Lampaert surprises all favorites
COPENHAGEN | The Belgian Yves Lampaert was not among the favorites of the day, but his great balancing act on the wet pavement of the Danish capital allowed him to get his hands on the first yellow jersey by defying all the predictions.
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The 109th Tour de France began on Friday with a time trial traced through the streets of Copenhagen. In this game of raw power, the high gears may have been a little trapped by the unstable weather.
As far as the eye could see, a human tide as wet as it was overexcited nevertheless howled its joy, piled up at the barricades.
The day before, the favorites tried to predict the strength of the showers to choose their start time on the ramp. Advantage or not, those who left later seemed to have the luckiest hand.
About 35 minutes after the big hitters like Filippo Ganna, Wout van Aert and Tadej Pogacar, the Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl rider took advantage of slightly more favorable skies to edge his closest opponent by just five seconds. A little upset, Wout van Aert unexpectedly saw the precious tunic slip away from him, with a visibility that cannot be bought.
« A Belgian Farmer »
Lampaert became the fourth Belgian cyclist to win the inaugural Tour de France time trial, prologues included, after Eddy Merckx, Freddy Maertens and Eric Vanderaerden.
“I could never have dreamed of it, but I did it. I don’t realize what’s happening to me, I’m just a Belgian farmer. I could never have dreamed of it, but I did it,” explained the still amazed winner.
“I think he surprised a lot of people. He’s a great runner,” commented Quebecer Hugo Houle.
Already well done in Spain
Triple champion of Belgium, Yves Lampaert is however no stranger to the peloton.
The 31-year-old athlete has already won a stage of the Vuelta, the Tour of Spain, in 2017, putting on the leader’s jersey for one day.
Lampaert also took third place in Paris-Roubaix in 2019, but this moment of glory could remain the main highlight of his career.
At the start of the second stage of the Grande Boucle, towards Nyborg, Lampaert will be dressed all in yellow, at least for the day.
After the arrival of the champion of the day, more than fifty other candidates did not threaten the hierarchy.
In the game of less fearful pilots, the 23-year-old Swiss Stefan Bissegger for his part experienced a real ordeal by falling twice, in addition to breaking his chain.
In the rearview mirror, the tenors are already positioning themselves in the general classification.
The Slovenian Tadej Pogacar is in third place, seven seconds behind the cyclist in yellow.
Positioned in fifth place, the Dutchman Mathieu Van Der Poel could battle in the sprint on Saturday with his eternal rival Wout van Aert.
A reassuring top 10
Dane Jonas Vingegaard and Slovenian Primoz Roglic, teammates at Jumbo-Visma, managed to stay in the top 10 with a single second gap between the two.
Without too much gravity, Geraint Thomas, Romain Bardet and Nairo Quintana nevertheless lost some time.