The second stage was an electric one. Bernard (TFS, 172), Atapuma (COF, 182), Bravo (EUS, 196) and Amezqueta (CJR, 202) attacked on the breakaway reaching a 3’10” maximum gap.
The battle for the polka-dot jersey was led by Bravo (EUS, 196) and Bernard (TFS, 196), tied to points (5). The two intermediate sprints were also much contested. The overall leader, Schachmann (BOH, 27) struggled to score points on both: he owns now 5” over Alaphilippe (DQT, 41) and 10” over Kwiatkowski (SKY, 86).
A flat tire with 16.7 km to go dropped Yates (MTS, 91) out of the pack. The British rider lost 1’11” on behalf of the GC contenders. The peloton, led by Astana couldn’t stop the final sprint. Alaphilippe (DQT, 41) took the victory in a long, hard and tense final sprint. Along with the win, the French rider also takes time bonus. He seems to enjoy the Itzulia Basque Country. The GC contenders finished without any damages a complicated stage.
Alaphillipe:“I didn’t expected a victory today but it’s true that the finale suited me well and I was motivated. It has been a very nervous day with the gravel roads and the uphill final sprint. I had to change the bike twice but luckily I was able to take my position back. I’m ready to win the yellow jersey on Saturday but we’ll have to keep working day by day”.
Schachmann:“I’m very happy to keep to jersey. I did everything I could to defend it, even fighting for the intermediate sprints. I enjoyed the stage and I felt very comfortable on the gravel roads. Today I hadn’t the legs to win but I want to congratulate Alaphilippe for such a nice victory”.