In front of his home crowd in Mûr-de-Bretagne, David Gaudu safely survived stage 2 of the Tour de France. As the day before in La Fosse-aux-Loups, the Groupama-FDJ’s climber was able to follow the favourites until the top, thus rewarding a good work from the whole team. The young man from Brittany now sits tenth overall, as his teammate Arnaud Démare should be able to compete in the first bunch sprint of the Tour, on Monday, in Pontivy.
“Arnaud is always ready to give a hand”, Yvon Madiot
In the aftermath of a chaotic stage, many riders got to the beautiful start of Perros-Guirec with bandages on their body ahead of stage 2 of the Tour de France. Many of them were surely happy to see the fight for the breakaway not lasting as long as the day before. It only took about ten kilometers for Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Simon Clarke (Qhubeka-NextHash) and Jonas Koch (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert) to create the right breakaway, which later also included Ide Schelling (Bora-hansgrohe) and Jérémy Cabot (Team TotalEnergies). However, the bunch was just as cautious as the previous day. As they could not hope for the stage victory, the breakaway’s rider therefore fought for the mountains points and the green jersey points. In the back, Arnaud Démare got involved once again in the intermediate sprint to grab five more points in this classification. Halfway through the race, the positioning battle slowly started within the peloton and Jacopo Guarnieri made sure to keep David Gaudu out of trouble.
The tension further increased in the last hour of racing, and Miles Scotson, Bruno Armirail, Stefan Küng and also Arnaud Démare all did their part to keep their leader in a good position. “There was a lot at stake today, as it was an important stage with this double ascent of Mûr-de-Bretagne,” said Yvon. “Once again, the guys did a good teamwork. Everyone worked, including Arnaud, who never is reluctant to work for others. On the contrary, he is always ready to give a hand”. Thanks to the French champion in particular, David Gaudu was able to start Mûr-de-Bretagne’s first ascent in the first positions. Mathieu van der Poel then enlightened the race for the first time, but a reduced bunch came back together in the downhill. “In the final, we still had three riders to get the work done and position David”, explained Yvon Madiot. After a final pull from Stefan Küng, Valentin Madouas brought his regional mate in the front ahead of the final climb. “The goal was to get David in a good position at the bottom,” said Valentin. “Once that was done, all he had to do was hold as long as possible with the best and get the best possible result”.
“It was indescribable”, David Gaudu
In Mûr-de-Bretagne’s final ascent, no one was able to compete with Mathieu van der Poel, who took a solo win and the yellow jersey. Eight seconds behind, David Gaudu maintained his place among the main favourites of the race. “You can’t hide in such a climb”, said the young man. “We have the legs, or you don’t. From that point of view, it’s promising to finish with the best at the top. The little extra would have been to fight for victory, but we came across stronger and the Tour is still long. I may not be at 100% yet on punchy stages like this, but it’s also a good sign for the 3rd week”. After two stages in this 2021 Tour, David Gaudu sits in 10th position in the general classification, twenty-six seconds behind Van der Poel, but only thirteen behind Tadej Pogacar, third overall. “Things are going in the right way”, added Yvon. “We are in the right group, with the best, so the mission is fulfilled so far”.
David Gaudu was obviously satisfied from a sporting point of view on Sunday, but he also made the most of this day on a personal point of view. “I really enjoyed it, especially on the way back, to get back down to the bus,” he said in front of some enthusiastic supporters. “It was just happiness and euphoria. It was indescribable. I got to see my friends on the downhill and I felt a lot of emotions. I was at home and I knew the roads. It was amazing”. Still, the young man doesn’t lose sight of the major goal: “Two sprints are now coming for Arnaud. It will perhaps be a little quieter at the start, but we should be careful not to suffer any split”. “Tomorrow, we will switch to another strategy, for Arnaud”, resumed Yvon. “We’re going to work for him in the final, but I also think David can take advantage of Arnaud’s train to stay in a good position”. On the same note, Valentin Madouas concluded: “We have a united group, and not two dissociated groups. Everyone does his job for the good of the team. We saw that today, and tomorrow it will be up to us to help Arnaud raise his arms”.