Mathieu van der Poel honors Grandfather Raymond Poulidor with the Yellow Jersey
Van der Poel averaged over 30km/h up the Mur de Bretagne, incredible piece of riding after his initial attack up there the first time round, to win the stage, take the Yellow Jersey and honor his Grandfather's Memory
Van der Poel attacked (for a second time) on the second ascent on the Mur de Bretagne and got a gap that no other GC contenders could close.
Behind, Pogacar took second and Roglic third, then a small gap to a 3rd group 23 seconds behind containing Geraint Thomas.
Van der Poel celebrated his stage win by pointing in the air dedicating his win to his Grandfather.
Van der Poel's grandfather is the late Raymond Poulidor, nicknamed "Pou-Pou", he too was a French professional racing cyclist, who rode for Mercier his entire career. His career was distinguished, despite coinciding with two great riders - Jacques Anquetil and Eddy Merckx. This underdog position may have been the reason Poulidor was a favourite of the public. He was known as "The Eternal Second", because he never won the Tour de France despite finishing in second place three times, and in third place five times. Despite his consistency, he never once wore the yellow jersey as leader of the general classification in 14 Tours, of which he completed 12. He did win one Grand Tour, the 1964 Vuelta a España.
A shocked Van der Poel said afterwards, "I have no words. I gambled a little bit and I played everything I got the first time already. I knew I had to get bonus seconds if I wanted the yellow jersey, and I knew it was the last chance to get the yellow jersey. It's incredible."
"The last 500 meters were really painful but I knew that I had to keep on going as fast as I could just to get the gap. I didn’t know until five minutes after the finish that I had the yellow jersey. It’s unbelievable."
"Imagine if my grandfather Raymond was here, how proud he would be?"
"I wish he could have been here and had a photo together, him in his yellow sponsors shirt and me in the leader's one, so sad he's not here," said Van der Poel.
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.
Despite the intense Schelling/Perez KOM Polka Dot battle in the breakaway, Van der Poel also took the KOM jersey because he won both the KOMs on Mur de Bretagne.
Four Riders abandon 2021 Tour de France
Out of the 23 teams, four are incomplete with their riders withdrawing from the 2021 Tour de France. Movistar’s Marc Soler withdrew with two broken elbows, while Groupama-FDJ’s Ignatas Konovalovas was left unconscious after his crash. Jasha Sütterlin of Team DSM was the first rider to withdraw from the race due to a wrist injury. B&B-KTM ’s Cyril Lemoine, 38, also departed with four broken ribs.
VIDEO: 2021 Tour de France Stage 2 Highlights
2021 Tour de France Stage 2 Top 10
1 Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix 4:18:30
2 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:06
3 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:06
4 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:06
5 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:08
6 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:08
7 Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:08
8 Sergio Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education-Nippo 0:00:08
9 Pierre Latour (Fra) TotalEnergies 0:00:08
10 Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious 0:00:08
2021 Tour de France General classification after Stage 2
1 Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix 8:57:25
2 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:08
3 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:13
4 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:14
5 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:24
6 Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious 0:00:26
7 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:26
8 Sergio Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education-Nippo 0:00:26
9 Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:26
10 David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:26