It all started with a bet. Team DSM soigneur Teun Goedhart was convinced their star sprinter, Lorena Wiebes, would be the first wearer of the yellow women’s Tour de France jersey in 33 years. The course along the Champs-Élysées was made for the sprinters, and couldn’t be more perfect for Wiebes and her DSM leadout train.
Eyeing the stage, Wiebes was well-aware she was entering as an outright stage favorite and she, too, knew it was hers to lose. She even painted her nails in the colors of the two jersey that she said matter most: green and yellow.
The black-and-blue jerseys of the DSM riders were nowhere to be seen all race long. Staying out of the wind and safe from any crashes. But as the race rounded the final righthand bend on the cobbles, there they were, delivering their sprinter near the front in the perfect position, near Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma).
The legendary Dutchwoman starting her sprint early, and Wiebes was forced to counter. As she accelerated over the top of her compatriot, Vos had run out of steam and out of time. Wiebes won by half a bike length.
At the finish, Goedhart and his partner, Wiebes’ former Parkhotel Valkenburg teammate Esther van Veen found their friend quickly. Apparently, they’d been ready.
“I didn’t realize they could get so close,” Wiebes said in the post-race press conference. But there was no getting out from under the bet.
And so, Wiebes was zipped in her yellow jersey, and baby Noortje was trusted into her arms.
“No, no it is not mine,” a smiling Wiebes reassured. “It would not be possible for me to race. It was just a bet.”
The second stage between Meaux and Provins features another flat profile and could very well end in another sprint, and an opportunity for Wiebes to not only hold on to the yellow jersey, but perhaps even go for a second stage win. There is, however, a bit of an uphill to the line, which could shake things up.
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