Lampaert wins the first stage of the Tour de France, a time trial

COPENHAGEN — Belgian Yves Lampaert won the first stage of the Tour de France on Friday, while two-time defending champion Tadej Pogacar finished third.

Pogacar did better than his Slovenian compatriot and main rival Primoz Roglic, eighth in the time trial. Roglic finished second in the Grande Boucle in 2020.

Lampaert is a former world team time trial champion. He signed a first stage victory in the Tour de France.

Lampaert covered the 13 kilometers around Copenhagen in 15 minutes and 17 seconds.

The Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl driver was five seconds ahead of his compatriot Wout van Aert – Roglic’s teammate with Jumbo-Visma – and seven seconds ahead of Pogacar, leader of UAE Team Emirates.

Pogacar was nine seconds faster than Roglic.

Lampaert could hardly believe he had won, wiping away tears and putting his hands over his mouth.

The rain was constant when Roglic finished under gray skies, and it was still falling when Pogacar took the start, 40 minutes later.

Although a specialist in wet circuits, Pogacar was cautious in the first corner. It may have cost him the victory.

Hugo Houle was the best of the three Quebecers in the running, 40th.

Antoine Duchesne finished 105th and Guillaume Boivin 129th, while Ontarian Michael Woods finished 134th.

The runners left to the cheers of the public.

« There was so much noise that you could hardly hear anything in the headset, » said Frenchman David Gaudu.

The noise level rose again as local rider Jonas Vingaard – Roglic’s teammate and second in the Tour last year – came down the start ramp. He placed seventh, one second ahead of Roglic.

Large parts of the Danish capital have been closed. Wet roads made the route treacherous – especially the cobblestones near Amalienborg Palace, the main residence of the royal family.

Swiss Stefan Bissegger fell twice, but he kept going.

The runners passed in front of other famous monuments of the city including the statue of the Little Mermaid, at the entrance to the port.

Among the thousands of supporters was Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.

“I grew up with my dad glued to the TV watching the Tour de France,” Frederiksen said.

Earlier, Crown Prince Frederik walked the road.

« It’s great to see all the support for the Tour here in Denmark, » said the 54-year-old.

The palace also posted photos of Danish royals riding bicycles on Instagram, including Frederik’s great-grandfather, King Christian X and current Queen Margrethe.

The first departure in Denmark – the 24th outside France – was due to take place in 2021. This was postponed for a year, due to the pandemic.

There will be two other stages in Denmark this weekend: notably the crossing of the Great Belt Bridge which connects the island of Zeeland, where Copenhagen is located, as well as the central island of Funen.

Afterwards, the riders will go to France for a stage between Dunkirk and Calais.

The race will end in Paris on July 24.

Separately, police closely investigated the Bahrain Victorious team, seizing more than 450 capsules of unidentified substances from a house in Slovenia.

This was done during searches across Europe, the European agency Eurojust announced on Friday.

Riders and staff were raided in their homes and the team hotel in Denmark was raided this week.

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