Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) surprised everyone, including himself, by winning the opening Tour de France time trial, and with it the first yellow jersey.
With two fairly flat days on paper ahead and small gaps in the top 10 after Stage 1, there are a handful of riders with a chance to wear yellow before the Tour leaves Denmark.
On Stage 2, we can expect high performing GC riders like third place Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), Jonas Vingegaard and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) to take a back seat as sprint oriented riders come to the fore. That said, there’s a massive big bridge and the threat of crosswinds, so they won’t be too far from our thoughts, and there will be Classics specialists hoping for a super tough day.
Lampaert has a five-second advantage over Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), and although Lampaert is normally considered among the favorites during the Spring Classics, he is likely to be a key part of Fabio Jakobsen’s sprint, which is fast -Step Alpha Vinyl’s number one goal on this Tour.
With that in mind, and given Van Aert’s own aim to fight for the green, Lampaert should be granted stage freedom on Saturday and/or Sunday, which in itself is unlikely, and he would have to go on one of the rides of his life to beat Van Aert (unless, of course, the latter breaks down).
So maybe the question really is who can stop Van Aert from wearing yellow?
Early TT leader Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) finished the day fifth, 13 seconds behind Lampaert and eight behind Van Aert, putting him best placed to disrupt the potential of his longtime rival. However, much like Lampaert, he should have the perfect day tomorrow – Sunday’s pure stage 3 sprint an even less likely prospect for him – and either win the stage with Van Aert off the podium or find himself in a top split should the crosswinds blow the peloton – unlikely. He is, however, in a better position than the race leader, as he will have more freedom to pursue his own goals despite sharing team leader duties with specialist sprinter Jasper Philipsen.
One position and two seconds behind Van der Poel is Dane Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) who will be rubbing his hands in delight at the thought of wearing, or at least taking yellow before the race leaves home ground. After a spectacular time trial he is 15 seconds behind Lampaert, and with all the team support behind (and in front of) him, Pedersen is going to be incredibly motivated by the first day of rest.
Those with an admittedly slim outside chance – if, for example, a small group breaks free in strong winds on the Great Belt bridge – include Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco) at 25 seconds, Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) at 23 seconds, and Danish hopeful Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost) who has 21 seconds to make up.
The most likely contender then is Van Aert, but expect Pedersen and Trek-Segafredo to give the Belgian a hard time.
Tour de France (2.UWT)
Copenhagen → Copenhagen