05/07/15 - 11:50
Finished
Utrecht - Neeltje Jans
0km
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Tour de France • Stage2
avant-match

Utrecht - Neeltje Jans

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166km

Thanks for joining us today. Monday's stage is 159.5km from Anvers to Huy that starts off fairly flat before kicking in with a few small ascents to stretch the legs a little. What are the odds on one of the big guns attacking? Pretty short after today's action!

166km

Fabian Cancellara also snuck past Cav in the last few metres to grab third and take the yellow jersey from Australian Rohan Dennis in what was a tremendously exciting second half of the stage. Nibali and Quintana will be fuming tonight, no two ways about it. Expect both to attack hard in the early mountain stages if the gap stays the same the next few days.

166km

Andre Greipel takes advantage of Mark Cavendish's premature surge in the home straight to fend off Peter Sagan and claim the second stage. Chapeau!

160km

Just about sums up Nibali's day...

157km

One minute and 22 seconds now from the leading group to Dennis' yellow jersey. Don't go anywhere as this will be a cracker of a finish.

156km

This is shaping up to be a box-office finish with the yellow jersey contenders anxious to make their mark and the sprinters keen on capturing that first stage win of 2015!

151km

Pushing the boundaries of the rules?

150km

Tinkoff-Saxo sprinter Sagan punctures too and he will need to expend a huge amount of energy to try and get back into that lead group now.

140km

Nibali punctures! Just when he thought his day couldn't get any worse.

139km

You could say that, Robbie!

134km

Former winner Chris Froome has fellow Team Skyers Ian Stannard and Geraint Thomas in the front group now to help him with Alberto Contador ably assisted too by experienced team-mates. Peter Sagan, Cav and Andre Greipel are also in the 26 riders at the head of the field poised for the expected bunch sprint at the end.

130km

Nibali getting angry with the riders around him as he seeks to bridge the gap to his GC rivals. Who'd have thought this stage would be so influential in the race when the schedule was released initially? Bonkers.

127km

Genuine chance we could see the GC contenders split asunder here today as the likes of Froome and Contador look set on putting distance between themselves and their main rivals Nibali and Quintana at the front of the peloton. Riveting racing!

124km

Think Team Sky are excited?

122km

Rohan Dennis' time in yellow could be very short indeed as BMC Racing have left him to try and protect team leader Tejay van Garderen, who has a real shot at the GC title this year.

120km

Sprinter Nacer Bouhanni crashes on the slick roads with reigning champion Vincenzo Nibali just about steering clear of the prostrate riders. Close shave for the Italian.

112km

It is absolutely tipping it down. The riders are cranking out the kilometres with their heads largely down to try and avoid the wind and rain lashing their faces. I'd like to say it is going to get better for their sake, however it looks like it could be even worse in Zeeland.

106km

Wilco Kelderman has crashed again. Sometimes it's just not your day. He gets back on and labours off again. Up front the GC contenders have decided to take matters into their own hands as the peloton start second guessing each other's tactics in the rain and wind.

100km

We've got it all covered here at Eurosport as the peloton approach the last 66kms.

98km

Calm before the storm it seems as the peloton settles down in pursuit of the small group ahead. Barta, Clement and Fonseca do not want to give it up quite yet with Rohan Dennis and his BMC team anxious to keep the Aussie in yellow for another day.

94km

Peta worried about hubby Cav. Quite right if it continues to be stormy in Zeeland!

92km

Lotto Soudal's Jens Debusschere has crashed and doesn't look in the greatest of nick, however he bravely gets back on and pursues the back of the peloton.

90km

There has been a crash involving several riders. Geraint Thomas was one of them for Team Sky, however he appears to be back on his bike along with the others. Phew.

85km

Robbie backs up Ashley and then some!

84km

Eurosport presenter Ashley tells it like it is...

82km

Fifth place and 11 green jersey points was the prize on offer for the sprinters with German John Degenkolb beating birthday boy Kristoff, Sagan and Manx Missile Cavendish to the line. Bouhanni, Coquard and Greipel came in next to score too.

81km

Barta has taken the big points on offer at the first intermediate sprint of the Tour in Rotterdam after breaking off the group to go solo with the remaining three just ahead of the top sprinters and chasing peloton. Chance missed for Cav, Sagan et al there.

75km

Good point. Let's hope the riders manage to stay upright later, though...

74km

The riders are now in the outskirts of Rotterdam and sure to catch the leading quartet before the sprinters line up to battle for the first green jersey points on offer this Tour.

67km

Ian Stannard is exactly the type of guy you want dictating the pace today...

66km

Echelon is the word of the day at Le Tour this afternoon as the domestiques scramble desperately to try and shield their team leaders from the headwind and crosswinds that are set to cause havoc later on towards the coastal finish. Stay tuned on Eurosport!

63km

Peloton has been split by the phenomenal pace that Team Sky et al have started at the front with the gap to the front four now down to under a minute. It could well be that we have the majority of the field together for the intermediate sprint in Rotterdam.

58km

Both Team Sky and Tinkoff-Saxo have moved to the front of the peloton to try and safeguard their GC contenders in Froome and Contador respectively. Word must have got round about the dicey weather at the finish, so do not expect any of the yellow jersey pre-race favourites to take any chances dealing with the tricky roundabouts and gales.

54km

Something tells me the finish will be far from simple...

48km

Rain has started to fall on the peloton as the skies start to look apocalyptic. Safe to say that the heatwave which has spread across Europe is coming to a dramatic end today!

46km

Uh oh...

42km

Fabian Cancellara and Tyler Farrar both experience mechanical trouble, however with the speed that the peloton is currently going they will not be too hard pressed to bridge the gap back to the rest. Equivalent of a gentle Sunday stroll for the riders so far!

39km

Group of four now have nearly three minutes on the field. Nevertheless, as we've seen time and again down the years, the peloton can time these chases to perfection with a few kilometres left to spare to get the sprint train bang in order for the finish line.

37km

There were a few amusing moments in Utrecht yesterday including a rider who had to time trial without handlebars and Dutch fans in colourful or downright strange attire!

26km

Mark Cavendish is not as confident of multiple stage wins this year than Tours past. The Etixx-Quickstep sprinter has had to watch Marcel Kittel assume his mantle as top dog recently however, with the German out injured, he can look to mix it with Kristoff, Sagan, Greipel, Degenkolb, Bouhanni, Coquard and Matthews before the mountains hit.

22km

No surprise to see Rohan Dennis' BMC Racing team putting Swiss champion Danilo Wyss at the front of the peloton in an effort to keep the break at a manageable distance. Etixx-Quickstep are the main movers, though, with five riders joining him at the front.

18km

Stef Clement is the wisest Tour rider of the four, who have now opened up a lead of over two minutes on the field. He has made four previous Tour de France appearances with Quemeneur and Fonseca on their third and Barta his second.

12km

Not looking good at the finish in Zeeland as the clouds are darkening. Menace looms!

11km

Perrig Quemeneur (Europcar) is the fourth rider in the group not Nauleau with the break building up a healthy lead of one minute 20 seconds thus far.

12:54

First break of the day involves Bryan Nauleau (Europcar), Jan Barta (Bora), Stef Clement (IAM) and Armindo Fonseca (Bretagne-Séché). Peloton happy to let them go for now.

12:21

Long line of singers along the water in Utrecht warbling away as the riders amble past at the slowest speed possible. Incredible scenes. Brightly coloured clothes as you would expect from the Dutch who will grace the mountain stages later in the Tour with the usual sea of orange. They love their cycling, no two ways about it!

12:16

Peloton is rolling away from Utrecht now after Saturday's thrilling victory for Dennis when crowds were 10 deep at times around the short, tight time trial course.

Lots of waving and chatting between the riders who have one intermediate sprint halfway in Rotterdam before they move towards the coast and expected bunch sprint finish.

12:09

Welcome to the second day of the 2015 Tour de France, cycling fans.

How many people predicted that Rohan Dennis would fend off Martin, Cancellara and Dumoulin yesterday? Not many, I'm guessing. Today's 166km Stage 2 from Utrecht to Zeeland could well spring another surprise if the mixed weather forecast puts the cat amongst the peloton pigeons. Sprint king Alexander Kristoff turns 28 today, so there is extra motivation for the Norwegian to power home from Cav, Sagan and the like.