Tour de France (st. 2)
Valverde, Amador, Costa and Quintana into elite group at messy finish, full of attacks; Bakelants (RLT) takes solo win and yellow jersey
Another day through and away from troubles for Movistar Team in the stirring depart of the 2013 Tour de France in Corsica. The top riders from the telephone squad avoided all complications in the 156km stage two from Bastia to Ajaccio, with four categorized climbs including the Col de Vizzavona (Cat-2), halfway through the course, and the Côte du Salario (Cat-3) just 12k from the finish. The previous climbs and the approach to the final one witnessed an interesting fight where the Spanish team always kept their leaders protected, with good efforts from Erviti, Gutiérrez, Plaza and Rojas -dropped in the ups and downs prior to the ascent- and a notable Castroviejo.
A first attack from Chris Froome (SKY) just over the hill was quickly neutralized by a bunch with good positioning from Valverde, Costa, Quintana and Amador. A second, six-man attempt including Jan Bakelants (RLT), ended up rewarding the Belgian -new race leader- with just one second over a 90-man bunch. Valverde (14th) is the first Movistar Team rider in the GC, with no gaps before a final days in Corse soil -146km between Ajaccio and Calvi, including the Col de Marsolino (Cat-3), 13k from the end- before a ferry transfer to the continent to tackle the trascendent Nice TTT on Tuesday.
REACTION / Alejandro Valverde: “I’m happy because another day is gone for good. It has been the first stage under real heat and that makes you reach the finish a bit more tired. The important thing is that we had no problems and did not lost any time, but it was quite a hard stage. The first decent climbs in a grandtour make you feel a bit strange, but it’s all going well. We have already got through two of those three days we always feared – let’s hope it stays like this tomorrow. It was a difficult stage today and it will be even more tomorrow with the nervous roads. We’re sure we can do well with this magnificent team. We always rode at the front, keeping focus, always calm – we’re happy“.