Team Jumbo Visma’s Wout Van Aert just missed out on a win on the opening stage of the Tour de France on Friday. The Belgian finished second in the 13.2-kilometer time trial around the Danish capital, Copenhagen, in 15 minutes, 22 seconds.
Yves Lampaert of Quick Step Pro Alpha won the time trial in 15:17 and will wear the yellow leader’s jersey on the second stage, but many of the cyclists in the hunt for the general classification finished close behind him.
Jumbo Visma’s leaders, Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vingegaard, last year’s runner-up on the Tour, both finished in the top eight.
Because of wet weather conditions, the course was treacherously slippery in some places. Roglic was the first Team Jumbo-Visma rider to go and set the tone for the team. The Olympic time trial champion rode a strong race, placing him among the general classification's favorites. Vingegaard followed his teammate's example and rode to seventh place in his home country, crossing in the same time as Trek Segafredo’s leader, Mads Pederson, who took sixth, in 15:32.
Roglic finished eighth, 16 seconds behind Lampaert, and was followed by Trek Segafredo’s Bauke Mollema in ninth (+0:17).
Tadej Pogacar of UAE Team Emirates had the fastest time of the GC riders, placing third at +0:07.
“Primoz and Jonas rode well. The most important thing was to ride a good ride and not fall. They both did that well. They only lost time on Pogacar. We can live with it and are satisfied with the time trial of our GC riders,” said Jumbo Visma sports director Grischa Niermann.
Sepp Kuss, meanwhile, crossed 91st on the time trial for Jumbo Visma, 1:07 back.
Quinn Simmons, racing in his first Tour de France stage for Trek Segafredo, finished 60th out of the 176 cyclists at +0:54. His time also placed him ninth in the youth category, +0:47 behind Pogacar.
Van Aert, who’s going after the green points jersey, also scored 17 points on stage 1, second behind Lampaert’s 20.
“I am satisfied with my time trial. On the road, I had a good feeling. I didn't take too much risk in the corners, but I rode good lines. It went well. I think the second time proves that,” Van Aert said. “I came to win. When I crossed the line, I knew I had already beaten some strong riders. It was a bit of a shock that Yves was faster in the end. Well done to him.”
The tour will have only one more time trial, on the second-to-last stage July 23.
Saturday, meanwhile, will feature a 202.5-kilometer flat stage, from Roksilde to Nyborg in Denmark.
The riders will then race 182 kilometers on another flat stage Sunday in Denmark before the race moves to France on Tuesday.