Belgium’s Jan Bakelants made a late solo attack to claim both the stage win and the overall lead in today’s second leg of the Tour de France between Bastia and Ajaccio in Corsica
The 28 year old Radioshack-Leopard rider crossed the line with a one second margin over Peter Sagan (Cannondale) at the front of the main bunch.
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With all riders having been given the same time after yesterday’s chaotic first stage into Bastia, it was enough to guarantee him the yellow jersey, one second ahead of Britain’s David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) in second overall.
Like a number of other sprinters including Mark Cavendish (Omega Phrma-Quickstep), overnight leader Marcel Kittel (Argos) was dropped on the triple whammy of climbs across the middle of the island: the Col de Bellagranajo, Col de la Serra and the 1,163m high Col de Vizzanova.
Despite a long downhill run to Ajaccio afterwards, his group’s deficit of six minutes over the top was too big to be closed up- especially with Sagan’s Cannondale team driving on the front in hope of winning a stage tailor made for him.
The final little blip of the Côte du Salario with 12km to go gave Chris Froome (Sky) an opportunity to show his legs over the top, but he was quickly reeled back in as the race commenced on the final 10km of flat road along the Golfe d’Ajaccio.
It was as Europcar’s Cyril Gauthier was brought back to the bunch after having led over the climb ahead of Froome, that the six rider move that Bakelandts would launch from moved clear.
As Millar’s Garmin team moved to the front of the bunch -in hope of securing yellow after his fourth place yesterday- and the rest of the leaders started to look at each other in the final two kilometres, Bakelants seized the moment and moved clear.
Into the final kilometre along the headland that juts out into the Med, his lead looked tenuous.
But while the rest of the group were swept up, he had just enough in the tank to hold on and secure his best result yet.
Tomorrow, the riders will tackle a spectacular 145km route along the coast from Ajaccio to Calvi. Full stage three preview here >>
Tour de France 2013, stage two: Bastia to Ajaccio, 154km
1. Jan Bakelants (Bel) Radioshack-Leopard in 3:43:11
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale at 1sec
3. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
4. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre
5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky
6. Julian Simon (Fra) Sojasun
7. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana
8. Daryl Impy (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge
9. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Radioshack
10. Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil all same time
35. Chris Froome (GBr) Sky at same time
Overall classification after stage two
1. Jan Bakelants (Bel) Radioshack-Leopard 8:40:03
2. David Millar (GBr) Garmin at 1sec
3. Julian Simon (Fra) Sojasun
4. Daryl Impy (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge
5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky
6. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
8. Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil
9. Christophe Riblon (Fra) Ag2r
10. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC all st
18. Chris Froome (GBr) Sky at same time
Most of the sprinters were dropped on the day’s main climb, including Mark Cavendish
Tony Martin started the stage despite yesterday’s crash injuries
Jan Bakelants is elated with taking the race lead
Tour de France 2013: Related links