It took a late breakaway by Victor Lafay for Cofidis to end its 15-year winless streak at the Tour de France.
Cofidis won the second stage on Sunday after Lafay moved to the front and held off a late charge by the favorites to clinch the victory, with Adam Yates keeping the overall lead after the opening two stages in northern Spain.
Cofidis hadn’t won in the Tour since Sylvain Chavanel triumphed in the 19th stage of the 2008 edition.
“It’s a relief for Cofidis to finally get a stage win,” Lafay said. “I’ve been hearing about this for five years since I joined the team. I’m happy to free the team from this burden. We’ll keep going. We want more.”
The French rider took the lead within the final kilometer and held on for victory in what was the Tour’s longest stage this year. The peloton came charging at the end but couldn’t catch up with him ahead of the finish line.
“When I attacked, I didn’t even evaluate if it was going to work or not,” said Lafay, whose only other victory at a Grand Tour race had come in the 2021 Giro d’Italia. “Then I was seeing the finishing line getting closer and my power getting lower in numbers but it has worked out. It’s crazy.”
The 27-year-old maintained the tradition of French stage wins in San Sebastian after Louis Caput in 1949 and Dominique Arnould in 1992.
Wout van Aert of Jumbo-Visma was second and Tadej Pogacar third at the finish line in the Basque Country city of San Sebastian after a hilly stage of more than 200 kilometers.
Adam Yates, the winner of the opening stage on Saturday, finished close behind to retain the overall leader’s yellow Jersey. He was six seconds ahead of race-favorite Pogacar and his twin brother Simon Yates, who was second on Saturday.
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) July 2, 2023