There’s Much less Climbing in Stage 2 of the Tour de France, However It Received’t Be Straightforward

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Credit: ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT – Getty Images

Stage 2 – Perros-Guirec to Mûr-de-Bretagne – 183.5 km – Sunday June 27th

On stage 2 there is not quite as much climbing as on the opening day of the Tour de France 2021, but it is not easy. Nothing in Brittany is ever like that.

The route of the second stage is what the French call Accidenté or colorful casse-pattes (literally: broken leg): 183.5 km of constantly bumpy terrain, typically on small roads, through cities with lots of street furniture such as bollards and roundabouts. It’ll make for a nervous day of racing before we even get to the finish.

That destination is, of course, the Mûr-de-Bretagne, a category 3 climb that the tour organizers first used in 2011 and which loved the race so much that it has returned three times since then. The reason is clear: it is short (2 km) but steep – its official gradient of 6.9 percent hides a hard starting ramp of 10 percent for a full kilometer.

As on the last visit here in 2018, the drivers tackle it twice in a brutal finish lap. There is a fast, gently sloping entrance into the village and a preliminary climb of a smaller category 4 climb (the Cote du Village de Mûr-de-Bretagne) to prepare the riders for the first time on the Mur, and then a 15km circular course in front the target ascent.

Expect another early runaway as the riders chase KOM points, and likely a twitching, watchful peloton after Saturday’s horrific and silly crash that saw a fan looting for the TV cameras nearly a third of the pack Fall and nearly brought the race to a standstill. But the final 20-30km will definitely get hot as the riders try to stay ahead and avoid trouble.

Driver to look at

Expect the GC drivers to be active at the finish at the front. Gaps will be small to nonexistent, but revealing. In 2011, Cadel Evans took the stage and announced his upcoming overall victory. And in each of the other two placings here, the eventual winner was in the top 10. The threats of the stage include Pierre Latour from TotalEnergies, who was active on the first stage and in the past was just on this route but not quite on track was, and Mathieu van der Poel from Alpecin-Fenix, not to mention the winner of stage 1 and the yellow jersey Julian Alaphilippe.

The story goes on

Riders we can see in the Tour de France

When to see

Since the weather is supposed to be another relatively calm day – especially by Breton standards – we don’t expect any problems with cross winds and relays. That should mean that the race is balanced between the break and the pack for most of the day, shifting most of the action back to the final 20km or so, although, as we saw with the first leg and the falls , is never certain. If your stream loads by 11:00 a.m. Eastern, you should catch most of the fireworks.

This is how you see the Tour de France 2021

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