared to Mads’ and Wout’s brawn. His judgement was perfect and he was easily clear as he crossed the line. Considering two years ago, he was fighting for his life after a horrific crash in the Tour of Poland, this was an emotional win for team and fans alike.
🤩 The feeling when you win your first stage on the Tour de France.