Wednesday it was heavy winds, Thursday it was snow and cold — so far, there’s nothing Mediterranean at all in the Tour Méditerranéen in southern France.
Perhaps it was appropriate that a rider from Finland, Jussi Veikkanen (FDJeux), won Thursday’s 170km second stage that saw riders buffeted by cold and wind yet again.
After the peloton controlled a dangerous three-man breakaway that included Daniel Martin (Garmin-Transitions), the stage ended more than one hour later than expected due to the extreme racing conditions.
Martin made a brave effort and was only caught with 700 meters to go when the sprinters surged to the fore. Veikkanen out-kicked Fabien Bacquet and Yohan Mombaerts, both from BigMat Auber, to win the stage.
Second overall last year, Veikkanen inherits the race leader’s jersey from teammate Yauheni Hutarovich (FDJeux) and presents a major threat for overall victory.
The Tour Med continues Friday with the 115km third stage from Gréasque to Six-Fours le Brusc. Forecasters are calling for heavy snow.