Australian Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) took some significant scalps when he won the opening time trial stage of the 2015 Tour de France in Utrecht, the Netherlands, on Saturday.
The 25-year-old set a new record for the fastest time trial ever ridden in the Tour, and beat former time trial world champions Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) and Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) – both of whom had been tipped to take the stage victory.
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All of the main overall contenders, including the ‘big four’ – Chris Froome (Sky), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) – finished outside the top 20.
Defending champion Nibali was the best placed in 22nd of the quartet ahead of Froome (39th), Contador (46th) and Quintana (57th).
Steve Cummings was the top-placed rider from the 10 British starters, placing a highly-creditable 10th spot for Tour de France debutants MTN-Qhubeka. Fellow Brits Geraint Thomas (Sky) and Alex Dowsett (Movistar) placed 12th and 13th.
The action now turns towards the sprinters, with a super-flat stage two run on Sunday between Utrecht and Zeeland. It will be the first opportunity for Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) to add to his existing tally of 25 Tour stage wins.