Mathieu van der Poel fulfilled his grandfather Raymond Poulidor’s lifetime dream when he claimed the Tour de France yellow jersey with a stunning, emotional win in the second stage on Sunday.
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The Dutchman produced a brutal acceleration with 700 metres left in the final ascent to Mur de Bretagne to beat defending champion Tadej Pogacar and his fellow Slovenian Primoz Roglic, who were second and third respectively, six seconds behind.
The 26-year-old, making his Tour debut, burst into tears when it was confirmed that he had moved to the top of the overall standings.
“It’s too bad that he (Poulidor) cannot be here but there’s nothing I can do about it,” said Van der Poel of his grandfather, who died in November 2019 aged 83. “It would have been so great to have a picture of me and him with the yellow jersey.”
Having also picked up eight bonus seconds in the first of two ascents to Mur de Bretagne, Van der Poel took the overall leader’s yellow jersey from Julian Alaphilippe and now leads the world champion by eight seconds.