German rider Marcel Kittel stole the show during Stage 1 of the 2014 Tour de France, but it was Italian champion Vincenzo Nibali who took home the victory on Stage 2’s trip from York to Sheffield in the United Kingdom.
This is the first time more than two stages of the Tour de France will take place in England, per Cycling News.
Nibali was riding with the pack with just a few kilometers left in the race when he made a solo charge toward the front and stunned the remaining riders. No one could stop his late charge, and the result was a dominant victory.
Nibali is the first reigning Italian champion to win a Tour de France stage since Salvatore Commesso in 1999. #tdf— Infostrada Sports (@InfostradaGold) July 6, 2014
Not only did Nibali win the segment, but he also now holds the Yellow Jersey.
#BREAKING Nibali wins Tour de France second stage, takes yellow jersey— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) July 6, 2014
Sunday’s action was filled with intense racing through the first hill stage of the event, and Greg van Avermaet managed to finish second. Another stellar run for Michal Kwiatkowski resulted in a third-place finish, and Peter Sagan was fourth. Tony Gallopin rounded out the top five.
Here are the Stage 2 results:
|2||Greg Van Avermaet||Belgium||BMC Racing||+2 seconds|
|3||Michal Kwiatkowski||Poland||Omega||Same Time|
|4||Peter Sagan||Slovakia||Cannondale||Same Time|
|5||Tony Gallopin||France||Lotto||Same Time|
|6||Michael Albasini||Switzerland||Greenedge||Same Time|
|7||Andrew Talansky||USA||Garmin||Same Time|
|8||Bauke Mollema||Netherlands||Belkin||Same Time|
|9||Tejay Van Garderen||USA||BMC Racing||Same Time|
|10||Romain Bardet||France||AG2R La Mondiale||Same Time|
Stage 2 was one of the most anticipated portions of the 2014 race and it lived up to the expectations.
With nine separate climbs and the steepest grade in the entire event (33 degrees), this deceptively tricky stretch mixes speed and power to showcase what the sport is all about.
Before the racing even began, one of the top racers Mark Cavendish was questionable following a crash during Stage 1. Unfortunately for race fans, the former points classification champion was unable to continue.
Cavendish told Sean Ingle of The Guardian about his health status after Stage 1 and how devastating it was to be forced to drop out of the annual event:
I was in pain last night. I held a bit of optimism that it was maybe just swelling and would go down overnight, but it’s actually worse this morning. It’s not possible to start from a medical point of view.
I’m absolutely devastated about it. One, the Tour de France is here in the UK for another two days and secondly, we’ve got an incredible team here with Omega Pharma-QuickStep. The team will continue to ride incredible for the next 20 days and I’d have loved to be part of the success.
Avermaet’s second-place finish and Kwiatkowski third-place finish proved they are serious contenders, but they are far from alone.
Add in Green and White Jersey holder Peter Sagan and the always-tough defending champion Chris Froome, and the competition this year will be incredible if Sunday’s action is any indication of what’s to come.
|2||Peter Sagan||Cannondale||2 seconds|
|3||Greg Van Avermaet||BMC Racing||Same Time|
|4||Michael Albasini||GreenEdge||Same Time|
|5||Chris Froome||Team Sky||Same Time|
|6||Bauke Mollema||Belkin||Same Time|
|7||Jurgen Van den Broeck||Lotto||Same Time|
|8||Alberto Contador||Tinkoff - Saxo||Same Time|
|9||Tejay van Garderen||BMC Racing||Same Time|
|10||Jakob Fuglsang||Astana||Same Time|
Source: Sky Sports
With several big names sitting in wait for the mountain stages—do not forget Alberto Contador lurking in the wings—the competition in England is setting the stage for an exciting race when the cyclists return to France.
|4||Greg Van Avermaet||BMC Racing||31|
Source: Sky Sports
After two stages have now been completed, the focus for cycling fans has shifted to Stage 3 and the trip from Cambridge to London in the United Kingdom. The 96-mile flat stage will be a great chance for the sprinters in the field to build a lead before the mountain stages later in the event.
|2||Blel Kadri||La Mondiale||5|
Source: Sky Sports
The crowds will be rowdy as the English and international fans line the route in the last stage before the riders travel back to France.
The tour will travel through heavily populated areas of England and there should be a genuine buzz surrounding the race, making the event a must-watch stage for cycling fans.
Stats via LeTour.com.