Sunday 08 July 2018 - 19:11

Tour de France: Pile-up costs Gaviria yellow

Tour de France: Pile-up costs Gaviria yellow

Our rider was caught behind a crash with two kilometers to go and didn't get the chance to defend his jersey.

Stage 2 of the Tour de France was again an eventful one, as the peloton left behind Mouilleron-Saint-Germain for a flat 182.5km-long trek to La Roche-sur-Yon, a town located in the heart of the Vendée department and last visited in the '30s, when it was the start venue of the first ever individual time trial in the Grand Boucle.

Tim "El Tractor" Declercq slotted again into his role of breakaway killer minutes after Sylvain Chavanel (Direct-Energie), Michael Gogl (Trek-Segafredo) and Dion Smith (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) slipped away into a move which gained only three minutes by the time they arrived at the top of the day's sole classified climb. Smith took the only point on offer, and soon after, both he and Gogl slowed down, leaving Chavanel in the lead, whose four-minute advantage was steadily pegged back by Declercq and Ronde van Vlaanderen champion Niki Terpstra, who pulled back the Frenchman after passing through the second intermediate sprint, where Philippe Gilbert bagged two bonus seconds.

Once again, Quick-Step Floors did a perfect job in bringing Gaviria to the front of the bunch and thinning out the pack with their brutal pace, but bad luck prevented the 23-year-old from fighting for another win, after being held behind a crash which took place in a tight right-hander. In the hectic finale that unfolded and was won by Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe), it became impossible for the team to regroup, so all we could take out of this stage was Gilbert's tenth place on the uphill stretch to the finish.

The incident resulted in Fernando losing the lead in both the overall and points classification, but he still found reasons to smile, as he retained the prestigious white jersey, awarded to the best young rider in the race, while Quick-Step Floors continue to top the team standings, a result which means our squad will be among the last to start Monday's 35km TTT in Cholet.

"Getting to spend even one day in the beautiful yellow was a fantastic and overwhelming experience which made me very happy. We would have liked to keep the jersey, but things are as they are and fortunately we escaped that crash-marred finale without any injuries. I am disappointed for not having the chance to sprint, but I still have the white jersey and will now go to the hotel together with my teammates and get a good rest before the team time trial. We know it will be a difficult test, the TTT always is, but we are really confident and hope to produce a good result", explained Fernando after Sunday's stage.


Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images