The “TGV of Clermont-Ferrand” animated Sunday’s 208.9km trek.
The Tour de France peloton continued its journey through the Basque Country with another hilly stage that started from Vitoria-Gasteiz, the region’s capital, to San Sebastian, the city that welcomed the race for the first time since 1992, when it hosted the Grand Départ.
A rider you can always count on to light up a race from the breakaway, Rémi Cavagna did just that on this second stage, joining the early move just a couple of minutes into the day and staying off the front for a solid 120 kilometers with two riders. His long pulls at the front helped the small group forge a five-minute margin, but on a course with five classified climbs and 3000 vertical meters they didn’t have a chance, despite Rémi’s best efforts.
One of the most iconic ascents of the Basque Country and a constant feature on the route of Clasica San Sebastian, Jaizkibel was the last of these hurdles and the place where the peloton was shrouded the pieces after a fierce tempo set by the overall contenders’ teams. This left a reduced bunch in the lead, from where Victor Lafay (Cofidis) attacked with 800 meters to go to take the victory on the longest stage of this edition. Just like on Saturday, Julian Alaphilippe finished as Soudal Quick-Step’s first rider over the line.
“This morning I just thought that it was going to be a good day to go in the breakaway. When those two guys went, I decided to join. My form wasn’t that great, but I did my fair share of work, we collaborated well and when I had no more power to stay there, I slipped back into the peloton. The Tour is still long and we will continue trying, as the motivation is very high”, Rémi said after the stage.
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