Mark Cavendish on the verge of history as Britons enjoy stunning Tour de France opener

Mark Cavendish
At 38, Mark Cavendish lines up for 14th and final time chasing history at the Tour - Getty Images/Zac Williams

By Tom Cary in San Sebastain

With Adam Yates still wearing the maillot jaune at the end of an extraordinary opening weekend in this Tour de France, and his twin Simon still third in the general classification, it is the turn of Mark Cavendish to try to keep the British ball rolling. Not just keep the ball rolling.

Boot it into orbit. Cavendish, tied with the great Belgian Eddy Merckx on 34 stage wins, will become the Tour’s all-time stage record holder should he win what is widely expected to be a bunch sprint into Bayonnne on Monday, as the race crosses from the Basque Country into France. At 38, the Manxman is no longer the dominant force he was back when he was hoovering up race wins in his pomp.

Yes, Cavendish won four stages and the green jersey in that incredible comeback Tour two years ago. But he had the best team in cycling back then at QuickStep, including the best leadout man in Michael Morkov.

Cavendish is now racing for Astana-Qazaqstan, a team with no sprint pedigree, as Cavendish found out at the recent Giro d’Italia, where it eventually took a well-timed pull from former team-mate Geraint Thomas, of rival team Ineos Grenadiers, to help set him up for a win in Rome on the final day.

Nor is Monday’s stage even guaranteed to end in a sprint. Cavendish told Telegraph Sport on Sunday that he expected the 187.4km run from Amorebieta-Etxano, hugging the Basque shoreline all the way to France, to be “one of the hardest of the race”, adding that if the wind blew things could easily get out of control. But if there is one thing we have learnt about Cavendish down the years, it is that he makes things happen.

There is a deep field of sprinters at this Tour, with the likes of Fabio Jakobsen, Jasper Philipsen, Dylan Groenewegen and Caleb Ewan all hoping to get off the mark as well. Not to mention Wout van Aert. The brilliant Belgian will be fuming that he did not win stage two on Sunday, and could well take it out on the rest of the peloton.

Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) was the clear favourite after making it into a select front group over the top of the final climb, the famous Jaizkibel, which is used every year in the Clasica San Sebastian. But after the group descended into the town together, he was caught out by a brilliantly timed attack by Victor Lafay (Cofidis) with around 900m remaining.

Everyone looked to Jumbo to pull back the Frenchman, knowing how strong Van Aert was. But Jonas Vingegaard – last year’s yellow jersey winner – was not prepared to pull for his team-mate, and in the end Van Aert was left banging his handlebars in frustration after being unable to reel Lafay in on his own.

The dynamic on the Jumbo bus could get very interesting now, and UAE Team Emirates – who have the current yellow jersey Yates and second placed Tadej Pogacar in their ranks – seem to know it. Pogacar appeared to be laughing at Van Aert’s expense while chatting to Yates in the warm-down after the stage, mock-banging his handlebars in frustration.

The Slovenian was in a very good mood, having beaten Vingegaard to the top of Jaizkibel to grab a few more bonus seconds and extend his advantage over the Dane. After a difficult first stage, Britain’s Tom Pidcock will also be feeling a bit more chipper after finishing fourth in Sunday’s sprint. It is the fortunes of the greatest sprinter of all time which will take centre stage for the next day or two.

Cavendish’s place in the record books is already assured. He says he does not care about the record. But he knows what it would mean. Mark Renshaw, the Australian who provided the leadout for many of Cavendish’s greatest wins and who has been brought in by Astana as a sprint consultant for this race, warned his rivals not to count him out.

“Honestly? He doesn’t have the team, and youth’s not on his side,” Renshaw admitted this week. “Everything’s not on his side.”

But what he does have is he’s got a hell of a lot of determination and a hell of a lot of experience. “I’m confident he’s definitely going to be in the pointy end and challenging the other best sprinters. You can’t write him off. When you think he’s done, he pulls a rabbit out of a hat.”

Frenchman Lafay wins thrilling second stage – as it happened

05:05 PM BST

Big win for Lafay, Cofidis and France

04:57 PM BST

General classification after stage two

1. Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) 9hrs 9mins 18secs

2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +6secs

3. Simon Yates (Team Jayco-Alula) Same time

4. Victor Lafay (Cofidis) +12secs

5. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) +16secs

6. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +17secs

7. Michael Woods (Israel-Premier Tech) +22secs

8. Mattias Skjlemose (Lidl-Trek) Same time

9. Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe)

10. Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious)

04:56 PM BST

Stage two results

1. Victor Lafay (Cofidis) 4hrs 46mins 39secs

2. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) Same time

3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates)

4. Tom Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers)

5. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious)

6. Mattias Skjlemose (Lidl-Trek)

7. Michael Woods (Israel-Premier Tech)

8. Romain Bardet (Team Dsm-firmenich)

9. Dylan Teuns (Israel-Premier Tech)

10. Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe)

04:40 PM BST

Cavendish finishes

Mark Cavendish has just rolled in 20 minutes behind the winner Victor Lafay, comfortably inside the time limit. Tomorrow we go into France with a finish in Bayonne and it will be the first sprint finish of this year’s Tour. Cavendish will be hoping to get that 35th stage victory.

04:32 PM BST

Here is how Lafay won it

04:30 PM BST

Top five across the line

1. Victor Lafay

2. Wout van Aert

3. Tadej Pogacar

4. Pello Bilbao

5. Tom Pidcock

04:22 PM BST

Van Aert furious

The main group nearly caught Lafay but they were just too late. Van Aert smashed his handlebars in anger, knowing that he left it too late and that was a stage he probably should have won.

Tadej Pogacar and Adam Yates found amusement in van Aert’s frustration:

04:20 PM BST

Lafay wins!

What a ride and what a late attack from Lafay. He had a great ride on stage one yesterday. Van Aert et al. could not reel him in in time.

Victor Lafay of Cofidis celebrates winning a thrilling stage two
Victor Lafay of Cofidis wins a thrilling stage two - Reuters/Benoit Tessier

04:19 PM BST

500m to go

Cofidis’ Victor Lafay attacks inside the final kilometre. Can he hold on?

04:18 PM BST

1km to go

We are into the final kilometre. Who is going to win?

04:18 PM BST

2km to go

Lidl-Trek’s Mattias Skjelmose now attacks but he is brought back. So many attacks!

04:17 PM BST

3km to go

Tom Pidcock attacks but Wout van Aert is on him so quickly.

04:16 PM BST

3km to go

A huge number of big names in this lead group. This is going to be a great finish!

04:14 PM BST

4km to go

Emmanuel Buchmann of Bora-Hansgrohe attacks but Jumbo-Visma bring him back.

04:13 PM BST

5km to go

Bilbao has been caught. Good effort from the Spaniard though. You would think Wout van Aert is the favourite for the stage victory here.

04:12 PM BST

6km to go

Jumbo-Visma have four riders in the group chasing down Bilbao. The Bahrain Victorious rider has a little gap on the chasers but it will be difficult for him to hold them off.

04:11 PM BST

7km to go

Bilbao is still out in front but Jumbo-Visma are working hard to reel him back in.

04:10 PM BST

9km to go

Local boy Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) has attacked on this downhill section. He is opening up a little bit of a gap here. You would think he will not be able to stay out to the finish.

04:07 PM BST

12km to go

The bigger group behind including van Aert and Adam Yates have now caught back up to Pogacar and Vingegaard.

04:05 PM BST

14km to go

Pogacar and Vingegaard are onto the descent and there is a big group behind that is chasing them.

04:02 PM BST

16km to go

Current leader Adam Yates is leading the peloton up to the summit. Wout van Aert has been dropped. Simon Yates attacks and Vingegaard and Pogacar go with him. Adam Yates is now dropped. Pogacar and Vingegaard then drop Simon Yates and Pogacar goes over the top first. There were bonus seconds on the top of the climb.

04:00 PM BST

17km to go

All the French riders seemingly are being spat out of the peloton as Valentin Madouas has gone now. UAE Team Emirates are really pushing things on at the front. Nearly at the top of this climb now.

03:58 PM BST

18km to go

Thibaut Pinot has been dropped from this group. A ferocious pace is being set at the front. Another French rider in the form of Julian Alapahilippe has been dropped. One and a half kilometres to go on this climb.

03:56 PM BST

19km to go

Powless is caught after a great ride and what is left of the peloton just powers past him. This is all set up for a great finish like yesterday.

03:55 PM BST

19km to go

UAE Team Emirates are now back to the front of the peloton. All the big hitters are there; Pogacar, Vingegaard, both Yates brothers. They have nearly caught Powless.

03:55 PM BST

19km to go

Powless still has 3km to the summit and the peloton are just 20 seconds behind him.

03:52 PM BST

20km to go

Jayco-Alula are now at the front of the peloton. Remember Simon Yates of Jayco-Alula was runner-up to his brother Adam yesterday. UAE Team Emirates also coming back up towards the front.

03:51 PM BST

21km to go

Powless lead is being cut with every pedal stroke. His advantage is now down to 40 seconds. What an effort though from the American. He still has 5km left on this climb.

03:48 PM BST

22km to go

Jumbo-Visma are now at the front of the peloton. They are just one minute behind Powless now.

03:45 PM BST

24km to go

We are onto the final categorised climb of the day as Powless heads up the Jaizkibel, which is just over 8km in length. The average gradient is just over 5%.

03:44 PM BST

25km to go

This has been a terrific effort from Powless. He has 25km to go and his lead is one minute 45 seconds. He will still believe he can win this stage. Meanwhile Boasson Hagan has been caught now by the peloton.

Neilson Powless leads stage two with 25km to go
Neilson Powless is on an impressive ride - AP/Thibault Camus

03:33 PM BST

34km to go

Powless takes the one point available at the top of the climb to extend his lead at the top of the king of the mountains classification. He has put a fair bit of distance between himself and Boasson Hagan. After a puncture, Vingegaard is now back in the peloton.

03:32 PM BST

34km to go

Powless has dropped Boasson Hagan on this climb. How long can Powless stay out ahead of the peloton. His advantage is one minute 50 seconds.

03:31 PM BST

35km to go

A crash in the peloton, about halfway down the peloton. A couple of Lotto-Dstny riders went down quite hard. AG2R’s Ben O’Connor, who is a top 10 contender in the general classification, was also caught up in that crash. Defending champion Jonas Vingegaard has got a puncture as a result of that crash.

03:29 PM BST

36km to go

Powless is trying to drop Boasson Hagan on this climb and a little bit of distance is being created.

03:29 PM BST

37km to go

Powless and Boasson Hagan still both in the breakaway as they have been all day. They are onto the Côte de Gurutze climb, which is 2.6km in length and an average gradient of around 5%. This is a category four climb. Their lead over the peloton is now under two minutes.

03:20 PM BST

43km to go

We have 43km to go and Powless and Boasson Hagan are just over two minutes ahead of the peloton. Another insight from EF-Education EasyPost over their team radio as they inform Powless that he needs to step it up now.

EF-Education EasyPost's Neilson Powless still in the breakaway with Edvald Boasson Hagan
EF-Education EasyPost's Neilson Powless still in the breakaway with Edvald Boasson Hagan - Shutterstock/Martin Divisek

03:13 PM BST

50km to go

We have just dipped under 50km to go on stage two. There are just a few kilometres until the peloton will pass the parents of the Yates brothers. That will be a great moment for Adam and Simon. The gap between the breakaway and the peloton sits at just over two minutes.

03:05 PM BST

54km to go

UAE Team Emirates’ Matteo Trentin has gone down in a crash in the peloton and needs a change of bikes. This means the pace has slowed with UAE on the front of the peloton which will be music to the two men in the breakaway. They will send no-one back to help him though so it could be a lonely road to the finish for Trentin. Mark Cavendish and the rest of the sprinters who were dropped have now got back into the peloton.

02:53 PM BST

64km to go

On the EF-Education EasyPost team radio, they have told Powless that they think UAE Team Emirates will take it easy on the descent and that now is the time to push on.

02:50 PM BST

66km to go

The work from UAE Team Emirates at the front of the peloton has reduced the gap to the breakaway to under two minutes.

UAE Team Emirates setting the tempo at the front of the peloton
UAE Team Emirates setting the tempo at the front of the peloton - Shutterstock/Martin Divisek

02:48 PM BST

68km to go

Neilson Powless takes the two points at the summit of the Côte d’Alkiza to extend his lead at the top of the king of the mountains classification. He now has a seven point lead in the KOM standings as he sits on 10 points.

02:46 PM BST

69km to go

Another sprinter has been dropped from the peloton in the form of Soudal-Quick Step’s Fabio Jakobsen. Actually you can add Dylan Groenewegen’s (Jayco-Alula) name to that list of sprinters dropped.

02:43 PM BST

70km to go

Mark Cavendish has been dropped on the climb, which is not the biggest surprise but he will have the support of a few team-mates. Meanwhile there is a crash in the middle of the peloton. Luckily it looks like no-one is hurt but that will not help a number of riders towards the back of the peloton up this climb.

02:40 PM BST

71km to go

The peloton has now hit the Côte d’Alkiza and it is UAE Team Emirates setting the pace at the front of the peloton.

UAE Team Emirates set the pace at the front of the peloton
UAE Team Emirates set the pace at the front of the peloton - Shutterstock/Martin Divisek

In the breakaway Remi Cavagna (Soudal-Quick Step) has just been dropped by Edvald Boasson Hagan and Neilson Powless on this climb.

02:37 PM BST

72km to go

Plenty of rain has fallen but the sun has come out now which might be a relief with the descents ahead. The breakaway has reached the Côte d’Alkiza, which is a 4.2km climb at an average gradient of just under 6%.

02:32 PM BST

75km to go

The breakaway are approaching the next climb up the Côte d’Alkiza, which is a category three climb. It is now very wet on the roads which could have a significant impact on the last 75km of this stage.

02:30 PM BST

77km to go

The rain is still falling in the Basque Country which could cause havoc on the descents to come. The gap between the breakaway and the peloton is just over two and a half minutes. Mark Cavendish has managed to work his way back into the peloton.

02:26 PM BST

81km to go

The pace has stepped up in the peloton with UAE Team Emirates right at the front of the peloton as they have been for a lot of the day. Marc Soler is at the front for UAE. The gap out in front is down under three minutes now. Mark Cavendish has been dropped from the peloton on this climb. His team-mates Cees Bol and Gianni Moscon are with him.

02:15 PM BST

87km to go

The breakaway’s lead has now been reduced down to three and a half minutes. There was a minor incident in the peloton involving Alexander Edmondson (DSM Firmenich) but all is okay as he is working his way back into the peloton.

Team DSM-Firmenich's Australian rider Alexander Edmondson reacts after suffering a fall
DSM-Firmenich's Alexander Edmondson crashes but is fine to continue - AFP/Marco Bertorello

02:09 PM BST

93km to go

One of the members of the breakaway, Edvald Boasson Hagan, is riding his 239th stage of the Tour de France, since 2010. It’s his 13th appearance at the Tour.

01:59 PM BST

97km to go

Rain is starting to fall at the Tour. The riders might not mind the rain at the moment but will be hoping it is not too heavy for the descents ahead.

01:54 PM BST

100km to go

We have just reached 100km to go on stage two. The breakaway’s lead currently stands at four and a half minutes and the peloton seem content to allow them that gap for the time being.

Current leader Adam Yates and his UAE Team Emirates team at the front of the peloton
Current leader Adam Yates and his UAE Team Emirates team are at the front of the peloton - Shutterstock/Martin Divisek

01:44 PM BST

108km to go

One of the brilliant things of the Tour de France is the beautiful scenery and the Basque country is delivering:

01:41 PM BST

112km to go

Powless has taken three points in the king of the mountains classification. He leads the KOM with eight points ahead of Georg Zimmermann and Pascal Eenkhorn, who are on three points.

01:34 PM BST

116km to go

The peloton have now reached the summit of the Côte d’Aztiria and it is Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan) who brings up the rear in the peloton.

01:30 PM BST

121km to go

The breakaway has reached the top of the Côte d’Aztiria and once again Neilson Powless is allowed to go over the top in first, which gives him another point in the king of the mountains classification. Behind the peloton are bringing that gap down. It is now down to three and a half minutes.

EF-Education EasyPost's Neilson Powless leading the breakaway group up the second climb of the day
EF-Education EasyPost's Neilson Powless is adding to his lead in the king of the mountains classification - Shutterstock/Martin Divisek

01:23 PM BST

124km to go

The peloton have now made their way over the top of the Col d’Udana as the breakaway hit the next climb which is the Côte d’Aztiria, a category four climb.

01:20 PM BST

126km to go

Behind in the peloton UAE Team Emirates have taken around 30 seconds out of the breakaway on this climb so far. They have still got 1km of the climb to go.

01:19 PM BST

127km to go

The three riders in the breakaway are reaching the top of the Col d’Udana. Neilson Powless takes the maximum two points on the top of the climb and extends he lead in the king of the mountains classification by a couple of points. They are not far away from the next climb, which is a category four.

01:14 PM BST

130km to go

UAE Team Emirates are at the front of the peloton as they hit the foot of the Col d’Udana climb. Mikkel Bjerg is the man at the front of the UAE train. They are just shy of five minutes down on the breakaway.

UAE Team Emirates take their place at the front of the peloton
UAE Team Emirates take their place at the front of the peloton - Reuters/Stephane Mahe

01:09 PM BST

132km to go

The breakaway hits the first categorised climb up for Col d’Udana, which is 4.5km long. It is a category three climb. They have a lead over the peloton of four minutes 50 seconds.

12:55 PM BST

142km to go

The breakaway, who currently lead the peloton by just under five minutes, are about 10km from the first categorised climb up the Col d’Udana.

EF-Education EasyPost's Neilson Powless leads a breakaway group
Neilson Powless leads the breakaway group, who have a near five minute advantage over the peloton - Shutterstock/Martin Divisek

12:42 PM BST

153km to go

Provisional points classification after the intermediate sprint:

1. Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates), 30

2. Simon Yates (Jayco-Alula), 25

3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), 22

4. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck), 21

5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (TotalEnergies), 20

6. Pascal Eenkhoorn (Lotto-Dstny), 20

The stage winner at San Sebastian will collect 50 points.

12:39 PM BST

158km to go

Result of the intermediate sprint at Legutio (km 40.6):

1. Edvald Boasson Hagen, 20 pts

2. Rémi Cavagna, 17 pts

3. Neilson Powless, 15 pts

At 4’25’’:

4. Jasper Philipsen, 13 pts

5. Sam Welsford, 11 pts

6. Bryan Coquard, 10 pts

7. Biniam Girmay, 9 pts

8. Mads Pedersen, 8 pts

9. Mark Cavendish, 7 pts

10. Dylan Groenewegen, 6 pts

12:34 PM BST

160km to go

The breakaway currently has a lead of four and a half minutes over the peloton.

12:28 PM BST

165km to go

The lead-outs start in the peloton ahead of the intermediate sprint. The likes of Mark Cavendish, Mads Pederson and Jasper Philipsen are all up there. It was close between Sam Welsford and Jasper Philipsen on the line but they have given it to Philipsen for fourth across the line after the breakaway.

12:25 PM BST

166km to go

Another man who was fancied for yesterday was Soudal-Quick Step’s Julian Alaphilippe. Let’s now hear from the Frenchman:

12:23 PM BST

168km to go

We are at the intermediate sprint at Legutio and TotalEnergies’ Edvald Boasson Hagan is allowed by the other two members of the breakaway to role across the line first and take the maximum 20 points. The peloton are over four minutes behind but when they reach the intermediate sprint there will be a sprint on as there are points still available for the points classification.

12:12 PM BST

176km to go

Another man who was fancied for yesterday’s opening stage was Alepcin-Deceuninck’s Matheiu van der Poel, but again it did not work out for him. Let’s hear his thoughts ahead of stage two:

12:09 PM BST

178km to go

The trio in the breakaway now have a four minute advantage over the peloton.

12:04 PM BST

181km to go

After a brilliant finish to yesterday’s first stage, let’s hope we are in for another one today. But who will win? Let’s see what the Eurosport team think:

12:02 PM BST

183km to go

One man who was fancied for yesterday’s stage was Britain’s Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers), but it was not to be for him. Let’s hear from him ahead of today’s stage.

11:58 AM BST

185km to go

Cavagna, Powless and Boasson Hagan now have a lead of two minutes and 45 seconds out in front.

Soudal-Quick Step's Remi Cavagna, TotalEnergies' Edvald Boasson Hagan and EF-Education EasyPost's Neilson Powless in action during stage two
Remi Cavagna (left), Edvald Boasson Hagan (centre) and Neilson Powless form the early breakaway - Reuters/Stephane Mahe

11:53 AM BST

190km to go

We are roughly 20km into this second stage and that group of three consisting of Cavagna, Powless and Boasson Hagan now have a lead of nearly two minutes. The pace in the peloton has slowed significantly and they seem content allowing those three to go away for now.

11:45 AM BST

197km to go

A group of three have broken away at the front which consists of Rémi Cavagna (Soudal-Quick Step), Neilson Powless (EF-Education EasyPost) and Edvald Boasson Hagan (Total Energies). Powless currently leads the king of the mountains classification. It looks like the peloton seems happy to let that group get away for the time being as the pace slows.

11:40 AM BST

200km to go

That first attempt of a breakaway has already been reeled back by the peloton. The pace is already very high and there are probably quite a few riders in the peloton hoping things calm down soon.

11:39 AM BST

202km to go

A group including Magnus Cort, Pascal Eenkhorn, Anhony Turgis and Mads Pedersen has formed but the peloton is working hard to reel them back in. The breakaway is struggling to get away in these early stages.

An early breakaway tries to get away on stage two
An early breakaway including Magnus Cort and Mads Pedersen tries to get away on stage two - Velo/David Ramos

11:36 AM BST

204km to go

It is going to be difficult for a breakaway to get away in these early stages. A group of four has got a little ahead of the peloton and sprinter Mads Pedersen of Lidl-Trek is trying to get across. He will be thinking about the green jersey (points classification) points available at the intermediate sprint.

11:33 AM BST

We are underway

The flag drops slightly beyond kilometre zero as we wait for a few riders to get back into the peloton and the proper racing on stage two gets underway. We have an intermediate sprint around 40km into today’s stage and it is fairly flat up to that sprint.

11:23 AM BST

Family affair

It was a great day for Britain, Bury and the Yates brothers as Adam got the better of Simon to win the stage and claim yellow. Today they will be supported by their parents on the course! A special few days for the Yates family!

11:19 AM BST

General classification after stage one

1. Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) 4hrs 22mins 39secs

2. Simon Yates (Team Jayco-AlUla) +8secs

3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +18secs

4. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) +22secs

5. Michael Woods (Israel-Premier Tech) Same time

6. Victor Lafay (Cofidis) Same time

7. Jai Hindley (BORA-hansgrohe) Same time

8. Mattias Skjlemose (Lidl-Trek) Same time

9. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) Same time

10. David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) Same time

11:17 AM BST

Neutralised roll-out

The neutralised roll-out has just begun. It will be much shorter than yesterday’s which was around 30 minutes on the opening day of the 2023 Tour de France. Today’s will be about 10 minutes so the proper racing will get underway fairly promptly.

The peloton rolls out at the start of the second stage
The peloton rolls out at the start of the second stage - Shutterstock/Martin Divisek

11:13 AM BST

Adam Yates in yellow

We were promised an exciting, unpredictable opening stage and it delivered. Not your usual, easy first day. Instead we had a fair bit of climbing and created a fascinating finish. A day for British cycling to enjoy as the Yates twins, Adam and Simon, went head-to-head in the final 10km for the stage win after breaking away from a group of general classification contenders including Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar. Which Yates brother was going to win. It was UAE Team Emirates’ Adam who pipped his twin to take the first stage and with it the yellow jersey.

UAE Team Emirates' Adam Yates (right) wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey and his brother Team Jayco Alula's Simon Yates wearing the best sprinter's green jersey
Current leader Adam Yates (right) awaiting the start next to his brother Simon, who finished second yesterday behind Adam - AFP/Anne-Christine Poujoulate

Whilst we enjoyed the thrill of the boys from Bury going up against each other, sadly it was a day to forget for Movistar’s Enric Mas and EF-Education EasyPost’s Richard Carapaz. They crashed with around 20km to go on stage one. Mas abandoned immediately after injuring his shoulder and despite reaching the finish, Carapaz is also out. Incredibly, he managed to ride the final 20km with a broken kneecap.

Today’s second stage takes us 209km from Vitoria-Gasteiz to San Sebastián, the second and final day in the Basque country before we head to France. Not a mountain stage, but certainly a hilly one including five categorised climbs that should provide the same entertainment as yesterday. Expect more fireworks today!