Bakelants rides his luck to victory

Belgian Jan Bakelants, a last-minute inclusion on the RadioShack-Leopard Tour de France roster, rode his luck to win the second stage by one second and take the overall leader’s yellow jersey on Sunday.

Bakelants powered away from a six-man late breakaway group with just over one kilometre to go on the 156 kms hilly ride from Bastia and crossed the line with the bunch breathing down his neck.

Slovakian Peter Sagan finished second and Polish champion Michal Kwiatowski took third place.

“It’s the best day of my cycling career,” said Bakelants. “It’s hard to believe after all the problems I had this year and the previous years.

“I had opportunities earlier in my career but I lacked a bit of luck. I had it today.”
It was the first professional win for the 27-year-old, whose previous victory came in 2008 when he claimed the prestigious Tour de l’Avenir.

“This year I had knee surgery and on my comeback at the Tour de Romandie (in April) I suffered from a knee inflammation,” Bakelants said.  “I had to quit and could not take part in the Criterium du Dauphine (this month). But after I did well at the Tour du Luxembourg (third overall), the team took a gamble and took me to the Tour.”
RadioShack sports director Kim Andersen told reporters Bakelants had often been injured and had made a bad start to the season.

“He was happy to be on the Tour and his mission was to win the second or the third stage,” Anderson said.

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