Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), won Stage 2 atop Mur de Bretagne. He also took the overall leader's yellow jersey for the 2021 Tour de France. The day ended with the Slovenians Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), finishing sixth and seventh, respectively.
Here's a look at the Tour's progress so far.
Who is the winner of the Tour?
Van der Poel clearly had his sights set on the stage and the yellow shirt. Van der Poel launched his first attack on one of the Mur's two ascents. He took eight bonus seconds to be the first to the top. He recovered from the descent to the finish line and covered the attacks of Nairo Quintana, Arkea-Samsic, and Sonny Colbrelli, before setting off on his own, with an acceleration that no one could match.
He pointed up the sky as he crossed the finish line to remember his grandfather Raymond Poulidor. "Pou-Pou", one of the Tour's most loved heroes, never got the privilege of wearing the yellow jersey. He finished on the Tour’s final podium eight times. Van der Poel's 10-second bonus for winning the stage was sufficient to make him yellow. France's Julian Alaphilippe, Deceuninck Quick Step, finished fourth, eight seconds behind. Van der Poel leads the Tour by eight seconds, while Pogacar is third, just 13 seconds behind.
Who is actually winning this Tour?
Although we are only two days into this race, it is clear that the two top finishers last year, Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), won't waste any time. Both riders finished bonus seconds behind van der Poel in the first climb of Mur de Bretagne. The duo pulled away the rest of the top group to earn more bonus seconds at finish. We could be heading for a Tour closer than last year's Tour, when Roglic was beaten by Pogacar in the final time trial.
The Tour's top GC contenders will be from INEOS Grenadiers. Yesterday's crashes saw a 4-headed GC monster become a 2-headed GC monster. Richie Porte, Tao Geoghegan Hart and Richard Carapaz both lost a lot of time. Carapaz was today's best finisher. The Ecuadorian finished 8 seconds behind van der Poel in the top group of competitors. Thomas was 15 seconds slower than the next group, so he lost some time. Thomas should be able to regain the time he lost to his teammate Wednesday in the individual time trial. However, it will still be interesting to see how the hierarchy within team changes over the course the Tour's first week.