Mathieu van der Poel twice saw calculated gambles pay off as he won the second stage of the Tour de France to claim the yellow jersey.

The Alpecin-Fenix rider broke clear in the final kilometre to claim victory at Mur-de-Bretagne, finishing six seconds ahead of reigning champion Tadej Pogacar.

It was the second tactical burst from Van der Poel during the 183.5km journey from Perros-Guirec, having also attacked on the first ascent to claim a time bonus at the summit.

That move, along with his stage triumph, made sure the Dutchman leads the way in the general classification. He paid tribute to his grandfather Raymond Poulidor – an overall runner-up three times in Le Tour during his illustrious career – by pointing towards the sky as he crossed the line.

"I have no words. I really don’t know what to say," Van der Poel said in his post-stage interview.

"I gambled a little bit. I went on the first climb because I knew I needed the bonus seconds if I wanted the jersey. It was my last chance to get it."

Pogacar saw off Primoz Roglic and Wilco Kelderman in a sprint to claim second place, while stage one winner Julian Alaphilippe came home in fifth place – he is the nearest challenger to Van der Poel in the general classification standings.

After the carnage of the opening day, Sunday's action thankfully saw most of the drama focused on the racing.

The start of the 2021 event had seen two major crashes, the first of which came about after Tony Martin collided with a spectator's placard. With so many competitors caught up in the incident, the race was neutralised to allow the peloton to make up ground on the breakaway group.

Race organisers attempted to keep the course clear on day two, though there were moments when riders could be seen asking fans to allow more room.


1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 04:18:30 
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +00:06
3. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 
4. Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe)
5. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +00:08


General Classification 

1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 08:57:25
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +00:08
3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +00:13

Points Classification 

1. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 66
2. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 50
3. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) 45 

King of the Mountains 

1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 4
2. Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe) 4
3. Anthony Perez (Cofidis) 3