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Gallery: emotional Mathieu van der Poel wins Tour de France Stage 2 to take yellow

Dutchman conquers the Mûr-de-Bretagne not once but twice to do what grandfather Raymond Poulidor never did

Martin James
28 Jun 2021

Anything you can do, Julian…

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) produced a stunning finishing effort on the Mûr-de-Bretagne to win Stage 2 of the Tour de France, riding himself not just to a solo stage win but the yellow jersey too.

In pulling on the maillot jaune, Van der Poel achieved what his late grandfather Raymond Poulidor never managed despite being cherished as a Tour legend. Just a pity it couldn’t happen yesterday when the Alpecin-Fenix team were wearing a one-off purple and yellow kit as a tribute to Poulidor and his Mercier team.

Either way, Van der Poel was overcome with emotion when crossing the line and speaking to the press afterwards. There’s no question the occasion and what it meant was on his mind, but a part of him may have also been overwhelmed by just how incredible his ride had been.

He even gave everyone an advanced preview of what he had in mind. The race made its way over the Mûr with around 18km to go before looping around again for the final, and Van der Poel blew the peloton apart to claim the bonus seconds over the top, ahead of inseparable Slovenian duo Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates) and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma).

But turns out Mathieu was playing the long game, and was looking to reduce his 18-second deficit to race leader Julian Alaphilippe to bring the yellow jersey further into play should he produce a similar effort in the stage finish proper.

He did just that, and then some. In the end the fans lining the Brittany roadside were treated to their second straight puncheur’s masterclass, this one if anything even more impressive than Alaphilippe’s effort yesterday.

As it happened Pogačar and Roglič followed him home just as they did on the first ascent of the Mûr, and now sit third and fourth overall behind Van der Poel and the deposed Alaphilippe.

Check out Cyclist photographer Chris Auld’s image selection from Stage 2:

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