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Tour de France poised for day of stress after chaotic opening stage in Brittany

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Tour de France – GETTY IMAGES

Live coverage of today’s stage gets underway at 1.30 pm (BST)

09:00 am

Froome to start stage two

09:00 am

So, what’s on today’s menu?

With a profile not too dissimilar to Saturday’s tough opener, today’s stage will be another testing day in the saddle on these challenging Breton roads. Lots of small climbs, of which just five – côte de Sainte-Barbe, côte de Pordic, côte de Saint-Brieuc, côte du Village de Mûr-de-Bretagne and Mûr-de-Bretagne (climbs twice) – are categorised.

Stage two

With a total of seven points up for grabs for the first rider, or riders, over the first five climbs of the day, there are opportunities for a breakaway rider to take the polka dot jersey off the young shoulders of Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe), who currently leads the mountains classification with just three points to his name.

However, with two points on offer on the finishing line, race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step), who is my pick for the stage win today, could take control of the mountains classification too. Likewise, if that happens, he would also tighten his grip on the green jersey as there are a whopping 50 points available – the same amount as on a sprint finish – atop the Mûr-de-Bretagne.

This is not a one-man show, though, and Alaphilippe will be receiving no gifts today, at least from his rivals. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) will be hoping to challenge for the stage win, while the Slovenian will also be keen on taking any time bonus seconds available to the first three riders over the line. Michael Matthews (BikeExchange), second yesterday, is climbing well and could challenge while local rider David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) will be desperate to give his fellow Bretons something to cheer about.

Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), who saw several of his team-mates fall on Saturday, may have a crack too, as might Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), or Michael Woods (ISN). In summary, it is another day for the punches and another day that will be stressful for those hoping to challenge for the honours in the general classification.

Tour de France

08:20 am

Wiggins blasts’ moron’ who caused the pile-up

Speaking on his podcast, The Bradley Wiggins Show by Eurosport, the former Tour de France winner did not mince his words while discussing the incident on Saturday when a spectator stepped forward holding a placard, taking out Tony Martin.

“What an absolute f—— [bleeped audio] she is. I don’t give a f— what it was,; she’san absolute [bleeped audio]. She has caused murder today at the Tour de France. People have put their livelihoods on the line. We’ve lost a rider from that crash who’s had to abandon, unfortunately. Tony Martin went down… This is peoples’ livelihoods. People have trained all year for this, a very difficult year as well, don’t forget, and a lot is at stake – this is the Tour de France!

“The crash at 6km to go is a race crash; this is murder! It just infuriates me – a-holes! P— off somewhere else, go and watch tennis or golf if you’re going to do that. It’s not an opportunity to get on the telly and flash a sign that you’ve written on the back of a toilet roll bloody cardboard box.

“We’ve lost riders. It’s just horrible; it was awful to watch. If someone did that on the roadside in public with a cyclist coming down the road, they’d be thrown in prison.

“Arrest the spectator, arrest the spectator. This is nothing new. It’sbeen happening for years and years. And they are part of the race; the spectators are part of the race and part of the spectacle. It’s what makes this sport so beautiful.

“Let’s not butter this up and say, ‘Is this an education thing?’ No, they’re f—— morons, and they exist in the world, and they exist in the world. The world is a beautiful place, but it’s full of [bleeped audio].”

07:55 am

Catch-up: Highlights from yesterday’s stage

If you somehow missed the action on Saturday, then here are the highlights – and lowlights – from an unforgettable stage in Brittany.

07:50 am

Bonjour!

Hello to our live rolling blog from stage two at the Tour de France, the 183.5km run from Perros-Guirec to Mûr-de-Bretagne.

Sunday morning, and I’m falling.

I’ve got a feeling I don’t want to know

Early dawning, Sunday morning

It’s all the streets you crossed not so long ago

One suspects that when Lou Reed and John Cale wrote Sunday Morning, the opening song of the seminal 1967 Velvet Underground & Nico album, they had not considered its third verse used as the introduction to a Tour de France live blog. However, here we are – or where the riders are – licking their wounds following a chaotic opening stage that led to four riders abandoning the race.

It was a chaotic opening day on the Tour de France, resulting in four riders abandoning and numerous injuries to others involved in the two mass pile-ups that overshadowed Julian Alaphilippe’s win – GETTY IMAGES / REUTERS / EUROSPORT.

Following an act of stupidity from a roadside spectator who managed to earn themselves their 15 minutes of fame, and a stroke of bad luck that led to the day’s second mass pile-up which caused the most damage, both to the physical wellbeing and to the hopes and dreams of numerous riders, including a handful of general classification hopes. When many of the riders woke today – if at all they managed to get much sleep as they writhed in pain, bedsheets, no doubt, sticking to their weeping bodies – they will feel shellshocked. It may take some time, days even, for the impact of those crashes to become apparent.

Julian Alaphilippe – – AFP

Anyway, not too much time to ponder. The Tour waits for nobody as the peloton plows on towards Paris – only another 3,216.6km to go – starting with another tough-looking day on the unforgiving roads of Brittany. Before we have a look at today’s stage, though, let’s remind ourselves about the standings in the top classifications. Having won the opening stage Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) took the first maillot Jaune to become the first Frenchman rider to wear the leader’s yellow jersey in three successive Tours since Bernard Hinault completed the feat in 1986.

Having scooped up 50 points with the stage win, Alaphilippe took the maillot vert, the green jersey. However, Michael Matthews (BikeExchange), who won the points classification competition back in 2017, will wear that on behalf of the Frenchman today.

Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe), meanwhile, will be dressed in the maillot à pois, or the polka dot jersey, after the Dutchman cleverly clipped off the front of yesterday’s breakaway to ensure he took maximum points on top of two categorized climbs to make him the early leader in the mountains classification.

Defending champion Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), sixth on general classification trailing fellow Slovenian Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) by four seconds, tops the young rider classification will wear the maillot blanc during today’s stage.

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