The Press in the Tour de France |  The Quebecois emerge gracefully from the second stage despite the winds

The Press in the Tour de France | The Quebecois emerge gracefully from the second stage despite the winds

(Nyborg) Antoine Duchesne didn’t take the time to admire the wheat fields and the strait of the Great Belt and its wind turbines on Saturday at the final of the second stage of the Tour de France.

Posted yesterday at 6:04 pm

Simon Drouin

Simon Drouin

The Groupama-FDJ cyclist had only one mission in mind: to keep his eyes forward to avoid worrying his leader, David Gaudu.

“Rarely have I been so focused,” said the Quebecois at the end of the event where everyone returned home safe and sound, along with the winner, Fabio Jakobsen.

“I did not look or talk to anyone during the day. It was stressful, I was stressed, you really had to be very attentive. »

Approaching the intermediate sprint, with just under 80km to go, Duchesne was at the front of the pack. The runners began to brush, for fear of the announced lateral winds. Finally, false alarm.

“David likes to run up front. That was a kind of slogan. We didn’t want to make excuses. We are several pilots who are for that. We didn’t really have crosswind information. It was important for us to be well placed. »

Aside from the crash involving yellow jersey Yves Lampaert, the 17km bridge crossing was largely uneventful. With the strong headwind, the peloton braked in the second stage, waiting for the peloton to sprint.

“It was a really spectacular venue,” said Steve Bauer, sports director of Israel-Premier Tech. In a crosswind, it could have been crazy. In the end, it was a massive sprint as planned. And we have a noble winner in Jakobsen. »

The Israeli-Quebecan team got a little spooked when Chris Froome charged into the runners lying on the ground at kilometer 2.5. Fortunately, the Brit avoided the worst.

When he thought to join the sprint, Guillaume Boivin was also slowed down by the pile, dodging him. in extremis.

“These guys are fast, but with the wind in your head, if you take the right wheel, you never know,” he said, sitting on one of the bus trunks. You can make a small result. Being caught behind the fall was pretty much the end of my day. »


Hugo Houle finished the day at 9:00 range.

Hugo Houle, went to the line without stopping, but did not join the hostilities, watching Jakobsen’s victory from behind.

“I was a little too far away, I had no interest in going to the sprint,” the 21-year-old Houle On the rope.

A “calculated risk”

The two Quebecers of the IPT took care of the grain of their leader Jakob Fuglsang, without forcing the note too much.

“Fortunately, it wasn’t as difficult as I expected,” Houle explained. Obviously there was the usual stress at the start of the Tour de France, with lots of people, noise, changes of direction at the start of the stage. I was pretty relaxed at the back of the pack all day. Some formations required a lot of energy to stay in place and prevent any falls or breaks. »

His teammate Krists Neilands had a small mishap when visiting the cobblestones during a passage through a culvert with 40km to go. But the Latvian got up quickly.


Guillaume Boivin after checking the signatures

“We don’t have a five-star favorite for the general classification and no sprinters,” the 39-year-old Boivin We took a calculated risk, so to speak, by staying behind because it was relatively easier, even if the stage was still jumpy. we did it well ”

If Houle and Duchesne felt great, Boivin admitted he had heavy legs for the first 100km.

“I think it will do me good, a long outing to put aside the body’s journey. I’ll take the first three days here as it goes, then with the transfer day off on Monday, hopefully I’ll be in full control. [cette semaine]. »

Michael Woods was relieved to have gotten through this second stage with no worries. “For a Tour stage, it wasn’t too dangerous,” said the Ottawa rider. But there were crashes and the peloton was still stressed. I managed to do my best. »

With another sprint finish scheduled at Sønderborg on Sunday, the four Canadians are unlikely to play a leading role in stage three. Unless the borders give Boivin ideas, that he still hasn’t received his bikes and suitcase from him, lost somewhere between Montreal, Toronto and Copenhagen.


We had to push through the dense Nyborg crowd to get from the press room to the team coaches, stationed a kilometer from the finish line. On the run, please, because the runners don’t stay. A quick shower and the whole group is ready to leave for the next hotel. The first to arrive, Guillaume Boivin, left quickly enough to give an interview. Hugo Houle, had to stay near the finish area to undergo doping control. When he returned, the bus was about to leave. Now is not the time for an in-depth interview.

Matthews must return to Quebec

The defending Grand Prix Cycliste du Québec champion will return to Canada to try to double his lead on September 9. Michael Matthews has indeed put the only two WorldTour events held in the Americas on his schedule, BikeExchange sporting director Matt White confirmed ahead of the start of the second stage of the Tour de France on Saturday morning in Roskilde. A year before his success on the Grande Allée, the 31-year-old Aussie had scored twice in winning both Quebec and Montreal, imitating compatriot Simon Gerrans (2014). Matthews took 33me stage range judged in Nyborg. Belgian Wout van Aert, second in Friday’s opening time trial in Copenhagen, also put the two Quebec GPs on his agenda for the first time.

A pat on the fingers

Stefan Küng, Antoine Duchesne’s teammate at Groupama, gave Team EF’s Reuben Guerreiro a little pat on the helmet. For his gesture, the Swiss was fined 500 Swiss francs and lost 20 UCI points.

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