Vincenzo Niabali (Astana) will wear yellow heading into stage three from Cambridge to London. Stage two of the 2014 Tour de France proved to be as dramatic as stage one. Yorkshire once again embraced the biggest single sporting event in the world. Marcel Kittel wore yellow as the riders left the City of York making their way to the Steel City of Sheffield.
The big news of the day was that Mark Cavendish was forced to withdraw from the tour due to his accident at the end of stage one.
The riders had to deal with nine climbs on the 201 km route including the category four Côte de Blubberhouses with the intermediate sprint at Keighly which was won by Blel Kadri (AG2R). Holm Moss also stood in their way and would prove to be very pivotal as it broke up the peloton.
A seven-man breakaway formed including Blel Kadri (AG2R) and Cryil Lemoine (Cofidis). Lemoine would take the first KOTM points at Greatland.
As the break approached Holm Moss there was a gap of just 50 seconds. Peter Sagan had to stop for nature and he was support by four of his team mates as he made his way back into the pack. Richie Porte had a fall and called the Team Sky support car, requesting a new bike. As a result, he was over 1:30 behind the main group but dug deep go get back amongst it.
Vincenza Nibali and his Astana team-mates spearheaded the peloton at the start of the climb up Holm Moss. Kadri lead out the breakaway group. Thomas Voeckler decided to put the hammer down as Kittel faded away.
Holm Moss was a sea of spectators and the peloton started to thin out in numbers, tired legs were starting to take their toll on the riders.
A long fast descent towards Woodhead pass gave the riders a little rest-bite before having to deal with the climbs of Bradfield, Oughtibridge and then on in to Hillsbrough, Sheffield and then to Jenkin Road.
thesportsbreakfast.co.uk chose Jenkin Road as the location to witness the strength and determination of the riders tackle the steepest part of the 2014 tour. The crowd were entertained by Scott Barker (Hoyland, South Yorkshire) and Grant Buckie (Buckie, Scotland) as they played versus of the Great Escape, Rule Britania, the Imperial March and Ikley Moor Bart’at. Earlier in the day several novice riders tackled the climb and a variety of different bikes. One man wheelied up a good proportion of it on his mountain bike much to the cheer of the crowd. The atmosphere was electric as the huge crowd waited in anticipation for the elite riders to make their appearance.
Scott Barker and Grant Buckie
One lady from Liverpool arrived at Jenkin Road at 4 am in order to make sure she had a good vantage point.
As the riders appeared into view, the knowledgeable fans were astounded to see that only a fraction of the starters were in the group.
Group by group they appeared around the bends of Jenkin Road.Chris Froome did what he had done on occasions in 2013, he put on a burst of pace at the top of the climb, a warning to the other GC contenders that he could make his move as and when he pleased. Alberto Contador couldn’t respond, the other GC contenders were caught unawares by the short sharp move. Sagan and Nibali played cat and mouse as they wound their way down towards the 3km marker just outside Meadowhall.
The race was on but as the riders approached the flamme rouge it was going to be Nibali’s day. Froome finished two seconds behind Nibali.
Sagan (Cannondale) is the current green and white jersey wearer – Sagan will wear green for stage three. Lemoine (Cofidis) will wear the polka dot jersey.
Once again cycling was the real winner. The way in which the County of Yorkshire and wider region embraced this sporting spectacle was breathtaking. Over to you Cambridge…
General Classification Standings
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Tour de France: Nibali Takes Demanding Second Stage
Vincenzo Niabali (Astana) will wear yellow heading into stage three from Cambridge to London. Stage two of the 2014 Tour de France proved to be as dramatic as stage one.