The 28-year-old Frenchman has moved onto the overall podium of the race.
Julian Alaphilippe did what he does best and attacked in the closing kilometers of stage 2 on the steepest part of Litschstrasse, a 2.3km climb averaging 8.5% which promised and delivered fireworks, as well as some changes in the general classification. Up until then, the day had two protagonists: a breakaway comprising four men and the pouring rain which kept nagging the riders from before the start all the way to the finish.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step made themselves noticed with more than 70 kilometers to go, when Tim Declercq took over the reins in the peloton and started chewing into the escapees’ advantage. Then, in the run-in to the last ascent, Dries Devenyns moved to the front and went full gas with Alaphilippe in his wheel. The World Champion attacked on the steepest section and forced a selection. With the four men that could follow him reluctant to share the work, Julian put in another dig and distanced the yellow jersey, while making sure only a small group would go over the top of the climb.
On the wet descent, where the rainbow jersey led the way, the nine riders cooperated until three kilometers to go, when attacks began coming. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-hansgrohe) opened a gap and went on to fight for victory, nabbed by the former just a few seconds ahead of the chasing group, from where Alaphilippe took eighth. The result he got in Lachen elevated the Frenchman to second in the general classification, just one second from the race lead.
“I’m not really disappointed, as I was à bloc. It was a nice finale, but also a hard one, because the rain made the roads very slippery. I tried and gave the maximum to make the difference, but on the flat there was a moment of hesitation and two guys got away and that was it. On Sunday I took a good result, today I was again at the front, and this shows the form is there, which gives me confidence for the remaining stages, where I hope to find some more opportunities for some nice results”, said Julian after the stage that put Deceuninck – Quick-Step at the top of the team classification.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images