Marion Rousse was waiting for him. Departure from Meaux obliges, the director of the Tour de France Women knew that she would be inducted into the local brotherhood of the Compagnons du Brie. It was done this Monday, July 25 in the morning under the amused gaze of a Christian Prudhomme, the director of the men’s Tour, who, although a member of the said brotherhood had preferred to keep his shirt rather than put on the traditional cream-colored jacket and the headgear in the form of the specialty of the host city…
Still, it wasn’t really regional gastronomy that stirred the peloton before the kick-off of this 2e stage, 100% seine-et-marnaise. At first glance, the route promised a mass sprint, like the day before on the Champs-Elysées in Paris, even if the final looked more delicate than it looked – with a first passage on the finish line at kilometer 116 before entering the medieval city of Provins for a loop of some 20 kilometres.
“On paper, this is not the most exciting step”, summed up Audrey Cordon Ragot before the start. But, also prophesied the champion of France: « she could be ». Because the wind was blowing along the 136 kilometers to the finish. « There are gusts at 30 km / h, it’s more than enough to make the show »insisted the runner of the Trek-Segafredo formation.
And the show, in this case, there was, partly provided by Marianne Vos, 35 years old. The Dutchwoman, leader of the Jumbo-Visma team, knew how to play elements to win the stage victory, the yellow jersey and the green jersey.
The native of ‘s-Hertogenbosch was part of a group of six riders who left the peloton at the start of the final loop. “We knew we had to stay focused, we had to be careful, especially on the last lap because the roads were narrow and the wind was blowing. To be honest, I didn’t expect the breakaway to go all the way. »she admitted on arrival.
« It’s not a revenge, it’s just a very very good day »rejoiced the Dutchwoman, second Sunday and who thus signs the 241e victory of his career on the road.
« She was hesitant to continue, but we said no »
Run at over 42 km/h on average, this 2e stage of the Women’s Tour will have done damage above all. Seen as the favorite of this Tour de France given her form, having allowed her to win the Tour of Italy earlier in July, Annemiek Van Vleuten (Movistar) can be considered the main loser of this first day of racing. Passed on the line in 29e position, 34 seconds from the winner While the wind made fear of edges – breaks in the peloton – three falls were linked in the last thirty kilometers. “It was still very nervous todaysaid FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope manager Stephen Delcourt. It’s not surprising, we are on the second day of the Tour de France, for many riders it is extremely important. »
The only French team in the first division will have had a dark day, after an inaugural stage polluted by mechanical problems. “We had our quota of bad luck. Now it’s going to roll », hoped Marie Le Net, before the start on Monday. A priori, the fate still had a little extra. Caught in one of the falls, its leader, the Danish Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig conceded more than a minute and a half on Marianne Vos and Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo).
Above all, the formation lost its other asset in the general classification, Marta Cavalli, second in the Giro and author of an impressive campaign of the « classics » – one-day races in the spring (victory in the Amstel Gold Race and the Fleche Wallonne). The Italian was hit at full speed by Australian champion Nicole Frain, who arrived without braking in a slowdown caused by a fall and suffered a head injury. « She was hesitant to continue, but we said no »detailed Stephen Delcourt.
“It’s a sad day for Marta first and foremost. When you see one of us having an accident like that, it’s like a member of the family, it’s very, very scary. For the rest, it’s still sport and the falls are part of ours. We will bounce back. It’s going to take us a night to think things over, but Cecilie is far from beaten. »
Especially since tomorrow’s stage in the Marne will have a special flavor for the peloton’s tricolors. “Epernay speaks to me: [Julian] Alaphilippe who will look for the yellow jersey there in 2019summarizes in a burst of laughter Marie Le Net. It’s the stage for the French, so I hope it will be the stage for the French, and especially the French from the FDJ. » And that this time, the quota of bad luck has been reached.