July 08, 2018 0 Comments
Another super-fast day that saw Pasqua's team take the King of the Mountains spotty jersey, and Pasqua send out a warning to the peloton - his legs are now set!
Pasqua's teammate Dion Smith attacked from the gun and formed a three-man breakaway together with #183 Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie) and #95 Michael Gogl (Trek - Segafredo).
Dion Smith in Stage 2 breakaway
The only categorised climb of the day came after just 29 km. Dion burst ahead of the other two escapees to steal the one and only KOM point on offer for the day. This put him level with the morning's competition leader #45 Kevin Ledanois of Team Fortuneo - Samsic. Dion earned the jersey at the end of the stage by virtue of a higher GC position and will wear it proudly on stage 3.
Dion Smith set to take the polka-dot jersey
Following the KOM, the breakaway disintegrated. Dion was recalled to the bunch by the team management, who wanted to save his legs to fight for future objectives. Trek - Segafredo appeared to have had similar thoughts for their man who seemed to suffer an insect bite, leaving Chavanel to continue alone at the head of the race, building a gap of up to 4 minutes. He remained out front on a sweltering hot day that saw temperatures sore well above 30C once again. The break was sustained until the final bonefication of the stage with 15 km to go, where Chava rolled over the line 10 seconds ahead of the peloton, who had steadily closed him down well ahead of the stage finish.
Another nervous day saw plenty of incident and a major crash with just 1 km to go eliminated which many sprinters from the finale. Fortunately, Pasqua managed to avoid the melee and got himself into the front group along with teammate Timothy Dupont. The final few hundred meters were gruelling, with a slight uphill gradient. Eventually, the World Champion Peter Sagan charged through to take the stage, but Pasqua (8th) and his teammate Timothy Dupont (6th) both recorded top tens for Wanty-Groupe Gobert.
Here's what Dion had to say about his day:
"It was very special to be on the Tour podium. I think I am the first New Zealander to achieve this, something to be proud of. To represent my country and Wanty-Groupe Gobert here is fantastic. "
"The plan was to go fully for the polka dot jersey today. After conquering the points, I wanted to save power with an eye on the upcoming days. The team time trial is very important for our leader Guillaume Martin. We want to limit the loss of time. Tomorrow I will definitely stay in the jersey and over the next days I will do everything I can to preserve it."
Timothy Dupont added:
"The final was very dangerous, but I was in front of the crash. I was a bit trapped in the small group and Démare and a teammate took my place, but I certainly can not be disappointed with my sixth place. Especially when I see who ends up in front of me, I can not complain. But a top 5 was possible today!"
"I normally get better every stage in a tour. But I've never done a three weeks stage race, so we shall see. But after today I feel confident. "
Here's how the ASO summarised the stage:
80 years after the last visit of the Tour de France and the victory of Eloi Meulenberg, another world champion won at La Roche-sur-Yon as Peter Sagan sprinted to victory after Fernando Gaviria crashed in the last curve. The Slovakian champion got the yellow jersey back two years after.
Check back tomorrow for another update from our man inside the peloton.
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