[QODLink]
Cycling

Bakelants takes the yellow jersey

Belgian rider wins second stage of the Tour de France on his debut race with a thrilling fightback in the final stages.

Last Modified: 30 Jun 2013 17:17
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Bakelants edged out Slovakia's Peter Sagan and Poland's Michal Kwiatkowski in the final seconds [AFP]

Belgian rider Jan Bakelants pulled away close to the finish line to win Sunday's second stage of the Tour de France and take the race leader's yellow jersey for the first time in his career.

Bakelants made his move with a few hundred metres remaining and the RadioShack rider did enough to withstand a late charge from Slovak sprinter Peter Sagan.

"It's difficult to believe what happened today, it's fantastic,'' said Bakelants, who had a knee operation earlier this year.

"Today it may be the first and last time I ever wear the yellow jersey.''

Rolling hills

German sprinter Marcel Kittel started the day in the lead after winning Saturday's crash-marred first stage, but the rolling hills took their toll and he finished nearly 18 minutes behind in 169th spot.

"It's a difficult stage and I'm a sprinter, that's why I suffer,'' said Kettel, who retained the sprinter's green jersey.

"I had goose bumps when I went up the hill. So many people were screaming my name. But we were expecting to lose it (the yellow jersey).''

The 156-kilometre trek started from Bastia and after four moderate climbs finished in Ajaccio, where French emperor and military mastermind Napoleon Bonaparte was born in 1769.

The day's last climb up Cote du Salario was much shorter than the other ones but far steeper.

By the time the pack reached the foot of it, Kittel and British sprinter Cavendish were among a small band of strugglers drifting further and further away.

Spaniard Juan Antonio Flecha and Cyrille Gautier attacked up the final ascent, and Tour favourite Chris Froome then launched a surprise attack to go after Gautier when the Frenchman pulled away. But Froome's attack fizzled out and the main pack swallowed him up.

The day after more than a dozen riders crashed, a small white dog ran out into the road some 4 kilometres from the line and a potentially dangerous situation was narrowly avoided by a matter of seconds.

A bystander started to run after the dog and then changed his mind, and the dog just managed to reach the other side of the road before the marauding pack passed through.

Monday's third stage is the last of the Corsican trio, and is again hilly, with four moderate climbs dotted along the 145.5-kilometer route from Ajaccio to Calvi.

417

Source:
AP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.

Featured
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
President Poroshenko arrives in Washington on Thursday with money and military aid on his mind, analysts say.
Early players in private medicine often focused on volume over quality, turning many Chinese off for-profit care.
Al Jazeera asked people across Scotland what they think about the prospect of splitting from the United Kingdom.
Blogger critical of a lack of government transparency faces defamation lawsuit from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
join our mailing list