08/07/18 - 12:20
Mouilleron-Saint-Germain - La Roche-sur-Yon
Tour de France • Stage2

Mouilleron-Saint-Germain - La Roche-sur-Yon

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Thanks for joining us today - feast our eyes on Sagan's victory, and we'll see you tomorrow for the TTT in Cholet.


Confirmation of the result today.


What a win by Sagan who picks up his ninth win on the Tour and keeps going a quite sensational run.


Gaviria wasn't hurt by that fall and managed to finish in a chasing group - but he'll lose the yellow jersey to Sagan because of those bonus seconds. Sagan should also leapfrog the Colombian in the green jersey standings too.


That was yet another electrifying finale - with so many crashes, punctures and race incidents. The peloton was blown apart by it all and the riders arrive in dribs and drabs in the wake of that ninth Tour stage win for Sagan, who should be in yellow now.


Demare went early on the slightly uphill rise to the line, Sagan reeled him in, Colbrelli countered... but Sagan held on to take the win ahead of the Italian, with the Frenchman settling for third.


Victory for Peter Sagan!


Last kilometre and we only have about 12 riders left. Griepel, Sagan, Demare, Alaphilippe, Kristoff all there...


Gaviria back on his bike but it will be too much to ask.


CRASH: Pile-up on a right-hander and the yellow jersey is involved, as is Matthews and Laporte.


Here come Greipel and Ktistoff - and Cavendish could be there. Sagan takes an elbow from Demare it seems. It's feisty and frantic.


Cofidis are there for Laporte and Groupama for Demare. No sign of Cavendish or Greipel for now.


Now Quick-Step Floors get their train together and on the front. Terpstra, Lampaert and Gilbert all there, with another back with Gaviria a few wheels back.


More roundabouts, twists and turns. It's a free-for-all on the front with a mix of GC teams and sprinters.


CRASH: Luke Durbridge goes down! The big Australian from Mitchelton-Scott manages to land on his feet after an initial bump - and he takes some time out on a verge to compose himself.


Demare must be well and truly back on because Groupama-FDJ are one of the sprint teams in the mix, as are Sagan's Bora-Hansgrohe. For now, Quick-Step Floors are a bit crowded out.


Puncture for Kittel! The German, who is in a free skinsuit, needs a bike change - and that's probably his chances for the win today gone. He looks rather angry.


We hit the first of a few roundabouts...


The peloton is using the entire width of this already considerably wide road - forcing the fans to take sudden steps back. You sense there could be more crashes...


Now it's Movistar on the front - they want no repeat of yesterday, when Quintana shipped 1'15" after his mechanical.


EF Education First-Drapac have come to the front alongside Team Sky and BMC. Chavanel has been caught and is receiving some pats on the back from his Direct Energie team-mates.


Chavanel holds on and takes the bonus sprint for three seconds. Philippe Gilbert takes second place - and two seconds - ahead of Geraint Thomas of Sky, who takes the final second.


Just 20 seconds now for Chava. He's on a long, straight, flat stretch of road and will be able to see the peloton breathing down his neck as he passes the 500m to go banner until the bonus sprint.


Team Sky have come to the front alongside BMC ahead of the bonus sprint. Can Chavanel hold on? He has 27 seconds and the pace is very fast.


Less than 40 seconds now for Chavanel.


Demare douses himself with water - he's still off the back of the pack and on his own.


The gap drops below one minute now for Chavanel, who's in time trial mode - but will surely not hold on.


Puncture for Arnaud Demare! It's another nightmare for the Frenchman, who needs a front wheel change with a team-mate before trying to fight back to the pack.


Here's the aftermath of the Yates crash.


BMC have come near the front to avoid a repeat of yesterday's mistake, which saw Porte caught out by that crash with 11km remaining. Dimension Data are now leading through Jay Thomson, who sits in front of Bart Declercq of Quick-Step. Chavanel, meanwhile, has 1'15" over the pack as they approach the bonus sprint.


Yates now has five Mitchelton-Scott team-mates with him - and they managed to rejoin the peloton after that scare. The British rider looks ok - no blood, just a few tears on his jersey. The crash came after a tight left-hand bend and so the pace was quite low. But still - another wake-up call. It looks like May Hayman also came down in that incident - his jersey is also scuffed a bit.


And another crash! It's Sylvan Diller or Ag2R-La Mondiale. Another incident on the side of the road and perhaps caused by spectators veering out from the pavement. The Swiss rider is back on his bike, but took a fair whack there.


CRASH: Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) is down after a tangle with a Cofidis rider and, perhaps, a spectator. The Briton needs a new bike and will have to fight back on. He's had a terribly unlucky start to the Tour.


We should see yesterday's top eight feature in the sprint today: Gaviria, Sagan, Kittel, Kristoff, Laporte, Groenewegen, Matthews and Degenkolb. Throw in the likes of Colbrelli, Cavendish and Greipel, who were present in the main pack, but had mechanicals or other issues holding them back. Then there's also Demare, who was involved in the initial crash 11km from the finish and never got back into the peloton. It should be an exciting sprint - put it that way.


The advantage of lone leader Chavanel drops below the two-minute mark. It's hard to see the Frenchman staying out when there are so many sprinters eager to fight for the win today.


Sanchez is taking his time on the side of the road. He's shaking his head and talking to his directeur sportif and the race doctor. A soigneur gets a new bike down for him and the Sanchez tries to get on, but then stops with another shake of the head. It appears that his left elbow is badly damaged - that and his shoulder. He's off to the ambulance. The Spanish veteran is withdrawing. A big blow for Jakub Fuglsang, for whom Sanchez was the road captain and vital support in the mountains.


CRASH: Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) came down heavily with a Cofidis rider. It looks like he clipped a traffic island. The Cofidis rider is on his way but the Spanish veteran looks to be in a bad way. He's holding his shoulder, his elbow is bleeding profusely and he's grimacing badly. Could be the end of his race.


Confirmation that Gaviria now has 78pts in the green jersey competition with Sagan on 54pts and Kristoff up to 37pts. Here's a replay of the intermediate sprint.


Chavanel has been out pretty much since the outset today and he's clearly starting to tire. His gap is down to 2'25". But he's ridden through his team's territory with all the class and wistful sentimentality as you'd expect from a veteran on the verge of retirement.


It's the world champion Peter Sagan who takes the points for second place when the peloton zips through the intermediate sprint at Beaulieu-sous-la-Roche. Sagan pips the yellow jersey Fernando Gaviria and European champion Alexander Kristoff, with Arnaud Demare a distant fifth.


Not ideal placing for Dylan Groenewegen, who is in the white jersey. The Dutch sprinter is off the back of the peloton after an apparent mechanic - and despite having a couple of LottoNL-Jumbo riders with him, he may miss out on contesting this intermediate sprint.


The gap has dropped under four minutes again for lone leader Sylvain Chavanel, who rides his custom orange-alloy Wilier through the intermediate sprint to take the 20pts.


What's Peter Sagan's favourite breakfast? This and much (ok, some) more in the latest #AskSagan offering...


Confirmation from Trek Segafredo that Grmay withdrew because of 'severe abdominal pain'. The Ethiopian's absence will be keenly felt by his team leader Bauke Mollema.


Many riders in the pack have stopped for a call of nature, including Fernando Gaviria. The yellow jersey is now freewheeling off the back of the peloton - he'll be mindful of the intermediate sprint coming up, but not that concerned about getting back to the stress of the front of the pack. Chavanel's lead is now back above the four-minute mark.


Chavanel manages to swat away a bee before getting a sting. His lead is creeping up again.


Chavanel's lead is down to 2'45" now as the pace starts to increase in the pack ahead of the intermediate sprint, which is coming along in about 20km. Mirroring the Frenchman off the front of the pack is Lawson Craddock off the back: the American is currently yo-yoing from peloton to team cars following his crash yesterday.


Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (Dimension Data) comes to a standstill ahead of a tight left-hander. He's dropped a chain and it takes him an age to sort it because the offending chain is stuck between his crank and the frame. A spectator tries to help and the South African gives him short shrift.


This is Sylvain Chavanel's 350th day on the Tour de France. It's also his 18th Tour having failed to finished just two of his previous 17 Tours (2007 - stage 17; 2012 - stage 15).


BMC, Sky and Movistar have come near the front now alongside Quick-Step - perhaps mindful that there have been a few incidents over the last few kilometres. We still have no update on Grmay's withdrawal, nor any replay of the Molard crash. As for Chavanel, he's still four minutes ahead.


CRASH: Frenchman Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ) is on the tarmac. He has a tear in his big shorts and is limping around as he waits for a new bike. It doesn't look good. Hard to know what happened there. He was near a kerb and perhaps he clipped that, or has a touch of wheels. He's on his way now but grimacing in pain.


We have our first withdrawal! And it's not Lawson Craddock, who has been suffering with that shoulder injury, but the Ethiopian Tsgabu Grmay (Trek Segafredo). He pulled up and it looked like he was merely waiting for mechanical assistance or a bike change. But when his team car came, they put his bike on the roof, patted him on the back, and the 26-year-old got in the car. How peculiar. Grmay shows no signs of injury so he must be suffering from illness or have a personal crisis. Let's hope he's ok.


The pack zips through the feed zone and it's still Quick-Step Floors setting the tempo as Chavanel rides with a 4'10" advantage.


Lotto Soudal have sent some riders to the front ahead of the feed zone. Their sprinter Andre Greipel was badly positioned and could only take 26th place in yesterday's chaotic finale.


Chavanel passes the 100-to-go mark with four minutes to play with.


World champion Peter Sagan stops on the side of the road to sort out a problem with his helmet. A soigneur from Bora-Hansgrohe gets out of the team car to help him out, while the Slovakian showman himself takes the opportunity to take a leak in a bush. He'll be one of the favourites again today having taken second place yesterday.


Chavanel, on his trademark orange bike, milks in the support from the fans on the side of the road - and manages to join in some birthday celebrations with his team manager. He has just over four minutes to play with now.


While Chavanel ploughs a lonely furrow why not watch all the highlights and analysis from our friends at GCN, who dissected those crashes and mechanicals that thwarted some of the yellow jersey favourites yesterday...


If you missed it, this was the big talking point in yesterday's stage...


The gap is up to 3'50" for Sylvain Chavanel, whose manager celebrates his 62nd birthday today. Now I know just what would be the best present... but it's also about as unlikely as a Cavendish win on Alpe d'Huez.


Of course, the big loser of all this is Nairo Quintana. Tellingly, the Colombian was isolated after his mechanical - and it wasn't until much later on that Andrey Amador picked him up and rode with him to the finish. Quintana entered the race supposedly on level footing with Movistar team-mates Mikel Landa and Alejandro Valverde - but already he's over a minute behind his team-mates, and with Movistar hardly a force in the TTT, he can expect to be further behind his GC rivals come Monday evening.


Quick-Step Floors, Team Sky and Movistar front the peloton in that order - the former team because they have the yellow jersey and aspirations for the stage win, the other two because of the desire to keep their GC men out of trouble. With what happened yesterday, any gains that Team Sky may make in the TTT tomorrow will be wiped out by the deficit Froome already has on GC. The same can be said for Porte and Yates, both of whom should fare well tomorrow with BMC and Mitchelton-Scott. It all plays into the hands of Romain Bardet, Vincenzo Nibali and Rigo Uran, all of whom will probably concede time in the TTT.


Belgian national champion Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors) has been setting the tempo on the front of the pack. He was chewing the fat with Luke Rowe of Team Sky just now - perhaps about the pace, which the Welshman may think is unnecessarily high. Movistar are up there too - mindful of their bad day yesterday where Quintana was caught out in the finale with that mechanical. Meanwhile, it's a rear wheel change for Richie Porte of BMC. The Australian was caught out in one of those crashes yesterday and finished alongside Froome and Yates, 51 seconds down. Gap up to 3'40" for Chavanel.


One rider we didn't see in the sprint yesterday is Mark Cavendish. The Britain avoided the crashes in the finale but he broke a chain, apparently, and was unable to contest the sprint. His target this year is to get closer to Eddy Merckx's record of 34 stage wins - he's currently on 30 - and he's gone on record to say that he has no aspirations to win a second green jersey. Watch Matt Stephens' interview with the Manx Missile below...


Chavanel cuts a lonely figure as he continues his long solo ride out ahead of the pack, having been jettisoned by his fellow escapees Gogl and Smith. The 39 year old is a triple stage winner on the Tour but hasn't tasted success since 2010. This is his 18th and final Tour - a record that sees him move about Stuart O'Grady and Jens Voigt, who rode 17 Tours. Chavanel's gap is up to 3'10".


I mentioned Lawson Craddock earlier. The American seems to be back with the peloton despite struggling earlier on. Yesterday he updated his followers on Twitter about his injuries - and an amazing gesture he's making in deciding to fight on. Chapeau... and to think that Neymar is also classified as a 'sportsman'.


I told you so...


Confirmation from the Tour organisers that, as both Ledanois and Smith have one point in the KOM standings, it will be the rider who is highest on GC who will wear the polka dot jersey tomorrow. That may well explain why Smith has decided to call it a day. There's no point blowing a gasket in a doomed break if it means he's dropped by the peloton and then loses the chance to wear the maillot a pois tomorrow. The New Zealander does have 3'02" on Ledanois in the standings, but you never know...


The break has completely crumbled now. With that polka dot jersey in the bag, Smith has dropped back now leaving just Chavanel out ahead, while Gogl is almost with the peloton now following his treatment from the doctor. So, it's the man riding a record 18th Tour de France who rides on his own now, 2'40" clear of the peloton. It could be a long day for Sylvain Chavanel...


The road carried on uphill after the summit of the categorised climb - and Michael Gogl has dropped back to see the race doctor, apparently with some kind of insect sting. He's currently spraying his right knee with something.


The break has started the Cat.4 Cote de Pouzauges (1km at 3.9km). And it's only a short uphill grind - with Dion Smith of Wanty-Groupe Gobert taking the spoils over the top. And we're hearing that it will be the New Zealander who will now take the polka dot jersey by virtue of being well above Kevin Ledanois in the overall standings.


Here was the moment the riders rolled out of Mouilleron-Saint-Germain.


We're going to pass a lot of these today...


Three Quick-Step Floors team-mates of Fernando Gaviria front the peloton, with Tim Declercq setting the tempo and the Luxembourg champion Bob Jungels also fairly prominent. Gaviria, however, is currently off the back of the pack with a team-mate after apparently paying a visit to the team car or answering a call of nature. The gap is 2'40" for the three escapees.


The final jersey to update you with is the white jersey for the young riders' classification. Gaviria, who won on his Tour debut yesterday, leads that competition but it's the Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen of LottoNL-Jumbo - who finished sixth in the sprint - who wears white by default. He's 10 seconds down on Gaviria by virtue of those bonuses.


Not far to the only climb of the day, the Cat.4 Cote de Pouzauges. A reminder that it's the Frenchman Kevin Ledanois who is in polka dots after starring in the break yesterday. His tally of a single KOM point will be matched by one of Chavanel, Smith and Gogl very soon.


Meanwhile, our three-man break now have 2'25" over the pack.


One sprinter we didn't see yesterday - didn't see in the sprint, that is - was Arnaud Demare of Groupama-FDJ. He went down in that crash 11km from the finish, and while he wasn't hurt, he didn't bother to waste energy fighting back on, preferring to keep his powder dry for today. Demare is currently off the back of the peloton with a mechanical issue. He'll be hoping to bounce back today.


Because he's in yellow, Gaviria cannot wear the green jersey. After picking up points for fourth place (behind the break) in the intermediate sprint, and then maximum points at the finish, the Colombian leads the standings on 63 points. Sagan is on 37 and both Marcel Kittel and Alexander Kristoff are on 24. It's Germany's Kittel who is in green, however, because the world champion Sagan has opted to wear his rainbow jersey and not the green by default.


Let's run through who's wearing all of the classification jerseys today. After his victory yesterday, Fernando Gaviria is in yellow and is the second Colombian to don the famous garment (after Victor Hugo Pena in 2003). With bonus seconds, Gaviria leads Peter Sagan by 4 seconds on GC with Marcel Kittel third at 6 seconds. After the carnage of yesterday's finish we have Chris Froome, Richie Porte and Adam Yates already 61 seconds down, while Nairo Quintana is 1'25" in arrears after his late mechanical.


In any case, that chase group has come to nothing. So we have three riders out ahead - Dion Smith (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie) and Michael Gogl (Trek-Segafredo) - as their lead creeps up to over one minute.


Ledanois attacks from the pack and that sparks a reaction from half a dozen riders. The young Frenchman from Wanty-Groupe Gobert will want to protect his lead in the polka dot jersey standings. He's on one point and there's another point up for grabs on the only climb today. I'm not sure how they sort that one out... perhaps Ledanois will stay in the lead whatever on the grounds of chronology.


Already, Lawson Craddock of EF Education First is struggling off the back. The American crashed yesterday and fractured a bone in his shoulder. He's determined to fight on - but could it be a bridge too far?


Yesterday the break formed very quickly but it's not the same case today. There's a bit more at play and as such it's a far more hectic - and fast - opening. Kevin Ledanois, who took the polka dot jersey yesterday, was involved in an early move which came to nothing. We now have veteran Sylvain Chavanel out ahead with two others. But the gap is small.


They're off! Christian Prudhomme waves the flag and we have a flurry of attacks from the outset...


The riders have almost completed the neutral zone and are about to get this stage started... It's another sunny day in the Vendee with temperatures pushing 30 degrees once again.


Here's what the riders have in store in this 182.5km stage two from Mouilleron-Saint-Germain to La Roche-sur-Yon. Just the one categorised climb before a long flat slog towards the two intermediate sprints and the final ding-dig battle.


Bonjour le Tour! Yes, hello, and welcome to live coverage of stage two of the Grande Boucle - another one for the sprinters, although what with all that drama yesterday, we all know that anything can happen on the Tour...