Victor Lafay steals the second stage of Tour de France 2023 from the favorites

Road 02/07/23 18:16 Migue A.

Just two stages into the Tour de France 2023 and the Grand Depart of Euskadi is not disappointing. The finish in San Sebastian gives us a spectacle worthy of the spring classics with all the favorites arriving in a handkerchief but with a hungry Tadej Pogacar who continues to scrape seconds.

Wout Van Aert and Tadej Pocacar are left yearning for more in San Sebastián

Frenchman Victor Lafay of the Cofidis team surprised the main favorites in a fantastic stage that had all the ingredients of the spring classics: top riders fighting for the victory, a broken route without a flat meter, the typical weather of the Basque Country, both rainy and sunny, and a fast pace.

Before the start, it was time to take stock of the damage from yesterday's stage. Finally, mid-afternoon, Movistar Team announced that Enric Mas suffered a broken scapula, an injury that, in principle, should not prevent him from being in La Vuelta. Perhaps more complicated is the fracture suffered by Richard Carapaz who, despite managing to finish the stage, was diagnosed with a fracture of the kneecap, a much more delicate area.

The peloton faced on this second day a tough stage of 209 kilometers starting in Vitoria and ending in San Sebastian, a stage with a real mountain range profile that included no less than five scoring passes, highlighting in the final part the ascent to Jaizkibel in a tribute to the Classic of San Sebastian.

The stage began with intensity, with quality riders trying to find a breakaway. Finally, it would be at kilometer 9, with a cut in which Edwald Boasson Hagen and Neilson Powless entered, joined shortly after by Rémi Cavagna. A few more riders would still try to get there, such as Mads Pedersen, Victor Campenaerts or Jasper Philipsen, but in the end they did not manage to connect with the escapees and the peloton gave the go-ahead to the breakaway of the day.

The kilometers went by under the iron control of UAE Team Emirates, which did not let the escapees go beyond 5 minutes. Up front, Neilson Powless was in the lead, not only because he was clearly the strongest, but also because of his ambition to continue scoring points to consolidate the mountains jersey he had won yesterday. So much so that, climbing the Alkiza pass, 75 kilometers from the finish, Rémi Cavagna gave way and, climbing the Gurutze pass, the prelude to Jaizkibel in the final part, Boasson-Hagen did the same.

Powless arrived at the foot of the last climb with just under 2 minutes of advantage, an income that proved to be insufficient due to the unleashed pace that the peloton had taken. Once fully into the climb to Jaizkibel, this time starting in Hondarribia, unlike how it is ridden in the Classic of San Sebastian, it was Rafal Majka who set a huge pace that was breaking up the group, leaving only about twenty riders in the lead, with all the favorites holding on.

Behind him was Tadej Pogacar and, just behind, the leader of the Tour, his teammate Adam Yates, who was followed by another yellow jersey, this time from Jumbo-Visma in the figure of Jonas Vingegaard. There would be no attacks beyond the intense sprint between Pogacar, Vingegaard and Simon Yates for the bonus seconds that were shared at the top, the latter trying to take the yellow jersey in possession of his brother. It was the Slovenian who managed to get his hands on the coveted loot and took off on the false flat and subsequent descent in a repeat of yesterday's image. Pogacar wanted to party and Vingegaard refused to participate.

This attitude of the Danish Jumbo-Visma rider meant that they were caught, near the end of the descent by a group led by Pello Bilbao who did not stop and continued to show his skill on the descent to open a gap of about ten seconds that Jumbo-Visma was forced to neutralize, now already thinking about the stage victory for Wout van Aert.

In Pasaia the race recovered the traditional route with which the San Sebastian Classic ended, facing the Miracruz climb at the entrance to the city where Tom Pidcock tried his luck but was neutralized at the moment by Van Aert in the first person. There would still be another attempt by Skjelmose, with the same result with the last kilometer in sight.

And taking advantage of those few seconds of relaxation before the sprint, Victor Lafay, who already yesterday showed his great form crowning Pike Bidea with the best, made a surprise move, under the red triangle. Moment of doubt and it was Tiejs Benoot who would try to close the gap to keep intact the chances of Van Aert, but he had already shown his weakness and would not have enough spark to get closer.

Finally, Van Aert was forced to launch the sprint in desperation, too late. In turn, Pogacar also joined the party, but neither one nor the other managed to catch Victor Lafay who thus took the most brilliant victory so far of his still short list of victories. Van Aert crossed the finish line disappointed, quite the opposite of Tadej Pogacar, who, despite being third, managed to gain another few seconds on his main rival for the yellow jersey. It all adds up.

Stage 2 Classification

  1. Victor Lafay (Cofidis) 4h46’39’’
  2. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) +00’’
  3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +00’’
  4. Tom Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers) +00’’
  5. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-Victorious) +00’’
  6. Mattias Skjelmose (Lidl-Trek) +00’’
  7. Michael Woods (Israel-PremierTech) +00’’
  8. Romain Bardet (Team DSM) +00’’
  9. Dylan Teuns (Israel-PremiertTech) +00’’
  10. Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) +00’’

Clasificación General

  1. Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) 9h09’18’’
  2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +06’’
  3. Simon Yates (Jayco AlUla) +06’’
  4. Victor Lafay (Cofidis) +12’’
  5. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) +16’’
  6. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +17’’
  7. Michael Woods (Israel-PremierTech) +22’’
  8. Mattias Skjelmose (Lidl-Trek) +22’’
  9. Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) +22’’
  10. Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious) +22’’



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Victor Lafay birla a los favoritos la segunda etapa del Tour de Francia 2023