Blues trouble-free at La Roche-sur-Yon; Valverde 7th
08 July 2018

Tour de France (st. 2)

Spaniard remains attentive in finale, gets through crash inside final 2km, affecting Gaviria (QST); no Movistar Team riders involved. Sagan (BOH) sprints to day's win, yellow jersey.

Tension was again inherent to stage two of the 2018 Tour de France -182km between Mouilleron and La Roche-sur-Yon-, even though the Movistar Team was able to stay away from incidents this time, its three leaders finishing unscathed and near the front. Some good teamwork from the likes of Erviti, Bennati, Amador, Rojas and Soler helped lead out Nairo Quintana, Mikel Landa and Alejandro Valverde to a good finish, the Murcian even able to stay with the sprinters through the final pile-up: a crash inside the last 2km, involving race leader Fernando Gaviria (QST).

‘Bala’ took 7th into a short field where Peter Sagan (BOH) grabbed the win and donned the yellow jersey. The time neutralisation due to the crash allowed an easier finish for Landa and Quintana, who remain in their GC positions from the eve at 16″ and 1’31”, respectively. Monday will bring a crucial 35km TTT around Cholet, the Movistar Team as third in the start list just after 3pm local.


Alejandro Valverde: “You’ve got to be lucky for pretty much everything in this sport. Happily, I was able to get through those final crashes and ended up into the sprinters’ group at the final kilometer. There was no other intention but staying near the front in the finale. You’ve already seen how many incidents we’ve gone through during the last few days: Froome was down, Yates was down, Nairo – I can’t even fathom how he was able not to crash. Yesterday’s finale was full of nerves, but we did what we could, and we must move forward and try to make that up in the remainder of the race. There were crashes before the team reduction, there are crashes now, and there always will be, even if we were only 30 at the start; they’re caused by tension and speed. My condition at the moment? Great, I feel fine, at a good level – it’s mainly day-by-day at this point of the race, but I’m good so far.”

Nairo Quintana: “It was really stressful again today, but we got through all incidents and we continue to look ahead, trying to avoid any other incidents in this first week. Tomorrow’s TTT will be again really important, a day to remain really focused, get the best possible result and try and build from that, to improve our current result.”

Mikel Landa: “At the end of the day, one more or less rider per team doesn’t play a big impact on crashes. It’s more an issue stemming from everyone wanting to ride near the front. The speeds are high, the tension is high – we need some more stages to go by, so we get a bit more calmed down and less nervous. It’s all about the wear and tear in the race making things easier.”