Bonjour Cycling Weekly readers and welcome to the first day of our live coverage from the 2021 Tour de France.
Stage one of the 2021 Tour de France is not a pan-flat sprint day, instead it's a super punchy 197km course in Brittany, from Brest to Landerneau.
Today also marks a major event on the women's racing calendar, as the 2021 edition of La Course by the Tour de France, a prestigious one-day event.
Follow our live updates from the race below:
Who's ready for day one of the Tour?!
Alex Ballinger here bringing you the pre-stage updates before the racing kicks off, with my colleague Tim Bonville-Ginn taking over as the peloton eventually takes off from Brest.
There may be some great news on the horizon already this morning, as reports are suggesting Alpecin-Fenix are trying to find a way of racing in their uber-stylish yellow and purple kit they showcased at the team presentation earlier in the week.
🇫🇷 #TDF2021 Our bib numbers 🔢👇101 @mathieuvdpoel102 @silvandillier103 @MerlierTim104 @Xandro_Meurisse105 @JasperPhilipsen106 @RickaertJonas107 @Kri_s90108 @PetrVakoc pic.twitter.com/z8ZXZPsH6AJune 25, 2021
This kit is a tribute to Mathieu van der Poel's late grandfather Raymond Poulidor and caused a lot of excitement when it was revealed at the team presentation.
Initially, Alpecin-Fenix said they had no plans to race the Tour in the kit, but after the huge fan reaction a report from Dutch broadcaster Sporza suggested the squad were trying to find a way to race in the new colours.
According to the report, if the team could find a skinsuit for Van der Poel in time, we might be seeing the kit on show in the actual race.
Cycling Weekly have already rated all of the top special edition kits on show a this year's Tour, which you can read here.
La Course 2021 is under way in Brittany!
This is always an exciting race and this time it coincides with the opening day of the Tour de France.
The line-up is stacked again this year, with Marianne Vos and Lizzie Deignan among the favourites, while Annemiek van Vleuten has sat out the race to focus on the Olympics.
Currently the peloton are 44km out from the finish as they tackle the relentless climbs around Brest.
The two-rider breakaway has just 37 seconds on the highly-motivated peloton, which is being led by Trek-Segafredo.
🤩 #LaCourse by TDF avec @FDJsport 2021🚩 @BrestFr 🏁 Landerneau📏 107,7 km⏰ Start : 8h20 ⏰ Finish : 11h20 - 11h40 📺 En intégralité sur @francetvsport et @Eurosport_FR !See you tomorrow! 😉A demain ! 😉 pic.twitter.com/IsruWWGLtcJune 25, 2021
Our man on the ground Jonny Long is at the roadside for La Course
#TDF2021 is here! First time through the finish line for the women #LaCourse pic.twitter.com/m7QyMdGbLVJune 26, 2021
"Just drove through the finishing circuit to the line, when you get into the town it becomes quite technical, especially with the way the barriers have been set up, so positioning will be key for those wanting a chance at stage victory," Jonny said.
Into the final 20km of La Course and we have about 12 riders up the road with a 46-second advantage over the peloton.
But the big teams don't seem worried yet, with Trek, Jumbo-Visma and SDWorx all represented in the escape.
La Course finishing with a small bunch sprint with Dutch rider Demi Vollering (SD Worx) adding the race to here Liège-Bastogne-Liège earlier in the season. Cecile Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) taking second ahead of Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) in third.
It is almost time for the Grand Départ in Brest in the 2021 Tour de France, I'm Tim Bonville-Ginn taking over from Alex Ballinger for the start of the stage. Alex will be rejoining in a couple of hours.
Here is a closer look at the stage today, what do you think to our predictions? The opening stages look to be designed for the world champion, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step), but he comes up against Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and other talented puncheurs.
The Tour de France is here! Stage one from Brest to Landerneau over 197.8km of Bretagne hills. This is NOT a sprint stage with an uphill finish maxing at 14%!Three favourites - Mathieu van der Poel, Julian Alaphilippe and Michael Matthews. #TDF2021 pic.twitter.com/rwJrMcCSBdJune 26, 2021
Alpecin-Fenix revealed a special jersey dedicated to Mathieu van der Poel's late grandfather, Raymond Poulidor. But it was originally only to be worn during the team presentation but social media pressure meant that the UCI granted special permission to wear it on stage one only.
The 108th Tour de France is underway! The peloton has set off in the neutral zone led by Julian Alaphilippe alongside Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic) and David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ).
We're getting our first sightings of the special Tour de France jerseys as well as all the new national champions jersey too.
We gave a rating for the special jerseys yesterday. Have a read and see if you agree with me!
The flag has dropped and the Tour de France 2021 is racing! Immediately Victor Campenaerts and Max Walscheid (both Qhubeka-NextHash) kick off the attacks but no break just yet with 197km to go.
First crash of the race already as the race came through a very tight corner as the riders will have to tackle a lot of road furniture, everyone seems okay as it was well padded.
Five men have got away up front including Clément Russo (Arkéa-Samsic) but they are being chased down.
As expected, the pace is very high. Campenaerts has kicked yet again in that Burburry designed jersey for Qhubeka-NextHash. He's solo at the moment but he is being chased down by a Connor Swift (Arkéa-Samsic) led peloton with 188km to go.
Campenaerts takes the first king of the mountains points of the 2021 Tour de France with Georg Zimmermann (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) just missing out on the solitary point to the Hour Record holder.
Who are your favourites for today? Get on our Twitter and vote!
Who is your favourite to take victory on stage one of the Tour de France? #TDF2021June 26, 2021
Cristián Rodríguez (TotalEnergies), Frank Bonamour (B&B Hotels) and Danny van Poppel (Intermarché) up front with 180km to go with Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Anthony Perez (Cofidis) joining them.
Connor Swift is trying to bridge for Arkéa-Samsic. Both Arkéa and B&B Hotels need to be in the break as they are both Bretagne based teams.
The peloton has sat up! It looks like we have our break with 176km to go. Gap now at 2-26.
Ide Schelling (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe
Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis
Danny van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
Franck Bonnamour (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
Cristián Rodríguez (Esp) Team TotalEnergies
Connor Swift (GBr) Team Arkéa-Samsic
Côte de Rosnoën is the next climb. The second category four climb so only one point available. This means they'll go level with Campenaerts as Tim Declercq or 'El Tractor' hits the front for Deceuninck - Quick-Step to control the gap to the break.
The gap has been stopped at 3-40 to the break as Declercq is joined by Petr Vakoč (Alpecin-Fenix) and Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team Emirates) on the front. Ineos Grenadiers just sat behind en masse.
Just a kilometre to the top in the break now with 170km to go. Swift kicks first but Van Poppel takes it as he is by far the fastest man in the group.
Swift's DS giving him tips about the next climb where he will try and get the two points that are available. Also warning him about Van Poppel as being the quickest rider and to use the 10% gradient with 1km to go to the top. 160km to go with 3-33 gap.
Mathieu van der Poel just changed his shoes oddly, took his time over is as well but he will get back in easily enough.
So as expected in the middle of the first stage, the pace has plummeted and there isn't much happening so I may as well just talk about Brittany.
One of the best regional flag in the world, in my opinion. The black and white is always a good look and it works well for them.
I've been on holiday to the region multiple times with the best one being just outside the stage two start town of Perros Guirec which has the wildlife havens of the Sept-Îles just off the coast where you can see the likes of Puffins and Gannets among other animals. Also a gorgeous beach.
First category three climb of the race comes and it is attacked early by Rodríguez but Perez is the man that drops everyone on the tough cobbles as I believe he now goes into the lead of the mountain standings with two points. One point to Schelling. 135km to go with 2-02 gap.
Can we still call Pogačar a padawan?
Padawan 🤜🤛 Master#TDF2021 pic.twitter.com/UZWQZAEEigJune 26, 2021
Van Poppel was dropped on that last climb and he is taking his time to get back in to the lead group with 129km to go. Gap still sitting around 2-30 to the peloton.
Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo) has gone down and looks a bit shook up. Clipping a wheel and hitting the deck on his own. Just getting his handlebars sorted and he's off again.
ICYMI - Our very own Jonny Long is out in France and is at the finish, he said: "Just drove through the finishing circuit to the line, when you get into the town it becomes quite technical, especially with the way the barriers have been set up, so positioning will be key for those wanting a chance at stage victory,"
Love some good cobbles!
Tough climbs, cobbles, gloomy weather... Classic Bretagne racing and we love it! (Picture by Getty Images) #TDF2021 pic.twitter.com/4PHDFyLfFVJune 26, 2021
I'll now hand back over to Mr Alex Ballinger as I take a bit of a break. Alex will guide you through the next couple of hours and I'll return to run you through the finish.
Just a last update from me... 103km to go with a gap of 2-10! Au revoir!
Thanks to Alex. We shall be linking the race report into this live feed after the finish. I'm Tim Bonville-Ginn ready to take you through the last 20km as almost everyone have made it back to the peloton apart from Jasha Sütterlin (DSM) who is the first abandon of the race.
Pace is steady at the moment but teams are in colour order and will be very tense as we head into the closing stages.
All the favourites for today and the overall are now very close to the front of the peloton now as Cosnesfroy (Ag2r-Citroën) makes it back into the peloton for what seems like the umpteenth time as he changed his bike for a third time.
Just 14km to go on the opening stage of the Tour de France 2021. Alpecin-Fenix, Groupama-FDJ, Movistar, Ineos Grenadiers and Deceuninck - Quick-Step all leading the way at the moment.
One rider who seems to be missing is last year's Giro d'Italia champion, Tao Geoghegan Hart of Ineos Grenadiers. He Was caught out in the crash and was not helped back to the front.
We'll keep an eye out to see if we can spot the Londoner. 11km to go.
Jumbo-Visma suddenly storm to the front with Van Aert and Roglič both placed well. They were on the front with only Ineos able to challenge the pace but now Deceuninck swamp Jumbo-Visma again as we're 5km to the next climb with 8km to go.
Another gigantic crash! Almost all the peloton down including Chris Froome who looks in a very bad way. Mohoric, Haller, Greipel, Barguil, Ion Izagirre and a huge amount of others on the ground. 5km to go with Deceuninck hammering the pace on the front.
UAE appear with Pogačar with Roglič, Van Aert, Van der Poel, Thomas, Colbrelli, Urán, Matthews and Sagan all in the front group. We now hit the final climb up to the finish with Deceuninck leading the way for Alaphilippe.
Van der Poel out of position but makes his way to the front now. Alaphilippe second wheel with Van Aert, Colbrelli, Van der Poel, Stuyvan, Roglič, Matthews with Pogačar a bit further down. Thomas and Carapaz also moving up with 2km to go.
Julian Alaphilippe attacks! The first major move from the big names in the Tour! Primož Roglič kicks with Tadej Pogačar following. TotalEnergies rider Pierre Latour also involved with the attacks.
Alaphilippe has the lead still ahead of Latour with Pogačar and Roglič looking at each other. Van der Poel makes his move behind as he catches the Slovenians.
Van Aert is now having to work for Roglič as all but Alaphilippe and Latour are brought back with one more kilometre to go.
Julian Alaphilippe wins stage one of the Tour de France 2021 in the world champions jersey! The French superstar has pulled off his dream of winning in the rainbow jersey and he takes the yellow jersey once again.
Michale Matthews sprints to second with Primož Roglič taking potentially vital bonus seconds in third.
Chris Froome is on his bike and riding in with Mads Pedersen but Froome looks to be in a bad way. Hopefully he can start again tomorrow.
Tour de France 2021 stage one, Brest to Landerneau (197.8km)
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, in 4-39-05
2. Michael Matthews (Aus) Team BikeExchange, at 8 seconds
3. Primož Roglič (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma
4. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
7. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
8. Sergio Higuita (Col) EF Education-Nippo
9. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
10. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadier, all same time
Have a read of our full race report!
Who are the winners and losers in the early battles for the yellow, green, white and polka-dot jerseys at the 2021 race around France... Check out our Standings page for all the up-to-date standings after the opening day of racing
That's that from us today. Thank you very much for following our coverage of stage one at the 2021 Tour de France.
We'll be back again tomorrow for another uphill adventure on the Mûr de Bretagne! But for now, make sure you sit back and relax while reading our reaction pieces from today's stage.
I'm Tim Bonville-Ginn, au revoir!