Julian Alaphilippe, of France, sprinted from a 10-rider break to win stage 2 at the Coupe des Nations Saguenay. Argentinian Eduardo Sepulveda – riding for the UCI World Cycling Team – was second followed by Mark Christian, of Great Britain, in third. Also in the late race move, American Nathan Brown finished sixth followed by Canadian David Boily in seventh. The field crossed the line 10 seconds later.
Winner of stage 1, Arman Kamyshev (KAZ) finished fourth and moved up one spot to take over the yellow jersey. The 19-year old Alaphilippe also claimed the white best young rider jersey. With two stages to go, both Boily and Brown are 10 seconds down on GC, sitting in ninth and tenth respectively.
Four kilometers into the 151-km stage, Alexis Gougeard (FRA), Juan Chamorro and Carlos Galeano (COL) and Jan Tratnik (SLO) escaped off the front. They were soon joined by three more riders, Hugo Houle (CAN), Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ) and Kamil Gradek (POL). The gap was up to 40 seconds at the end of the first of 15-km lap.
Houle and Lutsenko battled for the sprint points and their associated bonus seconds, finishing first and second in the first intermediate sprint and then reversing for the second. Galeano took all three KOMs to claim the polka-dot jersey.
The gap pushed up to 2:30 but the field, led by the Danish team, had them in sight 100 kilometers after they escaped. Not willing to give up, Tratnik attacked on the climb with Gougeard and Lutsenko reacting to get on his wheel. The trio pushed the gap back up to 55 seconds before being re-absorbed.
With the speed amping up on the final lap, 10 riders made a move that stuck. Alaphilippe and his teammate Olivier Le Gac, Klemen Stimulak (SLO), Fernando Orjuela (COL), Boily, Brown, Christian, Sepulveda and Kamyshev gave it their all but the games started between the breakmates dropping the gap from 50 to 30 seconds with less than five kilometers to go. Then Le Gac attacked, forcing the others to chase and putting his teammate in perfect position for the win.[/caption
“The race suited me. We rode well, but in the last five kilometers, the riders were looking at each other and we lost a lot of time. We stayed vigilant and didn't trust the other riders. I sprinted at the right time and that was it,” Alaphilippe said.
Racing continues on Saturday 12:00 pm (noon) EDT with the 141-km circuit race starting and ending in Kénogami. The 14-km loop, done 10 times, includes a 800-meter climb at 9% less than three kilometers from the finish line.
Stage 2 complete results here