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Tour de l’Ain stage 2: Guillaume Martin wins out of elite group

The Frenchman fended off a small chasing group to win the stage, and overtakes the leader's jersey.

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Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) jumped with about 1.5km out of an elite group to open a gap into the “red kite” after a climb-heavy stage 2 at the Tour de l’Ain.

The Frenchman fended off a small chasing group to win the stage and takes over the leader’s jersey.

“I needed to play it smart out of the group, and I attacked a few times to get the gap,” Martin said. “Now that I have the leader’s jersey, of course, we’ll race to win the overall tomorrow. It’s been a while since I’ve won a race, so this is a good feeling.”

Martin was among more than a dozen riders forced to leave the Tour de France last month with COVID-19, and said he was happy he could score the victory after racing the Giro d’Italia and most of the Tour this year without a win.

The 144km second stage from Saint-Vulbas to Lagnieu featured a rollercoaster profile, with the Col de Portes with 20km to do.

A group of seven pulled clear on the climb-heavy profile, with Mattias Skjelmose Jensen (Trek-Segafredo) opening a gap on the leaders on the torturous descent.

The leaders reeled him in on an unrated climb with 10km to go, and the world champion Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) and George Bennett (UAE Team Emirates) were gapped out.

Overnight leader Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ) was dropped on the final climb and ceded the leader’s jersey despite putting up a good fight on the Col de Portes.

With Martin sneaking away for the win, Skjelmose Jensen crossed the line second at 2 seconds back, and Rudy Moland (Groupama-FDJ) third at the same time.

The Tour de l’Ain concludes Thursday with the third and final stage from Plateau d’Hauteville at Lélex. At 131km, the stage features two passages over the first-category Col de Menthières in the second half of the stage. After a brisk descent, it’s about 12km of an unrated, grinding climb to the finish line.