Greipel wins stage 2 at Zélande; Cancellara moves into yellow jersey

Cover: Tour de France 2015 Stage 2 Zélande finish
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Todd Hofert


André Greipel, Lotto Soudal, Tour de France 2015 Stage 2
André Greipel, Lotto Soudal, Tour de France 2015 Stage 2 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

André Greipel (Lotto Soudal) won the bunch sprint on bridge finish at Zélande at the Tour de France 2015 stage 2, beating Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) at the line.

This was the first stage I could win, it’s magnificent that I did. This is a fantastic reward for the team and me. In the Tour everyone starts from zero, it are the results here that count. This determines if your season is successful or not. A victory at the Tour is at least as double important as anywhere else.

In our echelon were six riders of Etixx – QuickStep and strong riders like Cancellara and Dumoulin. We tried to stay a bit under the radar, but did our bit when the echelons were formed. The first time eight of us were part of the first group. The second time the selection was bigger and we were with three in a group of twenty-five. I considered Cavendish and Sagan to be my main opponents for the sprint. I’m happy I could stay ahead of them.

We had a plan before the start and did a recon last Wednesday. We were focused today, but not stressed. I finished it off, but this victory one is of the entire team. I win a Tour stage for the fifth year in a row, but it’s the first time my wife is here so that makes it even more special. I’m wearing the green jersey for the first time in my career, that’s a nice extra. Tonight I will enjoy this victory and then we’ll see what happens the next days.”
– André Greipel, Lotto Soudal

Fabian Cancellara, Trek Factory Racing, Tour de France 2015 Stage 2
Fabian Cancellara, Trek Factory Racing, Tour de France 2015 Stage 2 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) moved into the overall race lead and now sits 3 seconds ahead of Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick-Step) and 6 seconds in front of Tom Dumoulin (Team Giant-Alpecin).

I had cramps at the end, it was so fast and nervous, but finally some luck. I had so much problems out of the corners, out of the roundabouts, the problem was from yesterday, I paid a lot – I mean everyone probably did – from yesterday’s effort.

I am not sure what happened, if it was a crash or just a split because the guys from Lotto-Soudal went full gas. But we went through this small city and there were a lot of roundabouts and with the rain and wind…it was not easy and I was just there and suddenly the group split up. I hoped for sure at the end to get something out and now of course with the yellow I am really happy.”
Fabian Cancellara, Trek Factory Racing

Peter Sagan, André Greipel, Mark Cavendish, Tour de France 2015 Stage 2
Peter Sagan, André Greipel, Mark Cavendish, Tour de France 2015 Stage 2 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Tour de France 2015 Stage 2 Top 10

  1. André Greipel (GER) #75
    LOTTO-SOUDAL 03h 29 ’03”
  2. Peter Sagan (SVK) #47
    TINKOFF-SAX 03h 29 ’03” same time
  3. Fabian Cancellara (SUI) #143
    TREK FACTORY RACING 03h 29 ’03” same time
  4. Mark Cavendish (GBR) #112
    QUICK STEP-Etixx 03h 29 ’03” same time
  5. Daniel Oss (ITA) #64
    BMC RACING TEAM 03h 29 ’03” same time
  6. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) #68
    BMC RACING TEAM 03h 29 ’03” same time
  7. Christopher Froome (GBR) #31
    TEAM SKY 03h 29 ’03” same time
  8. Tom Dumoulin (NED) #85
    TEAM GIANT-ALPECIN 03h 29 ’03” same time
  9. Tony Martin (GER) #114
    QUICK STEP-Etixx 03h 29 ’03” same time
  10. Warren Barguil (FRA) #82
    TEAM GIANT-ALPECIN 03h 29 ’03″same time

Tour de France 2015 General classification after Stage 2

  1. Fabian Cancellara #143 (SUI )
    TREK FACTORY RACING 03h 44 ’01”
  2. Tony Martin #114 (GER)
    ETIXX-QUICK STEP03h 44 ’04” + :03
  3. Tom Dumoulin (NED) #85
    TEAM GIANT-ALPECIN 03h 44 ’07″+ :06
  4. Peter Sagan (SVK) #47
    TINKOFF-SAX 03h 44 ’34” +:33
  5. Geraint Thomas (GBR) #39
    TEAM SKY 03h 44 ’36” + 35
  6. Daniel Oss (ITA) #64
    BMC RACING TEAM 03h 44 ’43” +:42
  7. Rigoberto Uran  (COL) #118
    ETIXX-QUICK STEP 03h 44 ’43” +:42
  8. Tejay van Garderen (USA) #61
    BMC RACING TEAM 03h 44 ’45” +:44
  9. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) #68
    BMC RACING TEAM 03h 44 ’49” +:48
  10. Christopher Froome (GBR) #31
    TEAM SKY 03h 44 ’49” +:48

Tour de France 2015 Jerseys after Stage 2

Yellow (Overall leader): Fabian Cancellara, Trek Factory Racing

Green (Points): André Greipel, Lotto Soudal

Polka-dot (KOM): Not awarded

White (Best Young Rider): Tom Dumoulin, Team Giant-Alpecin


Tour de France 2015 Stage 2: Utrecht to Zelande

Tour de France 2015 Stage 2
Tour de France 2015 Stage 2 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Utrecht and the cycling crazed fans of The Netherlands were once again out in full force showing off the start of Stage 2. Rohan Dennis (BMC) AUS, arrived on his new Yellow BMC resplendent in the first yellow jersey of the Tour leaving the remainder of his suitcase full of Stage 1 swag on loan to Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) GER, in the Green jersey and Tom Dumoulin (Giant Alpecin) NED wearing the white jersey of the best young rider with the first Polka Dot jersey yet to be awarded. The Dutch team Lotto NL- Jumbo arriving as the best team having placed three riders in the top eleven spots of the Stage 1 Time Trial.

Rohan Dennis, BMC Racing Team, Tour de France 2015 Stage 2
Rohan Dennis, BMC Racing Team, Tour de France 2015 Stage 2 Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The Stage 2 break formed consisting of four riders including Dutchman Stef Clement (IAM Cycling) NED, Jan Barta (Bora-Argon 18) CZE, Perrig Quemeneur (Team EuRopcar) FRA and Armindo Fonseca (Bretagne-Seiche Environment) FRA. The four would achieve a maximum gap of 2:45 while Etixx-Quick Step maintained control at the front of the pack with hopes of delivering Mark Cavendish to his first stage win in the 2015 Tour.

As feared, the weather would play a role in the stage. The winds and rain rolled in off the North Sea and the skies hung low with reports of 15°C temps and 44+kph crosswinds at the finish. The riders stayed dry until they reached the town of Gouda with about 115km remaining in the stage. As the weather changed so did the colors at the front of the Peloton. Sky, Tinkoff-Saxo and Astana all came forward to shepherd their respective GC contenders safely through the countryside. The threat of the Waaiers, or Echelons forming splits in the pack, were their primary concerns.

Tinkoff-Saxo saw an opportunity in the crosswinds and formed a short lived split with 65km remaining. Riders were shelled out the back and Sky came forward to assist in establishing it. All of the contenders were attentive and made the front group. The furious pace and strong crosswinds would see the break disappear. The gap fell from two plus minutes to just 20 seconds over the course of a few kilometers. As the Peloton regrouped the break of four held on.

The first sprint was contested in Rotterdam with points available for the first 15 places. Jan Barta (Bora-Argon 18) CZE would solo away from his break companions to take the 20 bonus points. Stef Clement (IAM Cycling) NED, Armindo Fonseca (Bretagne-Seiche Environment) FRA and Perrig Quemeneur (Team EuRopcar) FRA from the break would follow. John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) GER, would lead the peloton across for fifth place points followed by Alexander Kristoff (Katyusha) NOR, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quick Step) GBR, Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis, Credit Solutions) FRA and Bryan Couqard (Team EuRopcar) FRA rounding out the top ten respectively.

The peloton would absorb the break with 62km remaining in the stage. Lotto NL-Jumbo would suffer misfortune on a couple of occasions with Wilco Kellerman hitting the deck twice, the second crash taking teammates and countrymen Laurens Ten Dam and Jos Van Emden with him.

With 45km remaining the peloton split in the winds again with the likes of the yellow jersey of Rohan Dennis (BMC) AUS, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) ITA, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) COL, and John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) GER missing the move to find themselves chasing in horrendous conditions. The front group of 25 included Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) ESP, Chris Froome (Sky) GBR, Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) USA, Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quick Step) GBR, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) SVK and a host of Tinkoff, Sky and BMC riders. The gap between the lead group and the chasers stretched out over a minute.


We were going through a lot of roundabouts and I was sort of toward the back, thinking it was safe because it wasn’t too hard. Then Pinot led the gap go. He swung out and basically looked at me, saying I had to close it. I looked around and saw Nibali was there as well. So I made the call not to chase because if Nibali losses time, it is better.

It was a bit hard to swallow, but I came to terms with it. I could have closed the gap and taken Nibali with me – which more than likely would have meant I would have kept the jersey. But by sitting up, Nibali lost time, which makes it better for Tejay, who is our goal for the Tour.”
Rohan Dennis, BMC Racing Team


Bad luck would hit Vincenzo Nibali straight between the eyes with a puncture that would isolate him from the chase group. He would find his way back through the team cars with less than 20km remaining in the stage. The gap to the lead group came down to 50 seconds as the weather began to improve.

The lead group led by Etixx-Quick Step pushed the gap out to 1:17 as the traffic furniture and roundabouts making up the lead in to the finish began to play a factor. A crash in the chase would slow their progress and ultimately seal their fate.

Tour de France 2015 Stage 2 Zelande finish
Tour de France 2015 Stage 2 Zélande finish
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Etixx-Quick Step appeared to be in the drivers seat however, a very poor lead out found Cavendish on the front way too early at 250 meters. He would provide Andre Griepel (Lotto-Soudal) GER a perfect lead out and The Gorilla would claim the stage followed by Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) SVK, Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) SWI, Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quick Step) GBR and Daniel Oss (BMC) ITA rounding out the top five.

Fabian Cancellara would claim the yellow jersey with a four second time bonus for third place providing him the seconds required to leap Tony Martin in the GC. The big losers of the day would be Vincenzo Nibali, Nairo Quintana and Robert Gesink (Lotto NL-Jumbo) NED coming in 1:27 down on their main rivals who managed to make the earlier split. Quintana may be capable of weathering such a loss but the other two may not be able to recover for contention.

Stage 3 and the Mur de Huy on deck for tomorrow.


Stage 2
Date: 5 July, 2015
Start:  Utrecht  
Finish: Zélande
Distance: 166 km


Tour de France 2015 Stage 2 route

Tour de France 2015 Stage 2 route map

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Tour de France 2015 Stage 2 profile

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Maps courtesy of Le Tour de France / © A.S.O.