Here's what got us talking on stage two of the 2016 Tour de France

Sagan gets his stage win

Peter Sagan wins stage 2 of the 2016 Tour de France from Julian Alaphilippe. Photo: Graham Watson

Peter Sagan wins stage 2 of the 2016 Tour de France from Julian Alaphilippe. Photo: Graham Watson

It has become a running joke that Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) always finishes second. In fact, he has shown remarkable consistency with his number of top five stage finishes at the Tour de France plus the green jersey in the last four editions, but he hadn’t crossed the line first since 2013.

That drought has now ended as Sagan took the win on stage two, out powering the likes of Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) to take line honours.

The stage win and the accompanying 10 second time bonus also put Sagan into the yellow jersey for the first time in his career.

He is the first world champion to wear the yellow jersey since Thor Hushovd in 2011, and the first to win a stage wearing the rainbow stripes since Mark Cavendish in 2012.

Froome stays out of trouble

Froome (third wheel) is protected by his teammates. Photo: Graham Watson

Froome (third wheel) is protected by his teammates. Photo: Graham Watson

While some of his rivals were suffering bad luck and time losses, Chris Froome (Team Sky) was safely shepherded by teammates Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard and Geraint Thomas to ensure he stayed out of trouble.

There was some shoulder barging at the foot of the final climb but Froome held his own and stuck with the accelerations of those chasing the stage win.

The defending champion will need to stay attentive to avoid any mishaps, and could also find himself in the frame for an early stage win if he maintains an advantageous position on stages with technical, uphill finishes.


Watch: Tour de France 2016 stage two highlights


Contador loses time

Alberto Contador dropping time on stage two of the 2016 Tour de France. Photo: Graham Watson

Alberto Contador dropping time on stage two of the 2016 Tour de France. Photo: Graham Watson

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) hit the deck hard on stage one and needed to be patched up on the move.

He went down again in the early part of stage two but this time seemed to come away fairly unscathed.

However, it seems that crashing two days in a row has taken its toll as the GC contender and expected podium finisher came in 48 seconds down on the stage.

His facial expression as he crossed the line betrayed just how he felt about the early time loss. Although a bad start by anyone’s standards, the final mountain stages could see huge time differences so the former winner’s chances aren’t over just yet.

Porte suffers slow wheel change

Richie Porte riding in on a neutral service rear wheel. Photo: Graham Watson

Richie Porte riding in on a neutral service rear wheel. Photo: Graham Watson

Richie Porte (BMC Racing) fell victim to a poorly timed puncture, but that was just the start of his problems.

In what was painful enough to watch, let alone be part of, Porte had to stand for what must have felt like an eternity as neutral service performed a particularly slow rear wheel change.

His own car was likely to be stuck further down the road behind the rapidly disintegrating peloton.

Porte’s bad luck may have seen off any debate over team orders at BMC Racing as he dropped time early but teammate Tejay van Garderen stayed out of trouble and safely in contention.

The race really came to life in the final 10km

Jasper Stuyven escapes on stage 2 of the 2016 Tour de France

Jasper Stuyven escapes on stage two of the 2016 Tour de France

Stage one had been seen as boring by some, and certainly did follow a pretty common formula when it comes to Grand Tour sprint stages.

Early on it looked like stage two may go the same way, but the technical and uphill nature of the closing kilometres always had the potential to shake things up, and that’s exactly what happened.

As the race reached the business end, Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) was still out the front on his own, Porte was considering walking to the finish line and the GC contenders were mixing it with the Classics men.

In the same view we had Sagan, Froome, Joaquim Rodriguez. All could have won the stage, but they’re all at the Tour de France with wildly different overall goals. A great final 10km to watch, and for some more than others it was a great final 10km to race.