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Tour de France stage two LIVE: Perros-Guirec to Mûr-de-Bretagne

Live updates as the peloton faces a second test on the climbs of Brittany

Welcome to live coverage of stage two of the Tour de France, a 183.5km route from Perros-Guirec to a tough uphill finish to Mûr-de-Bretagne. 

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Tour de France 2021 route
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Tour de France 2021 jerseys explained

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If you thought stage one of the Tour de France yesterday was hectic, imagine how the riders feel. The good news for us is they have a very similar parcours to face today on stage two, the bad news for them is they have a very similar parcours to face today on stage two.

It all kicks off by the sea in Perros-Guirec before heading to the steep finishing climb of the Mûr de Bretagne 183.5km later.

The race kicks off at 13.10 local time (12.10 UK time), and should finish between 17.30 and 17.55 local time (16.30 and 16.55 UK time).

Here's today's profile. As you can see it's another lumpy day with six categorised climbs on fairly twisty roads in the Brittany countryside. The key points of today''s stage are of course the two ascents of the Mûr de Bretagne. 

The first comes around 15km from the finish, the second is the finish. Will anyone go early on the attack on the first ascent?

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And let's be honest, who can look past this fella again today?

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Julian Alaphilippe soared into yellow again with a daring attack over 2km from the finish on stage one's final climb, and the Mûr de Bretagne will suit the world champion's attributes too.

Mathieu van der Poel will hope to give it another go today after starting way too far back yesterday, while Wout van Aert may also hope for a better result after not following Alaphilippe's move.

Of course you can't discount Primož Roglič either. The Jumbo-Visma man rode into third place behind Michael Matthews yesterday and took an early advantage in the GC race on just day one thanks to the bonus seconds.

You can read more about that here.

This the fourth time the Tour has finished on the Mûr de Bretagne; Cadel Evans won in 2011, Alexis Vuillermoz in 2015, and of course Dan Martin - who is at this Tour - won in 2018.

Let's not forget that yesterday was a brutal day for the peloton, mainly due to the two huge crashes.

With so many riders on the ground and injuries, it's astonishing that so far we only have four riders confirmed out:

Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Team DSM
Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Groupama-FDJ
Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis
Marc Soler (Esp) Movistar

Four-time winner Chris Froome, who went down hard yesterday, has confirmed he will start today, which is great news considering the efforts it's taken him to just reach the Tour.

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Marc Hirschi was another one who crashed yesterday, but it appears the Swiss will start stage two on his debut Tour for UAE Team Emirates.

The team posted earlier that Hirschi will 'try' to start after suffering pain in his shoulder.

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Full story on Chris Froome here:

Chris Froome passed fit to start stage two of Tour de France after evening in hospital

Hear from the man himself here

Deceuninck-Quick-Step have shown off their yellow customisations for Alaphilippe on stage two, with some subtle touches to the Frenchman's Specialized Tarmac.

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We're around 40 minutes from the neutral start of today's stage.

Who will win? Vote in our Twitter poll:

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Away from the race itself, EF-Nippo's Lachlan Morton is taking on the challenge of riding the entire route of the Tour and beating the peloton to Paris.

Not only will he be riding the stages, but the Aussie will ride the transfers as well, and won't take any rest days, covering well over 5,000km over the next three weeks.

More on that here: Lachlan Morton sets off on solo Tour de France, aiming to beat peloton to Paris

A reminder of the general classification heading into stage two. Alaphilippe leads by 12 seconds, but 14 seconds over one of today's contenders, Roglič.

1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, in 4-39-05
2. Michael Matthews (Aus) Team BikeExchange, at 12 seconds
3. Primož Roglič (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma, at 14s
4. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious, at 18s
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
7. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
8. Sergio Higuita (Col) EF Education-Nippo
9. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
10. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, all same time

Just a couple of minutes from the neutral start in Perros-Guirec

It's so good to see fans at the roadside again

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The riders are off from the start, they'll cover 5.5km of neutral zone before racing begins

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Michael Matthews rides in green today, the Australian is second in that classification after finishing behind Alaphilippe yesterday. Ide Schelling wears the polka-dot jersey thanks to his day in the break yesterday, and of course Tadej Pogačar is in white of best young rider.

It's all looking pretty even so far in our Twitter poll!

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We're about to get underway with the proper racing on stage two

Christian Prudhomme waves his flag from the car and there's attacks straight away with Schelling pushing on in the polka dots

It's all together with a fast looking start thanks to some downhill and a cross-tailwind 

Attacks still coming as the riders fly along at 65kmh in opening few kilometres, but nothing has stuck yet

There's an early mechanical issue for Miguel Angel Lopez. The Colombian is back on a spare bike after a quick change, but he'll need to chase back on to a fast moving peloton

It's still all together with 176km to go - Ide Schelling is desperate to get in the break and take some more mountains points 

There's quite a big group just off the front but Movistar are working to peg them back having missed it

It's all together again though, with the likes of Cofidis, Qhubeka-NextHash, and Intermarche the most active teams trying to form a break

With 172.6km to go we have two riders with a small break, one from Cofidis and one from Intermarche, but Trek are now trying to get across

Miguel Angel Lopez is still trying to chase on after that mechanical but has a team-mate to help bring him up to the rear of the peloton

There's four men now at the front with Edward Theuns and Simon Clarke getting across

Ide Schelling yet again launches an attack from the peloton to make the break, which is now 20 seconds up the road

169km to go we have Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Jonas Koch (Intermarche), Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) and Simon Clarke (Qhubeka-NextHash) with a 17 second advantage

Schelling has just failed to make it to the break, but doesn't sit in the peloton for long as he tries go clear again to defend his mountains jersey

That gap to the four is at just 11 now and Schelling is still trying to make it across

The four leaders have a narrow gap now with 165.5km to go, with Schelling and a TotalEnergies rider bridging across after a lot of effort

The six up front look to be the breakaway as the peloton settles down and the gap grows out to 40 seconds very quickly

162.5km to go. These are the riders in the breakaway:

Anthony Perez (Cofidis)
Jonas Koch (Intermarche)
Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo)
Simon Clarke (Qhubeka-NextHash)
Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe)
Jeremy Cabot (TotalEnergies)

They have a gap of around 1-20

The break has definitely settled and the peloton are content. Their gap has increased to 3:20 with 155km to go. The quiet hour in the Tour de France has begun.

147km to go. With the day's rhythm set, it may be the time to eat lunch or get out for your own quick ride, but the peloton haven't completely sat up. They're working hard to keep the gap between them and the break to a maximum of four minutes. They won't be allowed much more.

Here comes the rain. It's been forecast and it's arrived. Nothing too strong yet, but the 180 riders who took to the start-line will not be wanting the weather to cause any disruption today, especially with so many riding to survive. 

One thing to keep an eye on today will be the condition of the riders who were felled yesterday. The likes of Chris Froome and Marc Hirschi will be subject of interest, but it's worth passing a distant observation on the entire Jumbo-Visma team who fell during the first stage. Usually a battered and bruised body starts to feel better within a few days, and any GC riders who have got some discomfort from yesterday, will be desperately hoping that those pains are alleviated before Wednesday's time trial.

We're not sure what Julian Alaphilippe's take on fashion is, but we're certain that he looks good in yellow. 

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Respect the race. That's the message from riders and race organisers, ASO, ahead of today's stage. Following yesterday's crash that was caused by a fan holding a sign in the path of the peloton, expect to see more of this in the coming days. 

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There's 131km left to race and the break of six have an advantage of 3:41. The day's first climb, Côte de Sainte-Barbe, comes within 20km. Ide Schelling of Bora-hansgrohe is wearing the King of the Mountains jersey and is in the break. 

There are six climbs with King of the Mountains points on offer today, with the final two being the Mûr-de-Bretagne. There is only one intermediate sprint, which comes 12km after the first KOM. 

Ritchie Porte and Tao Geoghegan Hart both suffered time losses yesterday, with the latter's hopes of a tilt at the GC almost certainly over having finished five minutes down. Interestingly, Ineos Grenadiers are up at the head of the peloton today, clearly not wanting to be caught behind any more potential crashes.

117km to go: Tim Declerq still leads the peloton with an Ineos train just behind. The gap to the break is at 3-22 but the peloton is in full control here

Meanwhile, our reporter Jonny Long spoke to Deceuninck-Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere on the ground in Brittany this morning. The Belgian still seemed scathing of Sam Bennett who withdrew from the Tour squad with injury:

Patrick Lefevere: Sam Bennett Tour de France absence 'says more about him than about me'

We're not far from our first category four climb, the Côte de Sainte-Barbe. Polka-dot jersey wearer Ide Schelling will no doubt go for the points, as will Anthony Perez in the break, who has two points in the classification, just one behind Schelling.

There's only one point available at the top of this climb, but with only small points available today the polka-dot jersey wearer for stage three will be decided on fine margins

As expected it was Perez and Schelling who went for the KoM point first, with Perez leading from the front and taking the single point. Edward Theuns finished second ahead of Schelling, but gets nothing for his efforts

KoM points standings:

Ide Schelling: 3 pts
Anthony Perez: 3 pts
Julian Alaphillipe: 2pts

It's 30km until the next climb, another category four. The break still hols a lead of 2-40

Here's that KoM point. Perez gets the best of Schilling and Theuns with a huge move from the front.

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Inside the final 100km and there's little change for now, we still have our six breakaway riders at 2-25 ahead of the peloton.

A reminder of our breakaway:

Anthony Perez (Cofidis)
Jonas Koch (Intermarche)
Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo)
Simon Clarke (Qhubeka-NextHash)
Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe)
Jeremy Cabot (TotalEnergies)

We're at the intermediate sprint in Plouha and Edward Theuns beats Jonas Koch to the line after the Intermarche rider launches first

With six riders through the intermediate sprint there's still a maximum 9 points available for the peloton so we'll see a race by the sprinters

Groupama-FDJ take the front for Arnaud Demare but it's Caleb Ewan who goes for the sprint first, beating Mark Cavendish and Jasper Philipsen to the sprint point

That's nine points for Ewan and eight points for Cavendish in the green jersey fight

That increase in pace by the peloton towards the sprint has brought the gap down significantly, with the breakaway not at just 1-19

Here's the green jersey contenders going for the intermediate sprint:

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Result at the intermediate sprint in Plouha
1. Theuns, 20 pts
2. Koch, 17 pts
3. Cabot, 15 pts
4. Perez, 13 pts
5. Schelling, 11 pts
6. Clarke, 10 pts
7. Ewan, 9 pts
8. Cavendish, 8 pts
9. Philipsen, 7 pts
10. Morkov, 6 pts
11. Démare, 5 pts
12. Bouhanni, 4 pts
13. Sagan, 3 pts
14. Matthews, 2 pts
15. Coquard, 1 pt

That was a really decent sprint by Mark Cavendish to try and match Caleb Ewan. The Manxman looked happy with the efforts of his team-mate Michael Morkov who led him out to the intermediate sprint. Cavendish is former winner of the green jersey remember, taking the prestigious classification in 2011

Happy Cav

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So far today we've seen some light rain drops, but it's now really coming down in Brittany. It's still reasonably warm at 19 degrees, so we're yet to see many riders going back for rain jackets

The breakaway is 5km away from the Côte de Pordic, another category four climb where we'll see Perez, Schelling and Theuns undoubtedly fight for the next KoM point

Here come some rain jackets - Julian Alaphilippe, resplendent in yellow, is the first to reach for some protection from the elements with an organiser-provided yellow jacket 

There's a lull in the pace of the peloton following the feedzone, with the controlling teams not looking to bring back this break back just yet. The six leaders hold around 1-20 with 84km to go

Anthony Perez has gone exceptionally early here, 2km away from the summit of this second category four climb. Schelling and Koch are in pursuit

It's now Perez, Schelling and Koch up front with a handful of seconds over the next group. Perez leads the group ahead of the top of this climb

Schelling goes 300m from the line with Perez matching him. It was neck and neck to the line but Schelling manages to break the Cofidis man and take the invaluable point.

Current KoM standings:

Ide Schelling: 4 pts
Anthony Perez: 3 pts
Julian Alaphillipe: 2pts

The next climb, the Saint-Brieuc, comes in just over 10km time at 68.3km to go. It's another category four so we'll no doubt see Perez and Schelling battle it out once more

The six breakaway riders are back together with 1-29 over the peloton and 78.3km to go

With under 70km the breakaway has fallen apart, with Theuns now heading off solo ahead of the next categorised climb, just a kilometre long

Theuns' escape is bad news for Perez who is aiming to overthrow Schelling in the polka-dots, with next opportunities potentially to close to the finish to guarantee points

Simon Clarke appeared to hit the deck on the way down a descent ahead of this climb, but he is back with Perez and Schelling who appear to have given up their efforts for the day, with the peloton just over a minute behind

Theuns takes the single point across this category four climb

We now have three categorised climbs remaining: the Côte de Mûr-de-Bretagne, and Mûr-de-Bretagne twice. They come at 18.3km to go, 15.3km to go (with bonus seconds) and the finish.

Theuns has been joined by Cabot at the front of the race, at 1-41, with Schelling, Perez and Clarke now back in the bunch as Koch pursues the leaders between

It's still relatively calm in the peloton with 60km to go. That gives Philippe Gilbert a chance to go back the medical car for some treatment, potentially for his finger injury he suffered yesterday

There's a lot of people on this uncategorised rise. The peloton is all together and the riders are clearly nervous after yesterday's incident, with two UAE riders urging the crowd to step back towards the roadside 

Jonas Koch gave up his chase a little while back and returned to the pack, leaving Theuns and Cabot to it out front. That pair have extended their gap for now to 1-48

It's been a pacy old day today considering the ups and downs, with the break averaging 42.4kmh so far

Worth remembering the first passage of Mûr-de-Bretagne (at 15.3km to go) has bonus seconds of 8, 5, an 2 seconds available, so we could see the GC contenders hit out pretty early to try and take any advantage the can.

The breakaway is at 1-53 right now with 50km to go, so the pace will need to be increased soon to begin reeling our leaders in before then.

The gap to the peloton is coming down one little second at a time, with just over two minutes the difference with 46km left to race.

Britain have had three different Tour winners and six in total since the 2012 edition. But such success in the future is now less likely unless an amateur sportspersons visa is introduced, claims a letter signed by Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome. It's a big deal, this. And it won't be the last you hear about it.

Read our story on it here

It seems likely that the peloton will scoop up the two remaining riders before the first ascent of the Mûr-de-Bretagne, but they're in no rush to end Theuns' and Cabot's fun just yet. The gap is 1:43 with 42km to go.

I've just realised that Mr Potato looks in pain when he smiles

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Deceuninck - Quick Step remain at the head of the peloton, the position they've had pretty much since the race flag dropped. Will Alaphilippe make it two stage wins in a row?

With 35km to go, the break of two have 1:51 in advantage as the peloton takes its last moments of calm before the stress that will shortly commence. A reminder that just two of the original six from the breakaway remain out front: Edward Theuns and Jérémy Cabot.

All eyes will be on Alaphilippe, Roglič, Pogačar and other GC favourites, but the Spanish commentators that I am currently listening to quite fancy the chances of Alejandro Valverde today. The Movistar rider announced yesterday that he now plans on racing in 2022 at the age of 42.

Thirty-four kilometres separate the break of two from the finish line, and the pair's advantage to the peloton is 1:38. Expect to see the pace ramp up very shortly.

The first ascent of the Mûr-de-Bretagne is in less than nine kilometres, and one thing to note is the performance of Primož Roglič. He finished third yesterday and didn't seem to have any discomfort after hitting the ground in one of the day's big crashes, but injuries can become apparent later. 

The gap from the break to the peloton is now just 70 seconds with 29km remaining.

Into the final 21km and Theuns has gone solo from Cabot with 24 seconds over a nervous looking peloton

Theuns is onto the 1.7km Côte du Village de Mûr-de-Bretagne, but is being closed down rapidly by the bunch

The Belgian solo leader looks set to win the combativity prize today, but is unlikely to be able to do enough to take polka-dots from Schelling now

Alaphilippe is perfectly positioned on this climb at the front behind two team-mates. The yellow jersey looks up for this today. Can he take a second consecutive stage victory?

Chris Froome, who will be thankful he's still in the race, is dropped on this climb, as Edward Theuns takes the KoM point before returning to the bunch. 17.8km to go.

The riders hit the Mûr-de-Bretagne for the first time - bonus seconds at the top of this ascent

Here goes Van der Poel! 1.6km to the top

No one sets off in immediate pursuit of Van der Poel with 16.5km still to go and another ascent of this gruelling climb. Can he take this all the way to the finish?

Van der Poel currently has 15 seconds over the peloton and will take the maximum bonus seconds at the top of this climb. The bunch can see him though and won't want to let him get too far away

Van der Poel is brought back into the bunch over the top of the climb as Alaphilippe is among those to push on. Van der Poel takes the 8 second bonus with Pogacar taking 5 and Roglic taking 2

After the descent from the climb, Ineos lead the peloton with 12.8km to go

Alaphilippe took fourth over the top of the climb by the way, so has lost ground to Pog and Rog before the finish

There's a brief calm here before the final climb, with 11.9km to go and 9.7km to the foot of the climb

Ineos Grenadiers are in full control at the moment with seven riders at the front of the bunch

UAE Team Emirates are trying mass at the front as well now, trying to protect Pogacar. Alaphilippe is having to move up himself at the moment with not as many team-mates left to help him.

7km to go and we're all together still. The pace is being kept high by Ineos

This was the result of our Twitter poll on who will win. Van der Poel just sneaking ahead of Alaphilippe as your favourite

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Van der Poel's Alpecin-Fenix team are now on the front as the climb comes closer with 4.8km to go. Clearly the Dutchman isn't done yet

There's a real battle for the front now heading into the climb with DSM, Bahrain and Ineos all fighting for position into the final 3km

Ineos have won the battle for the front and Geraint Thomas is perfectly positioned into the bottom of the climb

We're onto the climb - who will go for the victory first?

Davide Formolo is out front with 1.5km still to go but doesn't looks to be getting anywhere

The Italian is pulled back with Richie Porte making the pace in the peloton

Attack from Nairo Quintana!

Quintana is pursued by Van der Poel, Pogacar and Roglic under the Flamme Rouge

Sonny Colbrelli goes long with Van der Poel, Pogacar and Roglic tracking again!

Counter attack by Van der Poel with 700m to go and no one can follow

Mathieu van der Poel is solo here, surely has enough to hold on with 300m to go

Mathieu van der Poel wins stage two of the 2021 Tour de France

Tadej Pogacar takes second behind Van der Poel to take six bonus seconds, with Roglic taking third place

Roglic and Pogacar also took bonus seconds on the first ascent of the climb so have made some decent gains today, particularly with Geraint Thomas caught in a split on the final climb

Mathieu van der Poel will also move into the overall lead thanks to the bonus seconds he took on the first and second ascents. Alaphilippe finished in the bunch behind but will cede yellow for stage three

Here's the stage results:

1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix, in 4-18-30
2. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, at 6 seconds
3. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, at same time
4. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 8s
5. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-Quick-Step
6. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
7. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma
8. Sergio Higuita (Col) EF Education First-Nippo
9. Pierre Latour (Fra) TotalEnergies
10. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious, all at same time

Here's the new GC:

1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix, in 8-57-25
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-Quick-Step, at 8 seconds
3. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, at 13s
4. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, at 14s
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 24s
6. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious, at 26s
7. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
8. Sergio Higuita (Col) EF Education First-Nippo
9. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma
10. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, all at same time

Geraint Thomas lost 17 seconds on the Mûr-de-Bretagne, plus the bonus seconds the two Slovenians took today. Richard Carapaz went better however, and is now 10 seconds ahead of his Ineos team-mate

What an exceptional performance from Mathieu van der Poel today. He went solo on the Mûr-de-Bretagne on the first ascent to take eight bonus seconds at the top, before then attacking in the final kilometre to take the stage win, more bonus seconds, and the yellow jersey with it.

It's a phenomenal achievement on just his second day of Grand Tour racing, and was in tears at the finish as he dedicated the win to his late grandfather, Raymond Poulidor.

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Here's our full report from another stunning day at the Tour de France:

Mathieu van der Poel wins stage two of Tour de France to take yellow

As well as the yellow jersey, Van der Poel also jointly leads the mountains classification with Ide Schelling thanks to his two ascents of the Mûr-de-Bretagne. Julian Alaphilippe holds on to green, with Tadej Pogacar still in white.

Tour de France standings: The latest results from the French Grand Tour

Another piece of good news from today's stage is that all riders have finished, including those injured in crashes yesterday.

Chris Froome finished 11-21 down, while Marc Hirschi survived to finish at 9-06.

Here's the post-stage interview from Van der Poel

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"I'm quite speechless that it worked out, you can dream of a scenario like this but to have it happen is unbelievable."

Read reaction from stage winner and new yellow jersey Mathieu van der Poel here

And finally, here are the all important talking points from today's Tour stage:

Five talking points from stage two of the Tour de France 2021

Thank you for joining us today, we'll be back with more live coverage tomorrow on stage three, which should be one for the sprinters.