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Le Tour de France 2014 – Stage 2; York – Sheffield, 198 km. The Tour in Yorkshire and Nibali in Yellow

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The Tour in YorkshireAstana’s design team may not have made a good job of that Italian champion’s jersey but it’s wearer, Vincenzo Nibali certainly made a good job of Stage Two of the 2014 Tour de France, (aka The Tour in Yorkshire) catching an elite group napping with 1700 metres to go to take stage and GC glory.

‘Shark Attack in Sheffield’ said the ASO press release – we like that.

The nay sayers were writing him off just a week or two ago but the man has won two of the three Grand Tours and has finished on the podium of all three – to underestimate him was folly.

Yesterday I was ranting that the Tour doesn’t belong in Yorkshire – no death threats, yet – and neither do Yorkshire idiot fans emulating Continental idiot fans.

One lass had to be dragged back from the road by a friend as she tried to snap a rider on her iPhone – no wonder Navardauskas knocked several out of spectators’ hands.

The Tour in Yorkshire
Lithuania’s Raimundas Navardauskas felt enough was enough.
The Tour in Yorkshire
Even Messrs Verity and Prudhomme posted a selfie from their car – but at least they didn’t have a peloton bearing down behind them. Photo©ASO

And there were the obligatory twats running beside the riders; not even looking at the race and focusing their inane gaze on the TV camera.

The Tour in Yorkshire
Nibali takes yellow by two seconds. Photo©ASO

For once Carlton Kirby said something sensible; ‘the race is about the riders, not you!’ as one nutter kept pace with the leaders on a climb.

Two Carlton Classics today; ‘Demare is relaying himself!’  Eh?

Sagan has been given his freedom, today!’  He’s the damned team leader, Carlton.

The fact that the break was cut very little slack today was a measure of how seriously the ‘Bigs’ were taking this stage.

It must be a worry to Europcar that no sooner had Tommy V rocked, rolled and grimaced his way across to break survivor, Biel Kadri than the AG2R man dropped him.

The Tour in Yorkshire
Blel Kadri. Photo©AFP

Kadri did a good PR job but Cofidis’s Cyril Lemoine had done a better one in that tightly reined earlier break; picking up six K o M points to Kadri’s five and claiming the maillot a pois.

Call us sentimental but we like to see French guys going good – Rolland was aggressive in the finale but still has the Giro in his legs.

Rolland lost 16 seconds at the line as did Thibaut Pinot (F des J) not a lot – but not so easy to claw back from Chris, Bert and Vincenzo.

One young Frenchman who was right there at the death and even had a dig was AG2R’s Romain Bardet – good to see.

On the subject of tight reins, Vasili Kiryienka and Geraint Thomas should be first on the massage table tonight after the job they did – and Sagan’s Cannondale boys were also on galley slave duties until late in the day.

Nibali in Yellow
Vasili Kiryienka and Geraint Thomas.