The expected wind and rain wreaked havoc in the peloton in stage two at the Tour de France but Trek Factory Racing’s Fabian Cancellara was all smiles after finishing third in the sprint from a decimated group to lay claim to a 29th day in the yellow jersey.
The first week in the Tour de France is always a stressful affair, but the added wind and wet roads in today’s flat stage that began in Utrecht and ended in Zélande saw a particularly nervous and jittery peloton, and when the hammer fell with some 60 kilometers still to race the peloton exploded into groups.
“I had cramps at the end, it was so fast and nervous, but finally some luck,” smiled Cancellara. “I had so much problems out of the corners, out of the roundabouts, the problem was from yesterday, I paid a lot – I mean everyone probably did – from yesterday’s effort.
“I am not sure what happened, if it was a crash or just a split because the guys from Lotto-Soudal went full gas. But we went through this small city and there were a lot of roundabouts and with the rain and wind…it was not easy and I was just there and suddenly the group split up. I hoped for sure at the end to get something out and now of course with the yellow I am really happy.”
Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quick Step) led out the sprint while Fabian Cancellara patiently waited in Peter Sagan’s (Tinkoff-Saxo) wheel. It played out perfectly for Cancellara as Cavendish faded in the final meters and Cancellara was able to come around to take third place – and the precious bonus seconds – behind winner Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and Sagan respectively.
Cancellara: “I did not have it in my mind to beat anyone, just on the yellow [jersey]. I was just behind Peter [Sagan] and I was waiting and waiting, and then all of a sudden they were going! But it was so long to the finish still! I just tried to get as close to the front as possible to maybe have a gap with Tony [Martin].
“Honestly I was not expecting the yellow today, maybe in the next days, and the big chance on the cobblestone stage. Today, I thought it was more for the sprinters. I was coming to the Tour to win and get the yellow yesterday, and I didn’t win yesterday and not today, but I made a nice sprint at the end and I got third and the yellow and that is really a success. It’s always special.”
Photo courtesy Trek Factory Racing