Stage 2 of the 2021 Étoile de Bessèges was won by Timothy Dupont (Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles), in a long sprint, coming around Pierre Barbier (Delko) Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka-Assos) right at the line.
As in stage 1, crashes marred the final kilometers of racing.
The 154-kilometer route from Saint-Geniès to La Calmette saw the peloton encouter rain in the final 50km.
At the KOM point with 47km to go, the five riders in the break ceased to work with each other, and the group became a handful of individuals racing against the peloton which had lopped the advantage down to just 90 seconds.
Soloing away from the others in the break, Ludovic Robeet (Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles) stretched his advantage back out to two minutes ahead of the peloton lead by Cofidis and Total Direct Énergie.
The four remaining riders from the initial break stayed out from the main group until just inside of 28km to go.
At the 20km remaining mark, Ineos-Grenadiers brought Egan Bernal to the front, while Trek-Segafredo safely escorted Mads Pederson on the other side of the road.
Robeet’s day in front ended with 10km of racing remaining when he was reeled in as the bunch navigated speed bumps and railroad tracks in narrow, winding roads outside of the finish village.
Geraint Thomas (Ineos-Grenadiers) could be seen safely at the front, also with Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo), as the race came back together.
Teams B&B Hotels, Ineos-Grenadiers, Trek-Segafredo, and Arkéa-Samsic patrolled the front into the final 5km, with the Cofidis train finding an opening for the stage 1 winner Laporte.
A crash at 3.7km to go took down several riders, including Ineos Grenadiers’ Ethan Hayter.
Another crash at 400m at the exit of a rotary split the group, allowing a handful of escapees to get clear, as riders and bikes went careening across the road, including Edvald Boasson Hagen (Total Direct Énergie) and Danny Van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert).
Stevige valpartij op rotonde in de laatste 500 meter ontsiert de sprint in de Ster van Bessèges pic.twitter.com/CAzwNikvn9
— Sporza 🚴 (@sporza_koers) February 4, 2021
The chaos allowed Dupont, Barbier, Nizzolo, and stage 1 winner Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) to get clear of the fray where they launched an early dash, with Dupont coming around the others without road to spare.
Étoile de Bessèges stage 2 results
1. Timothy Dupont (Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles), 3:35:15
2. Pierre Barbier (Delko), at s.t.
3. Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka-Assos), at s.t.
4. Rudy Barber (Israel Start-Up Nation), at s.t.
5. Christophe Laporte (Cofidis), at s.t.
6. Nacer BOUHANNI Bouhanni (Arkéa Samsic), at s.t.
7. Marc SARREAU Sarreau (AG2R-Citroën), at s.t.
8. Gerben THIJSSEN Thijssen (Lotto Soudal), at s.t.
9. Silvan DILLIER Dillier (Alpecin-Fenix), at s.t.
10. Edward Theuns (Trek – Segafredo), at s.t.