Riding is Life


Tour de France stage 2 report: Lafay breaks Cofidis’ dry streak

The French rider's late sneak attack caught his rivals by surprise, and delivered the biggest prize his team has had in years.

Lafay’s surprise attack yielded Cofidis’ first Tour stage win in 15 years. Photo © Szymon Gruchalski Cor Vos

Victor Lafay took a stunning win on stage 2 of the Tour de France with a fierce surprise attack inside the last kilometer. The French rider on Cofidis hung with the favorites on the pivotal climb of the Jaizkibel and stayed tucked in on the descent and flat run-in to the finish in San Sebastian, biding his time as a flurry of attacks from others went and were re-caught. The unexpected move seemed to catch the rest of the group off-guard, and Wout van Aert opened his sprint too late, with Lafay holding out for the win. Here’s what you need to know:

How it happened

Brief results

  1. Victor Lafay (Cofidis)
  2. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma)
  3. Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates)
  4. Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers)
  5. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) all same time

General Classification

  1. Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates)
  2. Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) @ :06
  3. Simon Yates (Jayco-AlUla) @ same time
  4. Victor Lafay (Cofidis) @ :12
  5. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) @ :16

The Basques appear fond of this bike racing thing

It’s common for the Grand Depart to feature large crowds, and the Basque region has absolutely held up its reputation as a hotbed of the sport. Photo © Szymon Gruchalski / Cor Vos

Brief analysis

A familiar sight at the Tour, but Vingegaard shut down any thought of working with his rival so early in the race. Photo © Bernard Papon / Cor Vos

Up next: stage 3 preview

After two days of fierce racing among the favorites, the Tour should calm down slightly on stage 3, a 193.5 km ride from Amorebieta-Etxiano to Bayonne. On paper, it’s a sprint stage, with four smaller climbs (three Category 3s and one Category 4) before a flattish final half. The sprinters have been saving energy for it, so we expect a pretty motivated bunch that will stymie any breakaway attempts. That said, ahem, the route does go along the coast of the Bay of Biscay for long portions, which raises the possibility of crosswinds. The forecast right now calls for mostly light winds that should be a cross-tail from the left. The other wrinkle that could upset a sprint finish is a sharp 180 bend in a roundabout at 2 km to go. Should a late flyer go clear, or a crash disrupt the pack, we could see another surprise winner.

Quote of the day

“I just waited for them to slow down and then I hit them from behind. There was some hesitation and they were looking at each other.”

-Victor Lafay on how he waited patiently for a late attack

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Further reading

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