Coquard takes stage 2 sprint victory at Tour de Suisse as mechanical issues halt De Lie

Bryan Coquard of France, riding for Team Cofidis, clinched his first win of the season on stage 2 of the Tour de Suisse. In a dramatic finish, Coquard surged past Arnaud De Lie of Belgium in the final 150 metres after the Lotto Dstny rider suffered a mechanical issue, allowing Coquard to triumph ahead of Michael Matthews.

Stage 2, the longest of this year’s Tour de Suisse at 177.3km, began in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, and featured a challenging profile with several climbs, including the Kerenzerberg. A five-man breakaway formed early, featuring Gerben Kuypers, Roberto Carlos González, Félix Stehli, Antoine Debons, and Luca Jenni.

Despite building a significant lead, the breakaway was eventually reeled in with around 25km to go as the peloton prepared for the final climb. Multiple teams, including Alpecin-Deceuninck and Soudal Quick-Step, controlled the pace, ensuring the stage would come down to a sprint finish.

In the final kilometres, several attacks were launched, including a move by David de la Cruz and a late attempt by Bettiol, but it was Lotto Dstny who seemed poised for victory until De Lie’s chain dropped, paving the way for Coquard’s win.

De Lie, who had been the favourite to win, was visibly frustrated as he crossed the line in third place, having dropped his chain during the sprint. His team had successfully reeled in a late attack from Alberto Bettiol with just 1.2km to go, setting up what looked like a certain victory before the untimely mechanical.

Coquard’s win in Regensdorf marked his first WorldTour victory since January of the previous year, when he took a stage at the Tour Down Under. He now sets his sights on achieving a stage win at the upcoming Tour de France, having narrowly missed out in previous years.

“It’s my biggest victory today,” a jubilant Coquard shared post-race. “It’s a difficult stage with a hard climb just before the final. Today we knew with the team it was a good opportunity for me. I’m a good sprinter but with the big guys it’s more difficult for me and today was a perfect opportunity.”

“A lot of times I finished second in Tour de France for example, 28mm with Marcel Kittel in Limoges,” Coquard remarked. “I’m really happy because I went to an altitude training camp for three weeks in preparation for the Tour de France and I won today, it’s perfect.”

Leader’s Jersey and Crashes

Yves Lampaert retained his yellow jersey after his stage 1 victory, finishing safely in the bunch despite some splits forming over the final climb. The day was not without incident, however, as several crashes occurred in the finale. Emanuel Buchmann was forced to abandon the race after suffering a broken collarbone and hip.

“He was in great shape and ready to go for a top result,” said sports director Patxi Vila. “We’ll be missing him here and wish him all the very best!”

Nairo Quintana also abandoned the race following a crash that resulted in a non-displaced fracture of the fourth metacarpal in his right hand. Although he finished the stage, the injury assessment confirmed he could not continue.

Reflecting on the race, Team Visma | Lease a Bike’s sports director Marc Reef noted, “We knew it could be a hectic final, especially given the climb at the end and the many narrow roads full of traffic obstacles. Fortunately, we got through the ride well. That was also the main thing today.”

Chris Hamilton, road captain for Team dsm-firmenich PostNL, commented on their strategy: “It was a pretty hard first road stage here in Switzerland actually, with quite a few climbs. Our main priority was to get Oscar [Onley] through the stage and get him home safe and sound. He did a good job at that considering it is his first race back after his long break due to injury.”

The Tour de Suisse continues with stage 3, which features a flatter route with a punchy finish before the hardest climbing begins later in the week.

2024 Tour de Suisse Stage 2 result

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