Tour On Its Way
The 100th Tour de France kicked off on Saturday. World’s number one tourist destination will not spread over the French borders this year. The 21 stages, covering up a total of 3,404 km, will not only show heroic actions of the best cyclists of the world but brings the viewers along beautiful landscapes and several UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Porto-Vecchio on Corsica, was Saturday the scene for the start of the ‘Grand Boucle’. The Tour will stay on the island of Corsica for three days.
The first stage seemed to run smoothly until in the last 12 kilometers hell broke loose for many favorites. This gave an unexpected turn to the expected sprint with men like Cavendish and Greipel. It was the German Marcel Kittel of the Dutch team Argos-Shimano, who won the sprint and he not only won the stage, but he could put on the yellow jersey as leader of the general classification, as well as the green jersey and the white jersey.
The youngest rider in the peloton, the 19-year-old Dutch Danny van Poppel, surprisingly ended third in Bastia. So, on the podium he was wearing the white jersey, since Kittel had to appear in yellow.
Dutch national champion Johnny Hoogerland was not lucky again and hit the asphalt during stage 1. With fifteen stitches on his elbow he was not thinking about stopping and the bold rider started on Sunday in Bastia.
The second stage was not a flat stage as what is usually the case in the first days of the Tour. Stage 2 featured three climbs and the fresh legs gave rise to many attacks. The last attack of Chavanel, who celebrated his 34th birthday, was chased down by five riders: Bakelants (RTL), Izaguirre (EUS), Mori (LAM), Fuglsang (AST) and the always combative Flecha (VCD). The peloton, on high speed, absorbed all of them except for the Belgian Jan Bakelants.
Bakelants won the second stage and this happened to be also his first victory as a professional cyclist. Wearing the yellow jersey, the happy Bakelants commented: “It was maybe not a beautiful and stylish sight, but I really went very fast.”
RadioShack team mate and team leader Andy Schleck says that the team is going to do its best effort to keep the yellow jersey as long as possible on the shoulders of Bakelants. "It is unbelievable what Jan has done."
Marcel Kittel lost a lot of time and lost the yellow jersey when he arrived in Ajaccio. But he will start in Ajaccio on monday wearing the green jersey. The city of Ajaccio is well known as the place of birth of emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and is nowadays a cultural center.
The third stage and the last day in Corsica is also not an easy trip for the 198 riders. The 145 km long stage from Ajaccio to Calvi is relatively short and the peloton is to be expected to race fast from the very first minute. The 3rd stage leads over four climbs of which the ‘Col de Marsolino’, a climb of the second category, is situated at only 13 km before the finish at Calvi.