Two stages, two surprises.
First, Jumbo-Visma’s lead-out man up Mike Teunissen stuns the sprinters to win the first stage and first yellow jersey.
Then, on the second day in Brussels, the Dutch squad decided to keep yellow, putting in a scorching ride to beat the favored Team Ineos by 20 seconds and Deceuninck-QuickStep by 21.
That’s two nice cuddly Credit Lyonnais lions for the front dash of the team bus.
For several squads, however, the 27.6-kilometre team time trial was not good news for their GC captains. In particular, Richie Porte and his Trek Segafredo team could only manage 18th place, falling behind Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal of Ineos by 57 seconds. There will be no glass of champagne at dinner tonight.
Nairo Quintana and Mikel Landa also find themselves with a significant deficit to the Ineos captains. They are already 44 seconds behind and that never does much for morale. Is there just a bad vibe coming off this team?
On the plus side, Thibaut Pinot, who has had his fair share of bad days in the Tour, got off to a roaring start. His Groupama-FDJ squad turned in an impressive ride that left him just 11 seconds behind Ineos. The French climber has to feel tres bien after that performance.
The same could not be said of Pinot’s countryman, Romain Bardet. Oh la la la la, his AG2R squad was a minute off the pace and 19th on the day. It’s the classic on-the-back-foot scenario already. Racing against the clock has always been his Achilles heel and his team did him no favors in a climber-friendly Tour where he’ll have his best shot at the podium. C’est dommage.
One GC rider who will be thrilled to put this day safely behind him is Astana’s Jakob Fuglsang. After his nasty crash on stage one, which sliced open his face and battered his whole body, the Dane was still able to go full gas. They would clock a time just 20 seconds slower than Ineos and given the difficult circumstances, that has to almost feel like victory.
it was also a productive day for EF Education First’s Rigoberto Uran and Mitchelton-Scott’s Adam Yates. They stopped the clock at roughly 10 and 20 seconds off the time of defending Tour champion Geraint Thomas. A chapeau for each of you, fellas.