Tour de France 2021 – Stage 2 Photo Gallery and Report
Mathieu van der Poel won Stage 2 of the Tour de France on Sunday to claim the overall leader’s yellow jersey and strike a blow for his famous cycling family. The Dutch 25-year-old is the grandson of French cycling icon, the late Raymond Poulidor, who was a regular on the Tour de France podium and beloved of French fans despite never wearing the fabled yellow jersey.
Van der Poel dropped to the tarmac gasping for breath before weeping with his hands covering his face as the weight of Poulidor’s historic legacy was settled on two dramatic ascents of the same Brittany hill, the Mur-de-Bretagne.
“Imagine how he’d feel, he’s not here,” said van der Poel of Poulidor who died in 2019 at the age of 83. “This was my last chance on the Tour to do it, it’s so good.”
French fans saw their own hero Julian Alaphilippe lose the yellow jersey, but cheered the Dutchman both for his gung-ho passion and for his beloved grandfather.
Van der Poel won a maximum of 18 bonus seconds for crossing the summit in the lead twice, the first in an audacious attack 16km from the finish , and then winning by a clear margin after accelerating away from a chasing clutch of the most aggressive uphill-finishers in the world.
Defending champion Tadej Pogacar was second followed by Primoz Roglic, while Alaphilippe was fifth at eight seconds.