Julien Bernard and Lauren Stephens wins gripping mountain stage two of Tour de France

Lauren Stephens won a thrilling sprint finish on the mountainous stage two of the women’s virtual Tour de France

Julien Bernard and Lauren Stephens wins gripping mountain stage two of Tour de France

The American pipped Brit Joss Lowden (Drops) on the line, having chased back to the front of the race on the descent into the finish, with Erica Magnaldi (Ceratizit-WNT) in third and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle – Aquitaine Futuroscope) coming fourth.

Uttrup Ludwig and Magnaldi had broken away up the steep climb plonked in the middle of the stage, before a number of chasers got back to them on the 13km descent into the finish.

The Danish FDJ rider had tried to breakaway again in the run-in, using a power-up that made her un-draftable, but to no avail as a bunch sprint unfolded, with Magnaldi stamping on her pedals at home, opening up her sprint, before Joss Lowden came powering past with Stephens then pipping her on the line.

Tibco – Silicon Valley Bank move into first overall with a commanding lead thanks to a number of their riders taking high places on stage two, with Drops moving down to second but regaining the polka dot and young rider’s jersey to take into stage three next weekend.

Women's Virtual Tour de France Stage Two Top 10

1 Lauren Stephens (USA) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank 0:47:32
2 Joscelin Lowden (GBr) Drops
3 Enrica Magnaldi (Ita) Ceratizit-WNT
4 Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
5 Kristen Faulkner (USA) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank
6 Pauliena Rooijakkers (Ned) CCC-Liv 0:00:15
7 Sarah Gigante (Aus) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank
8 Ella Harris (NZl) Canyon-SRAM
9 Anna Henderson (GBr) Team Sunweb
10 Krista Doebel-Hickok (USA) Rally Cycling

General classification after stage 2

Team Result
1 Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank
2 Drops
3 Canyon-SRAM

The Frenchman won a nail-biting sprint finish on the mountainous second stage

Julien Bernard becomes the first Frenchman to win a stage of the Tour de France in 2020.

Although many believed Freddy Ovett’s (Israel Start-Up Nation) avatar had crossed the finish line first, it was the Trek-Segafredo rider who took the spoils on stage two of the men’s virtual Tour de France.

Cofidis’ Nicolas Edet came third, while Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling), back from his Paris-Nice leg break, was fourth, and Patrick Bevin (CCC) rounded out the top five.

Former winner Geraint Thomas (Ineos) animated the race in the early stages, but it was Bernard whose presence was obligatory at the post-race press conference and tasked with trotting out the dreaded “the Tour’s the Tour” soundbite.

“I’m very proud because a Tour stage is a Tour stage,” Bernard said after his victory. “Whether it’s virtual, I’m very happy to have won and also for Trek-Segafredo, we worked very well during the break and now we are ready for the real racing.”

Thanks to some savvy points-gathering at the intermediate sprint point and getting two riders into the top 10 for the stage, NTT remain in the yellow jersey of the general classification, leading Rally Cycling by almost 40 points ahead of next weekend’s stages three and four.

Men's Virtual Tour de France Stage Two Top 10

1 Julian Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo 0:41:12
2 Freddy Ovett (Aus) Israel Start-Up Nation
3 Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis
4 Michael Woods (Can) EF Pro Cycling
5 Patrick Bevin (NZl) CCC Team 0:00:01
6 Stefan De Bod (Saf) NTT Pro Cycling 0:00:02
7 Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
8 Louis Meintjes (Saf) NTT Pro Cycling
9 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Ineos 
10 Gianni Veremeersch (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix

General classification after stage 2

Team Result
1 NTT Pro Cycling 130pts
2 Rally Cycling 92
3 Alpecin-Fenix 89

VIDEO: Virtual Tour de France Stage Two

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