Mikel Nieve
Team Mitchelton-SCOTT GreenEdge
Data from Garmin

mikel nieve power file
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The second day in the Alps made for some exciting racing, with two HC climbs and this Tour’s first summit finish. The peloton shattered (along with the GC hopes of some of the pre-race favorites), under the familiar, relentless late-stage pace of Team Sky.

While it’s not as exciting to watch as a good cat-and-mouse, anyone who doubted Sky’s efforts should have noted the domestiques, who could be seen fairly crawling up the side of the road after their jobs were done. Even the roadside fans looked a little worried.

Still, it was Mikel Nieve of Mitchelton-Scott GreenEdge who looked poised to win the day after a long time solo on the front. But he was nipped with at a heartbreaking 300m to go by Geraint Thomas (Sky). Followed by teammate Froome, the Welsh rider had bridged from the chase group, which at one point included GC contenders Quintana, Landa, Yates, and Bardet. Nieve was left to contemplate his top tube as his pursuers passed him going through the finish. 

None except Dan Martin seemed to have any desire or ability to respond to the Thomas-Froome punch, but we’ve gotten used to seeing this after the standard Sky onslaught. The well-financed team will be very happy with this day, which appeared to go exactly as planned, with Thomas sliding into yellow and Froome taking a comfortable third in the GC, just four seconds behind his teammate. Sunweb’s Tom Dumoulin will also be pleased with a strong ride, having moved into second overall.¬†

On the other end of the results, Rigoberto Uran of EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale, had a disastrous day. The Colombian plummeted out of contention at over 26 minutes back. Another GC hopeful, Mitchelton-SCOTT Greenedge’s Adam Yates, is now nearly five minutes off the time of Thomas.

This stage also proved too much for several sprinters including Dimension Data for Qhebeka’s Mark Cavendish, his leadout man Mark Renshaw, and Quickstep’s Marcel Kittel, all of whom finished well outside the allowable time limit and will not continue.

To finish on a most positive note, EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale’s Lawson Craddock appears invincible, somehow surviving yet another stage after breaking his scapula in a horrible crash on the Tour’s first day.