Norway’s Alexander Kristoff (UAE) won the first stage of the 2020 Tour de France on Saturday during a rainy day in Nice that included numerous crashes. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) crashed during Stage 1, but won the yellow jersey with a victory in Stage 2 (Nice Haut Pays > Nice) during one of the first mountain stages. After Stage 2, Alaphilippe leads the Tour de France by four seconds.

Julian Alaphilippe Tour de France Alexander Kristoff
Julian Alaphilippe (center) wins a final sprint in Stage 2 of the 2020 Tour de France (Image: Cor Vos/Cycling Tips)

Alaphilippe took the cycling world by storm at the 2019 Tour de France riding for the Belgian team DQS. The Frenchman led Le Tour for several days last summer, which fired up many jaded French cycling fans. In the 21st Century, the French assume that a non-French rider will win Le Tour. Five-time champion Bernard ‘The Badger’ Hinault was the last Frenchman to win back in 1985. Since the heyday of French supremacy, the Tour de France has been dominated by steroids, Americans, the Spanish and, most recently, the British.

Thus far, Alaphilippe has one victory and an overall time of 8 hours, 41 minutes, and 35 seconds. He holds a four-second edge over Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott).

2020 TOUR DE FRANCE ODDS (Update 8.30.20)
Primoz Roglic +160
Egan Bernal +250
Tom Dumoulin +700
Thibaut Pinot +1100
Julian Alaphilippe +1400

After two stages, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo–Visma) continues to top the futures board at +160 odds to win the Tour de France.

Defending champion Egan Bernal (Ineos) is the second-highest rider on the board at 5/2 odds to win consecutive yellow jerseys on Le Tour.

Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) crashed during Stage 1. He’s still 11/1 odds to win Le Tour and end France’s drought. Alaphilippe saw his odds improve to 14/1 after winning Stage 2.

Stage 1: Nice Noyen Pays > Nice

The Tour de France finally began in Nice after the pandemic-induced delay. The opening day of action was filled with drama, bad weather, and crashes.

Rain ruined what would have been a lovely ride along the Cote d’Azur. Once the skies opened up, the first crash occurred. Then another. And another. Pavel Sivakov (Ineos) crashed twice. Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) crashed near the top of Cote de Rimiez, while Sicakov crashed on the descent.

Norway’s Alexander Kristoff (UAE) stayed upright and won the yellow jersey in a slippery and dangerous Stage 1.

1. Alexander Kristoff (UAE) 3:46:23
2. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo)
3. Cees Bol (Sunweb)

“Everybody was crashing around, but I told myself it was easier than riding on ice on Norway,” said Kristoff. “I think it was the right call to take it easy on the downhills so we don’t lose any big contenders on the first day.”

The opening day casualties included Julian Alaphilippe, Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal), Mikel Landa (Bahrain–McLaren), and Tom Dumuolin.

With so many riders crashing, Tour de France officials determined they would cut the race short approximately three kilometers before the finish line.

“There were quite a few patches of oil on the road, but at least we didn’t race over the last climb,” said Bernal. “Otherwise, there might have even more crashes.”

Stage 2: Nice Haut Pays > Nice

Stage 2 included the first foray into the mountains during a 186 km ride from Nice Haut Pays back into Nice. Alaphilippe came into the first mountain stage as the consensus favorite. DraftKings set his odds at +375 to win Stage 2.

Marc Hirschi, Adam Yates, and Alaphilippe broke away from the peloton. Fans were rewarded with a three-rider sprint to the finish line.

Alaphilippe edged out Switzerland’s Hirschi, who finished in second place. Yates took third in Stage 2, but moved up to second overall in the general classification.

1. Julian Alaphilippe (DQS) 4:55:27
2. Marc Hirschi (Sunweb)
3. Adam Yates (M-S)

“I was never going to win the sprint, them too were both faster than me, but to come third on stage 2, I’m pretty happy with that,” explained Yates.

“It’s always a special emotion to win on the Tour but this is a special year,” said Alaphilippe. “I haven’t won a race since the beginning of the season, although I’ve always continued to work hard despite the difficult moments.”

On Deck: Stage 3 at Sisteron

Stage 3 will be an alpine stage that includes a flat 198 km ride from Nice to Sisteron. If you dig medieval architecture, Sisteron is best known for its citadel.

According to European bookies, Caleb Ewan and Sam Bennet are co-favorites to win the yellow jersey in Stage 3.