“I have no words, I really have no words,” said Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin Fenix) in tears, after Stage Two.
Van der Poel, in stunning fashion, took the victory and bunnyhopped fellow cyclocrosser and Stage One winner Julian Alaphilippe to claim the yellow jersey.
Emotions claimed the Dutch superstar, as he pointed to the sky to remember his Tour de France legend grandfather, Raymond Poulidor.
“I gambled a little bit and I played everything I got the first time [up the climb], because I knew I needed the bonus seconds,” said van der Poel about his dramatic win. “It was also my last chance to get the jersey.”
That Van der Poel was able to do it again on the second time up the climb, when everyone expected it, was nothing short of astonishing.
“Imagine if he was here, how proud he would be,” Van der Poel said after taking the yellow jersey in honor of his grandfather.
World Cyclocross Champion Mathieu van der Poel in his Tour de France debut, is leading an eight-rider roster that includes crosser Tim Merlier, as well as Jasper Philipsen, Petr Vakoc, Kristian Sbaragli, Xandro Meurisse, Jonas Rickaert, and newly crowned Swiss National Champion, Silvan Dillier.
After a disappointing Stage One, the superstar took an eight-second bonus on the first time up the Mur-de-Bretagne, and then again rode away from everyone on the second time up the climb.
The team started Le Tour in a very special kit that pays tribute to Van der Poel’s late grandfather Raymond “Pou Pou” Poulidor but for Stage Two was back in his normal team colors.
The current cyclocross World Champ resumed another cyclocrosser-dominated Tour de France, taking the second-straight win for a cyclocrosser, after former Cyclocross Worlds medalist Julian Alaphilippe took Stage One.
ProTeam Alpecin-Fenix has already won 18 races and secured an automatic place in the Tour after topping the team rankings in 2020. While it is the team’s first Tour de France, they have clearly shown they have the talent and results to battle for glory at Le Tour and no doubt fans are excited for the potential Van Aert vs Van der Poel duel.
Yet nobody dreamed that the second stage could go so well.