Mike Teunissen takes shock win and yellow jersey on stage one of the Tour de France 2019

Geraint Thomas was brought down in a crash in the run-in to the finish

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Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma) took a surprise stage one win and yellow jersey at the Tour de France 2019.

The Dutchman came from behind to edge out Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) on the line, with Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) in third.

A crash with 1.5km to go brought down stage favourite Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) and defending champion Geraint Thomas (Ineos), although the Welshman is not believed to have suffered any injuries.

Because the crash occurred within the final 3km of the stage Thomas wont lose time in the overall standings, nor will his team-mate Egan Bernal who was also caught up behind the felled riders.

Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) also crashed with 20km remaining, the GC contender suffering a cut above his eye leaving his face bloodied and getting into an ambulance after the stage. Further details are not yet known as to his condition ahead of tomorrow’s team time trial.

Belgian Greg Van Avermaet went on the attack early in the stage, picking up king of the mountains points to secure the polka dot jersey on home soil.



How it happened

The opening stage of the 2019 Tour de France provided an opportunity for a sprinter to pull on the yellow jersey, the flat stage starting and ending in Brussels with the finish line going slightly uphill, which may favour the more diminutive Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) over the powerful Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma).

Route profile map of stage one of the Tour de France 2019

Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) was among the first riders to attack as the flag dropped, with Eddy Merckx accompanying race director Christian Prudhomme in the race car as the Tour rolled out of his native Belgium for the Grand Départ, paying homage to 50 years since his first Tour de France victory.

The two climbs of the day both featured in the old Tour of Flanders route, with Greg Van Avermaet stealing a march up the cobbled third category Mur de Grammont to take two points at the summit and the polka dot jersey. After the Flandrien had beaten Xandro Meurisse (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), his compatriot returned the favour on the second climb, the fourth category Bosberg, but with only one point on offer Van Avermaet had enough to claim the king of the mountains classification.

His job done for the day, Van Avermaet dropped from the break, with Meurisse, the Eritrean Natneal Berhane (Cofidis) and Mads Würtz Schmidt (Katusha-Alpecin) pushing on.

The gap to the breakaway had been reduced from two and half minutes to just 40 seconds by the time the peloton hit a cobbled sector with 76km remaining, with Bora-Hansgrohe attacking off the front of the bunch and splitting the race up.

Their intention seemed to make life more difficult for the sprinters, with their fast-man and Paris-Roubaix winner Peter Sagan thriving over such terrain. The plan appeared to have worked as both Elia Viviani (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) suffered mechanicals and were left to chase back on to the bunch, wasting precious energy.

Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) and Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) were also caught up by the bunch splits, although after the breakaway were caught the pace lowered and the large chasing group were able to get back on.

Peter Sagan showed his intent and form by winning the intermediate sprint ahead of Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) and Van Avermaet at the 70km to go point.

Tour de France debutant Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis) attacked off the front of the peloton with 55km remaining, pulling out an advantage of a minute and a half over the next 20km.

The peloton were in control, though, letting Rossetto dangle out front with an advantage of only a minute inside the final 20km.

A crash with 18km to go the back of the peloton that took down GC contender Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), motorbike cameras showing blood pouring from his face and a banged up shoulder.

Upon further inspection Fuglsang appeared to have suffered a cut to his eyebrow, his sunglasses digging into his face after he hit the tarmac, with his team dropping back to help the Dane as he recovered his nerves and made his way to the doctor’s car with 10km to go at the back of the peloton.

Rossetto was caught with 9km left to race as the peloton re-entered the outskirts of Brussels and Ineos came to the front of the bunch to protect Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal until the safety of the 3km to go mark.

Bora-Hansgrohe came to the fore at the 5km mark, hitting speeds of 80km/h, with one of their riders coming to a stop round a tight bend to avoid crashing.

The crash soon came, though, with only 1.5km remaining, bringing down stage favourite Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) and defending champion Geraint Thomas (Ineos). However, as the crash was within 3km they will receive the same time as the bunch.

Coming into the finish, Sagan took to the front, looking like he was edging out Tour debutant Caleb Ewan. But then another first-timer, Mike Teunissen took his chance. Relieved of piloting Groenewegen to the pointy end of the race, he left it late to come from behind and pip Sagan on the line to take his first Tour stage victory and yellow jersey.

Mike Teunissen in yellow after stage one of the 2019 Tour de France (Sunada)

Results

Tour de France 2019, stage one: Bruxelles to Brussel (194.5km)

1. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, in 4-22-47
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto-Soudal
4. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Dimension Data
5. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
6. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
7. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
8. Oliver Naesen (Bel) Ag2r La Mondiale
9. Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
10. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo, all at same time

General classification after stage one

1. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, in 4-22-47
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe, at four seconds
3. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto-Soudal, at six seconds,
4. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Dimension Data, at 10s
5. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
6. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
7. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
8. Oliver Naesen (Bel) Ag2r La Mondiale
9. Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
10. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo, all at same time