Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) didn’t imagine he’d ride a second consecutive time trial on stage two from Roskilde to Nyborg. But thanks to his crash, he was forced to do exactly that.
About half way across the 18 kilometer Great Belt Bridge, a touch of wheels brought him crashing down along with teammate and key lead-out man Michael Mørkøv, along with a dozen riders.
From that moment, it was a mad race to regain time and rejoin a very nervous and stressed peloton. Dippping in and out of the slipstream of team cars, Lampaert fought the 20mph cross-headwinds with the same focus and determination he showed in his surprise victory in the opening time trial.
Rigoberto Uran (EF Education EasyPost) had an even bigger task when he went down just before the riders hit the bridge. At one point he was 1:20 behind with 13 kilometers to the finish. Three teammates paced him, with Stefan Bissegger dropping back and using his own TT skills to drag his GC captain back from the abyss. Their progress was initially slow but finally with 8.5 kilometers left, Uran could breathe a sign of relief.
Lampaert and Uran were the dramatic highlights in what was forecast as a potentially disastrous day of high winds on the bridge. Ultimately, everyone survived the chaos — although we’ve yet to hear the medical report on the riders in the pileup.
Once Lampaert got himself back, he and Morkov went right to the front to look after their sprinter Fabio Jacobsen, the favorite for victory on this sprinters stage. It wasn’t long before Lampaert was seen chatting away and smiling like nothing terrible had happened. Belgian hard-man brushing off dramatic fall. The same could be said for Uran, who has the “tranquillo” personality required in a grand tour with so many ups and downs.
In the final kilometer Lampaert and Morkov did stellar work for Jakobsen, who was looking for his first Tour de France victory, something he said he’s dreamed about for 15 years. He was also looking to silence critics who insisted Mark Cavendish deserved a spot on the team and a shot at breaking Eddy Merckx’s record or 34 Tour wins.
It was the Dane Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) who attacked first before Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) jumped past him. In that instant, Van Aert appeared to have snatched the victory but Jacobsen ripped around him on the right side. However, bonus seconds did allow Van Aert to take the maillot jaune but one second over Lampaert.
“Today is ‘incroyable‘ as they say in French,” said Jakobsen after the win. “For me, it was a long process step by step, and a lot of people helped me on the way. This is to pay them back, to show it was not for nothing. It’s an amazing day and I want to thank everyone who helped me get here.”
And that would be extra thanks for Lampaert and Morkov. Those boys know how to ride a bridge time trial.