121km to go: The break now has 1min 35sec on the chasing bunch. They will contest the Côte de Tigeaux among them. Can Gerritse win the race to the top of the climb, and stretch her lead in the QOM competition?
126km to go: Have any of our readers stayed at Parkhotel Valkenburg? What’s it like?
I worked on a bike race in Valkenburg circa 2017, and it was a lovely spot, from what I remember.
127km to go: Sabrina Stultiens (Liv Racing Xstra), Femke Gerritse (Parkhotel Valkenburg), Rotem Gafinovitz (Roland Cogeas Edelweiss) and Marit Raaijmakers (Human Powered Health) are the four early attackers.
Meanwhile, here’s a preview of the approach to today’s finish, via Felix Mattis on Twitter:
130km to go: The attacking has begun. Four riders are trying to break away at the front, presumably with designs on the Cat-4 climb, the Côte de Tigeaux.
The neutralised zone successfully negotiated, the flag has dropped, and the stage proper is under way. The weather is a pleasant 24C – much more sensible than the 40C-plus temperatures the riders endured for much of the men’s race.
We’re rolling on stage two.
I’m not entirely sure why the start of this stage isn’t live on Eurosport? C’est la vie.
Tadej Pogacar is on the scene.
After an incredible solo ride yesterday, single-handedly keeping the peloton at bay on the streets of Paris, Gladys Verhulst (Le Col-Wahoo) was awarded the prix de la combativité and consequently is sporting red bib today.
Some of the best images from the Tour de France:
The peloton is due to roll out at 12.50 French time / 11.50 UK time. However, Eurosport’s live coverage doesn’t begin until 12.45 UK, meaning we’ll miss the scrap for the intermediate sprint (after 16.9km). I’ll bring you as many updates as I can via the live tracker and anything on social media until the live coverage kicks in.
A couple of bits of fresh reading from the men’s race here:
“I was expecting it to be harder,” Kasia Niewiadoma told Eurosport in Paris yesterday. “I feel like everyone just wanted to feel safe and cautious. There was nothing crazy happening. It was a nice first stage for sure. Maybe I expected like a chaotic race, and hectic, like everyone constantly fighting for position.”
Who do you like for the stage win today?
You can quite literally email me or tweet with your thoughts.
Jeremy Whittle’s Tour de France stage one report is here:
On the long, straight sprint to the finish line in Paris yesterday, Lorena Wiebes accelerated past Marianne Vos to win stage one and claim the yellow jersey. Today, the race shifts east of the French capital for a largely flat 136.4km trip from Meaux to Provins.
Again there is one designated climb, the category-four Côte de Tigeaux: the fact it arrives within the first 17km should ensure a frantic start by riders and teams with designs on the QOM competition. Femke Markus (Parkhotel Valkenburg) starts in polka-dots after winning Sunday’s ‘climb’ on the iconic Champs-Élysées.
The day’s solitary intermediate sprint comes at Provins after 116km. By virtue of hoovering up 70 points in the green jersey competition, Team DSM’s Wiebes also leads that, but second-placed Lotte Kopecky will be in green today with Wiebes in the maillot jaune.
The racing was fast and high-quality in Paris although as Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon–SRAM) said afterwards, perhaps not as full-gas as we may have expected. Will that change today?
Stage start: 11.50am UK time