Jakobsen takes revenge through the wind
March 7 th 2022 - 16:03
Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) took victory in Orléans, after an eventful stage 2 of Paris-Nice 2022. The first attacks of the day led to an intense battle through the wind as Jumbo-Visma tried to hurt their rivals again, on the day after their collective show of strength in Mantes-la-Ville. Monday’s fights finished with many victims: the two-time winner of Paris-Nice Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) and Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) all lost 1’29’’ on the line, David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) dropped 9 minutes. But this time, Jakobsen sprinted to the win ahead of two riders from the Dutch squad, Wout van Aert and Christophe Laporte, who retained the yellow jersey. Stage 3 will take the riders through more tricky challenges with a hilly course towards Dun-Le-Palestel on the eve of the time-trial.
The peloton leave Auffargis with 151 riders and two non-starters: Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) and Rudy Barbier (Israel-Premier Tech), who both struggled on stage 1. With the polka dot jersey on his shoulders, Matthew Holmes (Lotto Soudal) is eager to bring battle on the early climbs of the day. The British baroudeur is the first attacker of the day. He’s quickly followed by Alexis Gougeard (B&B Hotels-KTM), a threatening rival for the KOM standings, and another rider from Lotto Soudal, Philippe Gilbert.
Holmes leads the way to the top of the cat-3 ascents of the Côte des 17 tournants (km 9.6) and Côte de Choisel (km 18) to tighten his grip on the polka dots. Meanwhile, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) is caught up in an early crash. The Belgian champion changes his bike and returns to the bunch after some 10km of chase behind a peloton led by Trek-Segafredo, already trying to turn the race upside down on exposed roads.
Calm returns in the bunch and the attackers bring their lead up to 6’ as they travel through the plains of Beauce. The maximum gap is reached at km 65 (6’10’’). Then, the race explodes as the riders face new open roads exposed to crosswinds from the East.
High speeds and tension
Tension and the pace seriously increase. The peloton splits in three parts with some 85km to go while riders hit the deck. Nils Eekhoff (Team DSM) is forced to abandon. David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) and Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates) are caught behind.
Following their show of strength form day 1, Jumbo-Visma are among the most involved to split the bunch. Ineos Grenadiers and Trek-Segafredo also appear willing to hurt their rivals. Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) and Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) also take turns. The battle goes on for more than 30km, with more riders dropped due to crashes (Girmay, McNulty, Almeida…) or mechanicals (G. Martin, riding alongside the defending champion Schachmann).
Crosswinds, crosswinds and more crosswinds!
The early attackers are caught with 63km to go by a very reduced bunch, and more splits occur. Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco), Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Bryan Coquard (Cofidis) are among the riders dropped at that moment. They return to a 30-man front group 43km away from the finish line.
The pace drops a bit, allowing the chasers to get closer ahead of the final 20km. The second bunch, mostly led by Movistar for Garcia Cortina and Jorgenson, trail by 25’’, while the gap to Schachmann and Martin drops down to 1’10’’ after it went over two minutes during the stage.
Stefan Bissegger (EF Education EasyPost) launches a new attack with 14km to go, but the yellow jersey Christophe Laporte reacts and everyone follow. The Saiss powerhouse goes again with 5km to go. He manages to open a gap of 5’’ but Fabio Jakobsen still had three teammates to reel in Bissegger with 1km to go.
Laporte surged to the front with Van Aert right on his wheel inside the final kilometre. But Jakobsen’s speed granted him victory in front of the two Jumbo-Visma riders. Laporte still retains the yellow jersey and Roglic has won more time on rivals such as Martin, Schachmann, McNulty, Almeida, Gaudu...