NYBORG, Denmark –
Dutch rider Fabio Jakobsen passed Wout van Aert right on the line to win stage two of the Tour de France, while Van Aert took the yellow jersey on Saturday.
It was the first Tour stage win for Jakobsen and the second in two days for the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team after Yves Lampaert’s time trial win on Friday.
But Van Aert clinched the yellow jersey for the first time with a six-second bonus for second place to lead Lampaert by a second in the standings.
“It’s a great pleasure for me to wear the jersey. I’ve tried many times to get it. I’m very happy and proud,” said Van Aert. “It’s the biggest bike race in the world, so of course I’ll try to defend it.”
Van Aert also has the green jersey for best sprinter and is teammate of Primož Roglič in Team Jumbo-Visma.
“We have big ambitions,” said Van Aert.
Two-time defending champion Tadej Pogačar remained third overall, eight seconds behind Van Aert.
Hugo Houle of Sainte-Perpetue, Que., was the top Canadian in 21st place.
Pogačar stayed nine seconds clear of his main rival Roglič, who sits eighth overall. Both ended up in the peloton and didn’t take a break. Roglič was Tour runner-up in 2020 and has won the last three Spanish Vueltas.
After the peloton crossed the huge suspension bridge over the Great Belt, several riders fell behind at the end of the field with two kilometers to go in Nyborg.
Van Aert appeared to be winning after passing Danish hope Mads Pedersen, but Jakobsen stormed past him with a big burst of speed. Pedersen was third.
After his surprise win, Lampaert wore yellow as the riders set out on the 202km journey from the port city of Roskilde to Nyborg in central Denmark.
The start was slightly delayed after Tim Wellens had a puncture and Simon Yates had mechanical problems.
Huge crowds filled the roadsides as the red-and-white wave of Danish enthusiasm continued.
Especially with Danish rider Magnus Cort forming an early break along with Norwegian Sven Erik Bystrøm and Frenchmen Cyril Barthe and Pierre Rolland.
Bright sunshine added to the feel-good factor, although fans sometimes got too close to the field as Cort and Bystrøm pulled away from the French at the front.
Cort was a stage winner in 2018. Mogens Frey, the first Dane to win a Tour stage in 1970, turned 81 on Saturday.
“I can’t believe how many people stood at the side of the road and cheered me on,” said Cort, who wears the polka dot jersey for top climber after earning three bonus points along the route’s three smaller climbs. “I was impressed by this passion. Cycling is a big part of Danish culture, everyone here grew up with a bike.”
Cort faded in the last 40 kilometers as Bystrøm was the sole leader while Roglič and Pogačar were close in the peloton, some 30 seconds back.
Dutchman Martijn Tusveld, Austrian Patrick Konrad and Latvian Krists Neilands were involved in the first crash of the day. Neilands was crouched over his bike in pain and appeared to have an injured elbow.
Since nobody could help him, Bystrøm was caught 30 kilometers from the end. Then Cort was among the riders who fell as they approached the bridge and Lampaert fell while he was on it. He got back up and worked hard to reach the peloton.
Stage 3 on Sunday is again for sprinters. It begins in Vejle on the Jutland peninsula and ends after 182 kilometers of flat land in Sonderborg in southern Denmark.
After a day of travel, the riders continue on Tuesday in France, tackling five small climbs en route from the seaside town of Dunkerque to Calais.
The race ends on July 24 in Paris.