• Tour de France, Stage Two

Bakelants beats the peloton by a second

ESPN staff
June 30, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Mark Cavendish did not take to the climbs, while yellow jersey holder Marcel Kittel finished well behind © AP
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Jan Bakelants claimed an incredibly tight second stage of the Tour de France, edging the chasing peloton by a second to claim the yellow jersey.

The RadioShack Leopard rider led a remarkable solo attack to the line, but looked to tire as the peloton gained - yet somehow held on by a solitary second to take the win in a thrilling finish.

Peter Sagan took second place ahead of Michal Kwiatkowski of the Omega team in third.

British duo Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish could not challenge late on, but David Millar continued his good start and now sits one second behind Belgian Bakelants in the overall standings.

Sunday saw glorious weather on the island of Corsica, as riders - seemingly bemused from the bizarre ending to Stage One on Saturday where a bus became stuck under the finish line - took up the 156km jaunt from Bastia to Ajaccio, which included three climbs.

Stage One winner Marcel Kittel donned the yellow jersey, with second placed Alexander Kristoff in the green jersey. Youngster Danny Van Poppel was awarded the white jersey after his third place finish at Bastia, while Juan Jose Lobato wore the polka dot jersey after his win in the solitary climb.

Belkin's Lars Boom was allowed to push clear early on, along with David Veilleux (Europcar), Biel Kadri (AG2R) and Ruben Perez Moreno (Euskaltel) - the leading quartet soon established a two-minute lead over the peloton as they approached the intermediate sprint stage.

Boom made it successive intermediate wins when he was allowed to storm clear without challenge, taking the 20 points on offer in the hunt for the green jersey.

Andre Greipel (Lotto) was the first of the peloton to cross the sprint line, winning 11 points, while Cavendish had to settle for eighth behind rival and defending green jersey champion Sagan.

With the peloton closing on the breakaway, attentions turned to the polka dot classification in the first climb. Ruben Perez attempted to keep the jersey within the Euskaltel team but was pipped in a sprint by Boom, who stole the first two points on offer in the King of the Mountains race.

Kadri was clearly unhappy with Boom and took up the lead before reaching the peak of the second climb to score two points - Cavendish, meanwhile, was struggling with the ascent and dropped out the back of the peloton.

Kadri weakened and looked to be out of the second climb after suffering a mechanical fault - but somehow the Frenchman worked his way back into contention with Pierre Rolland.

Rolland took five points for the second climb, with Kadri second and a furious Brice Feillu third - Feillu's attempts to pass Kadri before the peak thwarted by the encroaching crowds.

With Team Sky leading the peloton, Cannondale made their move for Sagan with the final one kilometre climb in mind. Meanwhile Kittel, in the yellow jersey, fell over nine minutes behind the lead group.

The pace quickened through the streets of Ajaccio as the main group, including Froome, Alberto Contador, Cadel Evans, Alejandro Valverde and Andy Schleck, approached the final 8.9% gradient climb, 15km from the finish.

Froome stormed to the front, challenging Cyril Gautier of Europcar for the final King of the Mountains points - Gautier reaching the summit before the Brit, before both battled it out on the descent with Sagan.

Froome was soon caught as six riders went clear with 6km left, Cannondale still pushing Sagan to the finish as a loose white dog caused the chasing peloton to swerve clear.

However, Bakelants took the initiative and launched his attack with 1km to go, somehow holding off the chasing pack as he crossed the line for his first professional win in five years.

Stage Two, Bastia - Ajaccio
1. Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack Leopard 3:43:11
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale 0:00:01
3. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma
4. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida
5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky
6 . Julien Simon (Fra) Sojasun
7. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana
8. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge
9. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
10. Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM

General classification after Stage Two
1. Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack Leopard 8:40:03
2. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Sharp 0:00:01
3. Julien Simon (Fra) Sojasun
4. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge
5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky
6. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma
8. Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM
9. Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R
10. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team

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