Yves Lampaert claims victory in Copenhagen on moist opening day of Tour de France
QuickStep-Alpha Vinyl’s Lampaert received a moist and treacherous 13.2km opening time trial across the Danish capital in a time of quarter-hour 17 seconds to beat fellow Belgian Wout van Aert by 5 seconds, with Pogacar ending third to make an early assertion in his bid for a 3rd consecutive title.
Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vingegaard conceded 9 seconds to Pogacar, whereas an overdressed Geraint Thomas, who forgot to take his gilet off earlier than the beginning, completed 18 seconds down on the defending champion.
Yves Lampaert took the primary yellow jersey, seven seconds forward of defending champion Tadej Pogacar, because the 109th Tour de France began underneath clouds each actual and metaphorical in Copenhagen.
That put the Welshman third inside his personal workforce as Adam Yates and Tour debutant Tom Pidcock impressed on their return from Covid-19, ending two and one seconds forward of Thomas respectively.
The depressing climate didn’t postpone hundreds of followers who turned out for the Tour’s Danish debut however the circumstances did sum up the temper of many after information of a serious anti-doping investigation landed simply hours earlier than the primary rider rolled down the beginning ramp.
Europol and Eurojust issued statements confirming that 14 raids at places throughout Europe this week, along with one on the resort of Workforce Bahrain-Victorious on Thursday, had been a part of an investigation into “attainable doping allegations (in opposition to) a biking workforce collaborating within the Tour de France”.
Bahrain-Victorious have denied any wrong-doing and insisted the timing of the investigations into the workforce, which additionally included a raid throughout final yr’s Tour, had been designed to “injury their popularity”.
It was one other blow to the popularity of the game too as its greatest occasion began in opposition to undesirable questions.
Copenhagen, the furthest level from Paris the Tour has ever began, had waited an additional 12 months for today – a knock-on impact from the pandemic and the postponement of Euro 2020 – however when it got here the climate was not enjoying ball.
The principle favourites had all chosen early begin occasions in a bid to keep away from the worst of it however the heavy showers arrived sooner than forecast and it was in the direction of the top of the day that the roads dried, although solely barely.
Given the large lengths groups go to in perfecting their pores and skin fits for time trials, Thomas’ wardrobe error would have been a expensive one, and the 2018 champion was additionally annoyed with the way in which he rode the primary half of the stage as worries in regards to the climate obtained inside his head.
“I feel that was the worst cornering I’ve ever achieved in a time trial,” the Welshman mentioned. “Everybody’s telling you to take it straightforward however the principle factor after I received in Dusseldorf (in 2017) is simply stream, a pleasant easy line.
“This felt so bitty, cease and begin. After I heard the time gaps I assumed, ‘Sod it, simply race’ after which I went higher. The legs had been good anyway but it surely’s a disgrace about that blinking gilet.”
The 31-year-old Lampaert, who was disqualified from the Tour of Belgium for barging Tim Wellens solely two weeks in the past, was in tears on the finish as his first Tour victory was confirmed.
“My thoughts is exploding,” he mentioned. “I assumed a high 10 could be nice and now I beat all one of the best riders on the planet. I’m only a farmer’s son from Belgium. To do that, I by no means anticipated it.