BRITAIN’S Chris Froome served his Tour de France rivals an early warning as Belgian Jan Bakelants took the yellow jersey with a solo victory on stage two yesterday.
Froome surprised the rest of the peloton with a burst of pace three quarters up the final one kilometre climb, allowing the Team Sky rider a clear road for his descent and pursuit of Cyril Gautier.
Last year’s Tour runner-up and strong pre-race favourite allowed the rest of the chasing pack to catch him, but the move had already reaped psychological as well as practical reward.
“It’s always good to keep people on their toes,” Froome said. “I knew the descent was tricky and dangerous. I was on the front with [team-mate] Richie Porte and I thought it might be a good time to push on, get ahead, take the descent at my own pace and stay out of trouble.”
Britain’s David Millar moved to second overall after narrowly avoiding a runaway dog, which threatened to cause a repeat of the accidents that blighted Saturday’s chaotic first stage.
Tour debutant Bakelants was part of a six-man breakaway to strike six kilometres from the finish, and succeeded in going alone despite a Peter Sagan-led pack ultimately closing to within a second.