It’s a rapid descent but the surface is good as we see Tony Martin leading the peloton with 117km to go go. The gap to the break is at 2’02.
The peloton crest the top of the climb 2’12 down on the break with Bahrain McLaren and Jumbo Visma now setting the pace. UAE can relax, their job is done for the day as we see some splits in the break with Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale) joined by three more riders.
Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale) has gone clear though and he takes max points in the KOM competition.
And Ewan is the next rider to be dropped by the bunch with 122km to go. He’ll come back on the descent.
Nizzolo is off the back and he’s struggling. He also came down in the crashes yesterday but the break are beginning to close in on the summit, with 2.2km to go with the time gap at 1’45.
Sagan drops back to the team car and picks up some food with the break now 4km from the summit of the first major climb of the day.
Richie Porte was off the back for a quick break but he’s being paced back by the world champion as we continue to climb with around 6km to go until we reach the summit. Still no work from the Bora duo at the the back of the break.
Peter Sagan and Lukas Pöstleberger, (Bora-Hansgrohe), Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale), Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), Anthony Perez (Cofidis) and Michael Gogl (NTT) have 2’06 of a lead with 128km to go.
Toms Skujins, another contender for having one of the best kits in the race, does a turn and then calls for the team car. Trek are leading the teams’ classification, so all their riders are wearing yellow helmets today.
We’ve still got 8km of the climb to go and the pace is relatively gentle, it has to be said. Sagan and Pöstleberger have gone back to not working, while UAE Team Emirates continue to tap out a steady pace. The yellow jersey looks good.
Adam Yates drifts back, takes a bidon and empties the contents over his head. On paper, today could suit him if he can go away on the final climb. Not sure he has the form, however.
Gogl looks back and shares a joke with the two Bora riders but the gap continues to come down because there’s no real impetus here. There are lots of KOM points at the top of the climb though, so there’s a clear incentive.
UAE have reduced the break’s advantage to 2’14 with 134km to go. The yellow jersey is neatly tucked in behind his train, although it’s strange to see Kristoff being paced up the mountain in this fashion.
Is this the best jersey in the peloton? Mads Pedersen blend of rainbow and white jersey?
A different jersey for @Mads__Pedersen today but still with some nice 🌈 details 👌#TDF2020 pic.twitter.com/kfAK0CHsvEAugust 30, 2020
David de la Cruz is suffering. He also fell yesterday and on the lower slopes of the climb he’s slipping back. It’s going to be such a tough day for a number of riders today after yesterday’s ordeal.
Onto the climb and the break, you feel, just don’t have complete harmony. Bora are coming through but there’s no real intent and the gap is just hanging there at three minutes with 137km to go.
Mirror image: we can see Trek line out on the left and EF Pro Cycling just behind them, with both teams shielding their pint-sized climbers, Richie Porte and Sergio Higuita, respectively.
A bit of a false flat but we will be climbing again soon enough with the Col de la Colmiane, which is our first 1st cat climb in this year’s race.
Peter Sagan and Lukas Pöstleberger, (Bora-Hansgrohe), Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale), Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), Anthony Perez (Cofidis) and Michael Gogl (NTT) have a lead of 3’01 with 148km to go.
UAE continue to set the pace as the road slowly starts to climb as we see a number of riders go back to the peloton to pick up bidons.
The gap is creeping towards three minutes, which is probably bridgeable for riders who might want to come across on the first major climb of the day. It will be very interesting to see who rides on the front once we start climbing. UAE have the race lead but it wouldn’t be a great look if they dropped their own race leader.
The Bora riders, after their little break, have started to contribute once again. So we’re back up to seven working riders in the break.
Peter Sagan and Lukas Pöstleberger, (Bora-Hansgrohe), Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale), Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), Anthony Perez (Cofidis) and Michael Gogl (NTT).
They have 2’29 with 160km to go.
The two Bora riders have stopped working in the break, in which case they might be asked to sit up.
The slowing in pace from the peloton has allowed Gaudu to come back as UAE set the pace now on the front of the peloton with the gap to the break at 2’15.
The break, minus Trentin, are carrying on and they have a lead of 1’44 with 166km to go.
Robert Gesink, another rider who fell yesterday, is off the back of the peloton. Gaudu is somewhere out there too.
Sagan against Trentin and it’s the Italian who takes it with a very strong sprint. He then needs to stop for a rear wheel change.
Here we go… intermediate bunch sprint coming up. Can Sagan get it done?
One QuickStep rider finds himself on the wrong side of the barrier on the main road. That’s not good.
The peloton aren’t letting the break settle as we see more of Gaudu behind the team car. The bunch for a second do ease up with the sprint coming up in about 3km.
It’s Sunweb and UAE who are chasing as we see that Gaudu is already 50 seconds back.
Who is in the break?
Peter Sagan and Lukas Pöstleberger, (Bora-Hansgrohe), Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale), Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Michael Gogl (NTT) and Matteo Trentin (CCC). They have 18 seconds with 176km to go.
This Sagan/Trentin group has 14 seconds and it’s a really strong group. Tony Martin is marking moves right now as we see more shots of Gaudu. He’s trying to stretch his back but he can’t even do that. Right now he’s behind the team car and it’s simply heartbreaking.
The young French climber is going backwards and he’s in real pain. He crashed yesterday and has a problem with his back and it just looks like he can’t put the power down on the pedals. The FDJ car comes up to talk to him bit looking at this… it’s only going to go one way.
I can only think that Jumbo Visma want the stage but at the back of the bunch Gaudu is dropped and he’s in trouble already.
I think even Sagan has made the split and made it into the Trentin group and Jumbo Visma are now chasing.
Bora are chasing things because it looks like they want to take the intermediate sprint points. Trentin is on the attack though.
And we’re racing and already we have attacks with five riders going clear. Cofidis and AG2R are pushing things along.
We’re about to race but Prudhomme is waiting to allow Van Garderen to come back from an early bike change. The American has to stop again though, there’s another problem with his bike.
Tony Martin is now on the front of the bunch and he’s smiling too after yesterday’s wise intervention when it came to neutralizing the stage. He, like the rest of the field, will be hoping for a less tense stage today, although it will be a tough one given the terrain.
Sivakov right now is just near the back of the bunch and easing himself into racing. He’ll surely have the day off today as he tries to recover after yesterday’s two crashes. He’s wearing bandages on both sides.
Still rolling through the mixed zone at the start of stage 2. The yellow jersey is chatting with riders around him, clearly enjoying the experience. The intermediate sprint today comes after only 16km and it could be the only chance for a number of sprinters to pick up points. Could we see that play a part or will the break go from the gun?
🇫🇷 #TDF2020 Good afternoon from a sunny Nice! 👋 pic.twitter.com/u3925I0jBxAugust 30, 2020
Still rolling through the mixed zone, so a chance to show you these comments from Bradley Wiggins, who thinks that after yesterday, riders unwilling to take risks in bad conditions should consider retiring, which is strange because he didn’t quit immediately after the 2013 Giro d’Italia, and conditions yesterday were a lot worse. Anyway, story is here.
Kristoff has gone for an all-yellow attire today but he doesn’t have a yellow bike so it’s not complete overkill. Bit on Kristoff, seems to be some sympathy from some commentators that suggest he’s some plucky underdog who hasn’t maybe had great results. Utter tosh. He’s won four stages in the Tour, he’s won Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders, and he won Gent-Wevelgem last year. He’s class.
The riders are rolling out now and the conditions are lovely. Sagan is in green, of course he is, because Kristoff is wearing yellow. The neutralized zone is 10km in length so it’s a decent little warm-up for the peloton this afternoon.
A number of teams – including Ineos – were warming up on the rollers by their bus. It’s a clear indication that we could see some really intense racing right from the start. Not sure we’ll see a lot from Sivakov, who will be hoping to simply recover as much as possible after his two falls on stage 1. He really was in the wars yesterday but he battled through and finished the stage. Fair play.
Who do you think will win?
It’s a wide open stage to be honest but who do you think will win? You can let me know on Twitter and we’ll post your picks right here on our live coverage.
Valls, Degenkolb and Gilbert are the three non-starters after crashes yesterday, after the stage had to be neutralized by the increasingly popular Tony Martin. For a full run down on how fell and their injuries, you should read Stephen Farrand’s comprehensive story, right here. The conditions were awful and we’ll talk about them in greater length later on as the stage evolves. Luckily, we have gorgeous blue skies overhead today and the riders should remain dry. Sun’s out, masks out. We’re about ten minutes away from racing on stage 2 of the 2020 Tour de France.
#TDF2020 Sign on ✍️✅Almost go time for stage 2! pic.twitter.com/mqTpYtqTkLAugust 30, 2020
By the way, don’t forget to bookmark this page for all your Tour de France needs. It’s got everything from news, results, videos, interviews, features, photos and blogs. If you don’t bookmark this page and make it your homepage for the next three weeks you’re a terrible person. I don’t want to sound harsh but that’s just the way it is.
🚲 Stage 2 / Étape 2 🚲🚩 @VilledeNice🏁 @VilledeNice⠀📏 186km⏰ 13:00 CET > 18:08 CET⠀⛰️ 2×1️⃣c, 1×2️⃣c💚 km16#TDF2020 #NiceCyclingParadise #TDFunited pic.twitter.com/jbwDO0OpwoAugust 30, 2020
The stage is 186km in length but it’s the ascents and not the distance that will do the damage today – especially after so many riders crashed yesterday. Three have already gone home and we’re hearing that Wout Poels is starting with a fractured rib.
These climbs will be familiar to anyone who is a fan of the early-season stage race, Paris-Nice, especially the scenic Col d’Eze that is an institution for the ‘Race to the Sun.’
Consider this is a bold statement from organisers ASO as the second day of racing features two category 1 mountains – the Col de la Colmiane at the 63.5km mark and Col de Turini at 99.5 kilometres on the route. Both were tackled in the 1973 Tour, while the Colmiane was on the route of the stage to Pra-Loup in 1975 where Eddy Merckx wore his last ever yellow jersey.
The Col d’Èze is a punchy haul out of the eastern end of Nice and the peloton will climb it in the last quarter of the stage, then loop back and ride up the first half of the climb before turning off at the bonus sprint at Col des Quatre Chemins with 9km to go. While the two big climbs will split the field, the real action will come with the punchy finale and bonus sprint, sure to offer an opportunity for a rider like Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep).
Alexander Kristoff starts in yellow for the first time in his career after taking an impressive win on stage 1 but it’ll be even more impressive if the Norwegian can hang on today because ASO have fired their first volley of mountains into the race on stage 2. It’s day for the GC riders, and probably a reduced bunch sprint.
We’re about 30 minutes away from the official start of the stage but the weather has improved on yesterday’s heavy rain, which is something for the riders after the terrible conditions that the had to endure 24 hours ago.
Hello and welcome to our live coverage from stage 2 of the Tour de France. Once again we start and finish in Nice but today we go into the mountains for a day that will test the GC contenders.