Tour de France 2: Tunnel Of Love

That was: from York to Sheffield a long huge continuous crowd. "I can feel the love" Chris Froome tweeted after the race. It wasn't  that bad, the English crowd. But they were so many that it was hard to pass through. And dangerous.
A colourful ribbon was bordering the up and down road in the middle of a green land. Many climbs, short but steep, that one by one remained on the legs. Some small crashes. A big selection
Two break-aways: the first one -  Matthew Busche (Trek Factory Racing), Blel Kadri (AG2R La Mondiale), Perrig Quemeneur (Team Europcar), David De La Cruz Melgarejo (Team NetApp-Endura), Armindo Fonseca (Bretagne-Séché Environnement), Cyril Lemoine (Cofidis, Solutions Credits) and Bart de Clerq (Lotto Belisol)- caught on the 2nd  category 2 climb of Holme Moss, then Blel Kadri solo, then a second break-away with Thomas Voeckler, Edet, Tony Martin, Marcus Burghardt and Cyril Gautier.
But it didn't stick. This finish was to tasty for the GC riders and on the last 10 km they started the big game. Team Sky controlled as long as it can, with Geraint Thomas making an incredible job. Contador was the first attcker, Froome responded, Sagan still in the mix. The decisive move came from Astana: Fuglsang, then Nibali and all straight till the line. Tongue out and two fingers to point to wrong flag on his belly (yep, it's wrong: Italian flag has vertical strips...). 
Behind you can see who was able to reply (And who couldn't): Rodriguez is out, going for stages maybe. Kwiatowski is there, so Talansky, Mollema, van Garderen, Bardet, Van Den Broeck, Contador, Costa, Zubeldia, Valverde and Froome. Frank Schleck kept the front till the end, when they got slightly dropped (but 16'' is nothing). The Jensie didn't defend his Polka: the new owner is Cyril Lemoine (Cofidis). Team Sky still is the best team.
PSI'm happy for Vincenzo Nibali and he took a great win... but I guess that Chris Froome (and the others) is happy to that he didn't take that Jersey so early. I'd be not surprised if Nibali lets it go in the next week.

Vincenzo Nibali: 
"I'm very happy, this is a special, unexpected moment of happiness. I knew I had the form to win and taking the yellow jersey means I've now worn all three Grand Tour leader's jerseys after wearing the red jersey at the Vuelta a Espana and the pink jersey at the Giro d'Italia. I think only Alberto Contador has done that in the modern of Italian cycling.
It didn’t bother me what the media said, I always believed in my chances. I came to do my very best at the Tour de France, and I think I've showed that with this win. Obviously the Tour de France does not finished here, the road ahead is long but I'm confident I can do well.
The team always believed in me and this win showed that we've worked well. It’s an important win for Kazakhstan and in the capital Astana. It's a day for them to celebrate too. I'm also thinking about what is happening in my family's home town (in Messina, in Sicily). I'm sure they're over the moon at home and I can’t wait to speak to them. This yellow jersey is for them.
In the finale lots of riders all tried things because we were scared of a big attack. Alberto (Contador) was up there and set the pace. Froome was controlling things and almost seemed to attack. The first real move was made by Fuglsang. Sagan closed him down and then at 1.5km to go, I found the right moment and space to go for it. We were lined out and Sagan had just chased Fuglsang, there was a ease in the speed and so it was good form me. It's never easy to attack like that, there was a lot of head wind, which scared me but I made it.
It's a year later, so it's difficult to compare my form to the Giro d'Italia but the training has been the same and so my form is good; I think about same as the Giro. We'll see day by day there's a lot of hard stages to come and there are some big rivals to face like Froome and Contador."

Tejay van Garderen:  "It was attrition all day. I am just happy to make it through with all my skin and in the same time. I had reconned the day, so I knew it was going to be hard. I feel like I am going to get better every day and today I felt really good. So I can only go up from here as along as I stay safe."

Chris Froome: "It was a really difficult day. It was undulating all day and a big fight for position. The crowds out there were incredible. Going up Holme Moss I had goosebumps all over. The support we’ve had from Yorkshire has just been out of this world. You could see in the final a lot of the contenders were making moves. For me it was about staying out of trouble and avoiding any major splits or issues. It’s a small margin but the win puts Nibali into the yellow jersey. It should be an exciting week of racing to come.

Geraint Thomas
"Once we turned right off the main road with about 35km to go it was really steep - up and down. You definitely feel it in the legs. Garmin really put the hammer down and there were only around 20 riders left. Once it eased up we took a bit of control to keep Froomey and Richie out of trouble. It worked out well in the end. It was great racing. Those roads are really good and Jenkin Road at the end made it really interesting. For sure (the main contenders) all tested each other out. Everybody wanted to be at the front and then once one person makes a move everybody follows. We’re riding well as a team and as a unit. I think we can be happy with how these first few stages have gone."

Matthew Busche:
“The crowds were incredible again today, but I have to admit that it was scary to have so many people on the road. I saw so many close calls with cars and spectators – I really hope that no cyclist or spectator was injured. It was crazy. The worst was seeing the small children so close to the road. Aside from the safety issues the support from all the people is incredible! The noise was deafening for most of the day and I couldn’t hear anything in my radio. It would have been great to take the polka dot jersey, to keep it in the team, but the other guys were just faster. I tried a couple of times, but it wasn’t to be. Overall it was a great experience I won’t forget!”

Fränk Schleck
“It was a very special race, a tough stage, very much like a Classic. Lots of climbs, short and steep; it was for guys that have a lot of punch. I missed the last 25 meters over the last climb, I was passed and I lost 15-16 seconds at the finish, which is not a drama. I felt good during the whole race, but in the end I can tell I am missing a little bit, missing the Tour de Suisse and those kilometers of racing. There is lots of racing to come, and all the big guys are still in the front. Nothing changed for the overall. I enjoy the longer climbs, they suit me much better, and there will be plenty of that coming.”


1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 5:08:36
2 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:02
3 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
5 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Belisol
6 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica Greenedge
7 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin - Sharp
8 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling
9 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
10 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
11 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
12 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
13 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
14 Rui Alberto Costa (Por) Lampre - Merida
15 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek Factory Racing
16 Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
17 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team
18 Tiago Machado (Por) Team Netapp-Endura
19 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky
20 Mikel Nieve Iturralde (Spa) Team Sky
21 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky
22 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:00:16
23 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
24 Christopher Horner (USA) Lampre - Merida
25 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano
26 Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling
27 Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing
28 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar
29 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Netapp-Endura
30 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Team Katusha
51 Brice Feillu (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement 0:01:19
52 Kristijan Durasek (Cro) Lampre - Merida
53 Andy Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing
54 Bram Tankink (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 9:52:43
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale 0:00:02
3 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
4 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica Greenedge
5 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky
6 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling
7 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
8 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
9 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
10 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
11 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team
12 Tiago Machado (Por) Team Netapp-Endura
13 Rui Alberto Costa (Por) Lampre - Merida
14 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
15 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek Factory Racing
16 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky
17 Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
18 Mikel Nieve Iturralde (Spa) Team Sky
19 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Belisol
20 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
21 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin - Sharp
22 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:16
23 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Netapp-Endura
24 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr
25 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team
26 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo
27 Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling
28 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar
29 Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing
30 Christopher Horner (USA) Lampre - Merida
50 Bram Tankink (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:01:19
51 Andy Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing
52 Brice Feillu (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement
Peter Sagan
Cyril Lemoine
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale 9:52:45
2 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
3 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:00:14
5 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano
6 Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling
7 Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:00:33
8 Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement 0:01:43
9 Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin - Sharp
10 Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team
Team Sky

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