Nicolas Roche sitting pretty as Alaphilippe regains yellow jersey

Tour de France: Dan Martin and Sam Bennett finish Stage 2 with much time in arrears

Dan Martin of Ireland, Tiesj Benoot of Belgium and Stefan Kung of Switzerland during Stage 2 of the Tour de France on Sunday. Photograph: Tim de Waele/Getty Images

Dan Martin of Ireland, Tiesj Benoot of Belgium and Stefan Kung of Switzerland during Stage 2 of the Tour de France on Sunday. Photograph: Tim de Waele/Getty Images

 

Nicolas Roche comfortably enjoyed the most satisfying Stage 2 of the Irish riders around the local Nice roads he knows so well, finishing in the main group that came in just two seconds behind stage winner Julian Alaphilippe of France.

While Alaphilippe finished the 186-kilometre stage on the Promenade des Anglais to regain the yellow jersey he wore for much of last year’s race, the 36-year-old Roche, riding in his 10th Tour, finished in the group in 24th position, having been the first over the Col d’Èze, the penultimate summit that came 33km from the finish.

It was an encouraging start for the Team Sunweb rider and, after two days, it means Roche is sitting nicely in 26th overall, 17 seconds behind the yellow jersey.

Not so much so for Dan Martin, who started the race with a fractured bone in his sacrum after crashing in the Critérium du Dauphiné two weeks previously, as he crossed the line in 100th place, the Israel Start-Up Nation rider finishing in the group of 22 riders that finished 17 minutes and 45 seconds behind.

In the last group in 168th place was Sam Bennett, the Deceuninck-Quick Step rider finishing 28 minutes and 55 seconds in arrears on the stage.

It means after Stage 2 Martin is back in 101st, exactly 18 minutes behind already, with Bennett in 149th position, 29 minutes and 10 seconds off the lead in general classification.

It came the day after hopes of an Irish stage win and a first yellow jersey in 33 years fell just short on Saturday afternoon, as Bennett finished a desperately close fourth on the final bunch sprint down the fast Promenade des Anglais.

The Carrick-on-Suir rider looked to have given himself every chance of victory as he took up his position to the left of the finish, but it was Kristoff Alexander from UAE-Team Emirates who made the decisive push from the right, a fourth-ever stage win for the Norwegian rider.

A crash with 2.9km to go held up half the peloton, including Martin and Roche, although they quickly remounted, and, given the crash happened just inside the last 3km, were given the same time as the lead finishers.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.