241 wins. Only in road cycling. Marianne Vos (Bolduche, Netherlands; 35 years old), a legend of women’s cycling, including cyclocross, where she has collected eight world championships, won the second stage of the women’s Tour de France this Monday in Provins. Recognized as one of the best cyclists of all time – including three Giros d’Italia, three rainbow jerseys and an Olympic gold medal – Vos is also the new leader of the French Round after winning the final climb over her five companions, several of them with weight in general.
Surprised on the podium because she managed to break away from the peloton and reached the finish line with just five competitors, the Dutchwoman, second on the opening stage in Paris, started again this Monday as a big favourite: “It’s incredible to win here , The team did a perfect job yesterday and I wanted to say thank you in some way.”
the cannibal, as fans have dubbed her for years – just like Eddy Merckx – broke through on a strange day: quiet, even dull, for three quarters of the day; anarchic and chaotic in the final sprint.
Already without the Paris sun, but with strong gusts of wind, the peloton drove fast from the start in Meaux for fear of possible fans. The second stage of the tour, 136 kilometers under a cloudy sky but not exempt from the heat made worse by the humidity, left the capital behind to gradually approach France’s eastern flank. Where fireworks are expected at the weekend before crowning the Super Planche des Belles Filles, this Monday a stage was watched with suspicion where the charms were conspicuous by their absence.
It seemed that the dreaded cuts would be just that, in a simple fear of finishing the race cleanly, but with 25km to go everything exploded. There, in cross winds and a tense calm, several runners in the peloton were thrown to the ground by a jolt. Behind them, Italy’s Marta Cavalli, one of the overall favorites, braked carefully and set foot on the tarmac to avoid the Montonera. Not doing the same was Nicole Frain, the Australian Champion, who, focused on reconnecting with the group, had not noticed the incident and was staring at the ground He put Cavalli in the lead in a very violent crash. Unlucky for the Lombard, who was able to resume the race, not without significant gestures of pain and a bag of wasted time.
A few seconds later, another fall startled the body of Mavi García, who, with the luck she herself describes as necessary for this type of stage, hopped over the ground, dangerous like few others.
At the front, six riders with weight in the general classification (Marianne Vos, Maike Van der Duin, Elisa Longo Borghini, Elisa Balsamo, Katarzyna Niewiadoma and Silvia Persico) took advantage of the crosswind gusts and used the peloton to gain seconds cartel that they changed the direction of the race carried motorcycles. The group nervously gritted their teeth to close the gap and the biggest loser was the FDJ team, who after losing Cavalli, who were left behind after Frain was run over, saw Denmark’s Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, their other great asset, main group was cut off the track by the fans.
Ahead, near the finish line, all eyes were on Marianne Vos, as perceptive and experienced as few. The ending, idyllic for his legs, invited him to contemplate what seemed inevitable. It was like this. Great triumph once again for the insatiable Dutchwoman and the yellow jersey of the Tour de France. Another achievement for a runner from another era.
The jumbo rider, second and first in the two stages staged so far, is the leader of the standings with a ten-second advantage over Persico, 12 over Niewiadoma and 18 over Longo Borghini, all fellow breakaways in Provins. Mallorca’s Mavi García, the best overall Spaniard, is 12th, 45 seconds behind Vos. Third stage this Tuesday: 134 kilometers between Reims and Épernay.