Many teams were worried about stage 2 of the Tour de France. Due to a very unique final, contested on an 18-km long bridge towards Nyborg, the risk of echelons was looming. It did not happen though. Although the race proved to be nervous, the weather conditions prevented any big moves. Therefore, Fabio Jakobsen won a bunch sprint while all the Groupama-FDJ riders were given the same time after a few crashes and splits in the last two kilometres. After falling himself, Stefan Küng got up unscathed.

After a wet start in the streets of Copenhagen, the Tour de France peloton found the sun again on Saturday morning at the start of the second stage, thirty kilometres away from the Danish capital. In Roskilde, the riders were able to measure the enthusiasm of the local public, which followed them throughout this quite straightforward day. Magnus Cort (EF Education-Easy Post), Pierre Rolland, Cyril Barthe (B&B Hôtels-KTM) and Sven Erik Bystrom (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert) went right from the gun, and the sprinters’ teams barely let them take a two-minute lead. The quartet was able to fight for the first points in the mountain classification, the Cort-Bystrom duo then went, and the Norwegian later stood as the last survivor. Shortly before entering the last sixty kilometres, a single man was leading the way as tension began to rise within the peloton. “We expected a nervous race given the course”, explained Philippe Mauduit. “It was super technical, there were a lot of changes of direction, small roads, bigger ones. In short, everything that can make a peloton nervous. We wanted to ride in front, because we needed to avoid the risk of crashing and being surprised in the open sections, where there could have been accelerations and splits. The guys managed this pretty well all day, rode in the front and stayed alongside David”.

“The goal is fulfilled”, Philippe Mauduit

Thanks to the work of his rouleurs teammates in particular, the French leader always remained in the first part of the peloton, away from trouble. “It was not easy with the public on the side of the road”, pointed out Stefan Küng. “There were a lot of people taking photos, so we really had to keep our eyes open and communicate with the guys to stay together. The team rode well, so we spent a good day”. After the last breakaway rider was caught with thirty kilometres to go, the bunch became even more nervous approaching the much talked about Great Belt bridge, eighteen kilometres long, which many feared could have a real impact on the race. “There was some tension because we got all fooled by the weather forecast yesterday”, said Philippe. “So, we weren’t sure of anything”. Consequently, the fight for positioning did take place, and the peloton calmed down a bit only when it got on the bridge and took the head wind. A few crashes still happened before reaching Nyborg, but none echelon. A full peloton was therefore ready to get to the line, but a massive crash two kilometres from the finish split the group into several pieces. Stefan Küng landed on a mass of riders as Fabio Jakobsen won the sprint a few hundreds of metres further. “Several crashes happened, and Stefan was involved in the very last one, but nothing serious”, assured Philippe Mauduit.

David Gaudu joined the line a few minutes after the winner, along with several teammates, but all were given the same time as Jakobsen. “We are relieved that everyone is safe and that this first stage is done”, commented David. “It was still nervous, everyone wanted to be in a good position because everyone wanted to avoid crashes. The whole team did a great job so I should thank them. Here’s one stage done here in Denmark, there’s still one left tomorrow.” “The goal is fulfilled”, added Philippe. “These stages will leave a mark in the riders’ legs, but it was important to manage it well because it could have been a very dangerous stage”. On Sunday, the peloton will head towards Sønderborg for another possible bunch sprint, which will conclude this Danish’s Grand Départ.

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