Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Sagan wins stage 2 as Gaviria crashes in lead out

Sagan wins stage 2 as Gaviria crashes in lead out

What had once been viewed as an opportunity to make time had become a chance to gain it back after Froome lost 51 seconds to his main rivals on Saturday.

BMC clocked 38min 46sec as their Belgian rider Greg van Avermaet took the overall leader's yellow jersey, with Sky in second place, four seconds behind.

"I was just one rider in front of (Froome) when he crashed and didn't even know until we heard on the radio maybe a few seconds later", the Welshman said. "We gave it everything we had and it all went pretty much to plan".

Spain's Luis Leon Sanchez, who has four Tour stage wins to his name, pulled out after he sustained a possible shoulder injury in a crash 37km from the finish.

With the likes of Sagan, Kittel and Mark Cavendish - who was not even in contention on day one - all coming to the latter stages of their career, a new kid on the block looks ready to take over.

The four time victor of the yellow jersey was hoping for a quiet start to his Tour but it wasn't to be as he took a tumble on the run-in, and ended up losing a considerable chunk of time to the majority of of his general classification rivals.

Froome and his Sky team-mates were also left behind but they did at least stay upright, 24 hours after Froome lost 51 seconds to most of his general classification rivals thanks to a tumble in the final six kilometres.

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"It's amusing because at the end of the day it's just another bike race". "I am a lot happier than I was at the Dauphiné, we have a gelled unit here and a powerful one".

"The yellow jersey is one that everyone dreams of wearing and to get it on the first day is fantastic", said Gaviria, who was making his debut in cycling's most prestigious race. "That's the nature of the game".

The 39-year-old, competing in a record 18th Tour de France and his 350th stage, enjoyed his day in the spotlight, sitting up to high-five fans in the towns early in the day as the peloton was happy to let him go. They were only seven seconds back and on a similar trajectory to us so you do have to wait.

But the two key mountain challenges are a brutal, uphill 31km individual time trial and a short, sharp shock of a 17th stage with just 65km, featuring 25km of hair-raising descents and 38km of climbs to a summit finish at the Col de Portet in the southwest.

Vincenzo Nibali's Bahrain-Merida squad were 11th on the day, giving up 62 seconds to Sky, while Romain Bardet's AG2R La Mondiale team finished 12th, 71 seconds off Sky's time.

"There was way too much wind for me", said the slightly-built Porte.

Froome has been cleared of any wrongdoing after testing positive for excessive levels of the anti-asthma drug Salbutamol, but the locals have been jeering and whistling the four-times champion since the teams' presentation on Thursday. That would have been a nice bonus on top. We've been close in the past in Tour team time trials. He was also part of the team that won the team time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico.

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