Lizzie Deignan, of YORKSHIRE, started late to claim the victory in a sprint at La Course.
The Trek-Segafredo rider was part of an elite group of six who emerged from the peloton down the Côte de Rimiez, 44 km from the finish line.
The elite squad led by Annemiek Van Vleuten worked in unison and long range attacks leading to the expected sprint from Van Vleuten and Deignan’s teammate Elisa Longo Borghini were stopped by Marianne Vos.
Longo Borghini then made another attack from the back of the group and Vos stayed on his wheel and watched the likely winner, but Deignan anticipated and sat in Vos’s wake before making his decisive move, winning victory at the last moment with a bike throw over the finish line.
The 31-year-old said after her victory: “I was just relieved to have won it. What a performance of Trek-Segafredo today. Each rider played his part and Elisa and I really had to wait for the final. Elisa did the perfect job, forcing Marianne to sprint early and I took advantage of it. I think I had two of the best sprinters in the world in the car, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg and Giorgia Bronzini both beat Marianne Vos in many sprints, so I got the best advice and their advice was ‘patience’ and I followed him. ”
Deignan was relieved to see her hard work paying off with glory.
She added: “It’s phenomenal! Sometimes when you train hard and things don’t go the way you want it to be frustrating and ultimately it seems like luck is on our side. Being part of Trek-Segafredo is the best feeling and it’s a team victory.
“It’s really special. I know my husband and daughter were watching TV and I can’t wait to pick up the phone and talk to them.
Briton Adam Yates was eliminated in a three-man sprint when Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe won the second stage of the Tour de France to take the yellow jersey.
Rider Mitchelton-Scott Yates caught a two-man breakaway between Alaphilippe and Swiss Marc Hirschi on the final 10-kilometer climb to go in Nice and the trio worked as a team to hold the peloton.
They were almost caught up as they were playing cat-and-mouse with the finish line, but Deceuninck-Quick-Step pilot Alaphilippe’s latest flurry saw him pip Hirschi (Sunweb), with Yates crossing a second behind.
Alaphilippe took the yellow jersey of the winner of the first stage Alexander Kristoff and Yates came second in the general classification, four seconds behind.
Yates, keen to become the ninth Briton to wear the yellow jersey of the overall Tour leader, paused to catch up with the leading duo on the final climb with 11 kilometers from the end.
“I jumped over to Alaphilippe and Hirschi, then we started working,” he says. “It was not very easy.
“In the end, I was never going to win the sprint, these two are both faster than me, but it was a good stage two and I’m pretty happy with it.
“Maybe if I had another climb or something, but like I said, in a sprint with these two, in that kind of finish, I was always going to finish second or third, but it’s been a good day.
Alaphilippe, who sealed his fifth stage victory in the Tour de France in four hours 55 minutes and 27 seconds, was pushed to the line by Hirschi.
Belgian Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) came out of the pursuit peloton to finish fourth ahead of Colombian Sergio Andres Higuita (EF Pro Cycling) and Dutch Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), sixth.
Alaphilippe leads the overall standings with a time of 8: 41.35, four seconds ahead of Yates, with Hirschi three seconds more and Higuita fourth.
Alaphilippe dedicated his stage victory to his late father and couldn’t hide his feelings at the finish.
“There is great emotion because I won on the Tour,” said Alaphilippe.
“I haven’t won since the start of the season, so I worked really hard.
“I worked hard when it was really difficult because of Covid and I want to dedicate this victory to my father, who died in June.
“I got to the last climb and gave it my all in this climb and having Adam Yates and Hirschi also made me nervous, but we worked well in a headwind which was difficult, but I succeeded.