Tour de France Stage 2 reaction from new maillot jaune Jan Bakelants, Marcel Kittel and Chris Froome

RadioShack Leopard's Belgian rider looks back on a day that changed his life

by Simon_MacMichael   June 30, 2013  

TDF 2013 jerseys

Jan Bakelants of RadioShack-Leopard had never won a professional race until this afternoon – tomorrow, he will wear the maillot jaune of leader of the Tour de France on Stage 3 form Ajaccio to Calvi.

Here’s the Belgian’s thoughts on a life changing day, as well as the man who started the day in the maillot jaune, Marcel Kittel, and the one who aims to be in it at the end of the three-week, race, Chris Froome.

Jan Bakelants, RadioShack-Leopard, Stage 2 winner and new race leader 

I see, in the final that, yes! It's going to happen! I knew I would probably also take this yellow jersey and it's incredible.

Maybe it'll be the first and the last time in my career but today I wear it. I saw that, in the last 500 metres that I still had a gap and I said, ‘Come one, hold this. It's going to be the nicest day of your life!' And then I did it.

It is so incredible for me to take this jersey, to give something back to the team after all this misery that I had this year.

When I crossed the finish line I was overwhelmed with joy. When were there in the finale with six, I was thinking, ‘We are a group of strong riders...' but I had a feeling that not everybody was going 100 per cent. And I knew that, if everybody when 100 per cent to the finish line that this was possible.

But it felt so easy in the break and every time I went to the front I felt like I rode faster than the other five guys. I don't know, maybe I was just stronger than them.

In the end, maybe I have to believe this but at this moment I said, ‘Come on, are we going to ride and be the first six riders? Or are we just going to wait for the bunch to come back and see another win of Sagan?'

I kept the gap and, in the radio they shouted: ‘Go! Go! Go!' And I went as fast as I could. When I looked back and saw what I did, I said, ‘I'm going to win! I'm going to win a stage in the Tour de France!

Argos-Shimano’s Marcel Kittel, who wore the maillot jaune today but was among those distanced on today’s main climb, on his experience of spending a day in cycling’s most famous jersey – he’ll be in the green jersey tomorrow

It was not as hard as it looked, maybe, because the yellow jersey was a big help on the climbs. I had goosebumps when I went up the hill with so many people screaming my name.

I really enjoyed it... unfortunately we lost the yellow jersey but that's okay, it's what we expected.

I don't know how the green one will feel but it will definitely again be a special experience and I'm looking forward to wearing it in the Tour de France but the experience that I had today with the yellow jersey is probably the best thing that a cyclist can do.

Team Sky’s Chris Froome, who tested his rivals with an attack on today’s final climb

The main objective for us was to stay out of trouble today, stay at the front, and not lose any time to the main contenders. Eddie [Boasson Hagen] was there at the end and was given the freedom to have a go at the sprint, and he ended up with fifth.

All in all it was a good stage for us having kept our places on the GC and allowing Eddie to give it a go.

With that little climb about 10km from the finish - I knew the descent was tricky and dangerous. I was on the front with Richie and I thought it might be a good time, just to push on a little bit, get ahead and take the descent at my own pace and stay out of trouble.

It's always good to keep people on their toes.