06/07/19 - 11:25
Brussels - Brussels
Tour de France • Stage1

Brussels - Brussels

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Confirmation that defending champion Geraint Thomas was held up by that crash but didn't do himself any damage.


Confirmation of today's result in the opening stage of the Tour with Teunissen the surprise winner ahead of Sagan, Ewan, Nizzolo and Colbrelli following that big crash with 2km remaining.


We think that Geraint Thomas may have gone down in that crash - more on that later.


What a turn up for the books with Jumbo-Visma losing their main sprinter - Dylan Groenewegen - in that big pile-up before striking with his compatriot Teunissen, who will don the race's first yellow jersey.


Victory for Mike Teunissen of Jumbo-Visma! The Dutchman is the surprise winner of today's opening stage - pipping Peter Sagan by a few tyres. Caleb Ewan takes third.


And it's now Van Aert but Mike Teunissen, his Jumbo-Visma teammate.


Photo finish! Sagan and Wout Van Aaet!


Matthews, Sagan, Viviani and Ewan are all there...


Only about 30 left in this after that crash...


CRASH! HUGE CRASH! A dozen or so are down, including Dylan Groenewegen.


Now QuickStep come to the front for Viviani. They're approaching the cathedral...


The GC favourites will breathe a sigh of relief as the peloton zips through the 3km mark, which will protect their times should there be any crashes. Katusha-Alpecin are now on the front for their men Debusschere, Haller and Zabel.


Sagan and Matthews are sticking close to each other. Remember, this sprint is slightly uphill so could favour both those riders as well as Caleb Ewan, whose Lotto team are also coming to the front.


It's still Ineos now who have numbers on the front - although Bora and Bahrain are there, as are Sunweb.


The pack has spread out right across this wide boulevard as the battle for positioning gets off to a fiery start.


The carrots are cooked for Rossetto: the peloton is back together with Fuglsang bloodied but in the mix as Team Sunweb and Ineos come to the front.


Entering the last 10km now and Rossetto will be caught very soon. Fuglsang has been attended by the race doctor and is almost back with the pack.


Meanwhile, Stephane Rossetto still has 40 seconds to play with, while the chasing Fuglsang group is 1'17" back.


Four Astana riders now with Fuglsang, who is bleeding profusely on his face.


Fuglsang is back on his bike but he's bleeding from his elbow and his forehead. He has three Astana teammates with him. Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma) and Koen de Kort (Trek-Segafredo) were also involved in that crash.


Still over a minute for Rossetto - AND CRASH! There's been a crash in the peloton and it looks like Jakob Fuglsang is one of the riders to hit the deck for Astana.


It's down to 1'10" now for lone leader Rossetto, who is off the leash and attacking in a way that will probably yield the same net return had Nacer Bouhanni been in the team and Cofidis left it all for the sprint.


Rossetto has managed to maintain his advantage but the teams of the sprinters have yet to start their chase.


Julian Alaphilippe has dropped back for water bottles while Astana leader Jakob Fuglsang is off the back with two teammates after a mechanical or call of nature. Rossetto, meanwhile, has seen his lead creep up to 1'40".


Video - Stage 1 profile: Challenging climbs set to finish with a bunch sprint


One minute now for Rossetto, the lone leader. He won stage 4 of the Tour de Yorkshire last year with a splendid solo attack - can he do the same in the Tour?


ATTACK: After Alexis Gougeard (Ag2R-La Mondiale) has a pop, it's the turn of fellow Frenchman Stephane Perichon of Cofidis to ride clear. And the Tour debutant has built up a little gap over the pack.


Mechanical for debutant Enric Mas, who needs a bike change. It's been a busy half-hour for the QuickStep mechanics.


Team Ineos are back on the front of the pack, with just three riders ahead of them - two from Lotto Soudal (Tim Wellens and Jasper De Buyst) and one from QuickStep (Dries Devenyns). It will be interesting to see if there's a counter-break now following the thwarting of the first escapees.


It's back together again after that scare for Viviani et al. Job done for Sagan and Bora, who ensured their man may lead the green jersey competition from start to finish.


The likes of Viviani, Alexander Kristoff, Jasper Philipsen and Andre Greipel are all in the second group, as is Dan Martin. The gap is over a minute but it looks like the leading pack are sitting up.


It's Peter Sagan who picks up where he left off by winning the intermediate sprint and pocketing 20pts. He's ahead of Sonny Colbrelli, Greg van Avermaet and Michael Matthews on the front of the main pack.


As a result of the tempo-increase, the break have been swept up ahead of the intermediate sprint. And Bora's Daniel Oss is now driving a reformed but still split peloton of around 80 riders.


Luke Rowe was the only Ineos rider who made the split and then Elia Viviani picked up a flat for Deceuninck - so it's all happening out there.


With the intermediate sprint coming up and the race hitting a cobbled section remarkably reminiscent of those used in Paris-Roubaix, the Bora-Hansgrohe team of Peter Sagan have upped the tempo and caused some splits in the peloton.




Another strip of cobbles for the peloton - if it wasn't for the sunshine and spectators in shorts, this could be April not July. The gap is down to 1'30" for our three escapees, none of whom will come remotely close to winning today (or any day in this Tour, if we're being brutally honest).


Still just over two minutes for this three-man break who are going through the motions but no doubt enjoying their day out in the spotlight - especially that man Meurisse, the sole Belgian in the break. It's still the teammates of Groenewegen, Viviani and Ewan - the three big sprinters - who are leading the chase.


The one jersey classification we haven't looked at yet is the white jersey youth classification, which looks like it will be a battle between Egan Bernal (22), Enric Mas (24), David Gaudu (22) and Tiesj Benoot (25). As such, many believe this to be a one-horse race with the Colombian Bernal winning at a canter...


The average speed after two hours of racing is 42.4km/h.


The peloton passes through the feed zone with a deficit of 2'05" on the three-man break of Natnael Berhane (Cofidis), Xandro Meurisse (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Mads Würtz Schmidt (Katusha-Alpecin).


So, who could win today and take the first yellow jersey of the race? I initially went for Peter Sagan - it would be typical of him to do so - but I'm increasingly leaning towards Caleb Ewan signing on in style. The Australian is making his belated Tour debut for Lotto Soudal and he'll face opposition from Elia Viviani, Dylan Groenewegen, Alexander Kristoff, Michael Matthews, Andre Greipel, Christophe Laporte and the Italians Sonny Colbrelli, Giacomo Nizzolo and Matteo Trentin. Of course, there's no Mark Cavendish, Nacer Bouhanni or Fernando Gaviria involved owing to non-selection or injury.


Quick bike change for Berhane who has a mechanical. The Eritrean national champion is quickly back with the other escapees so it's nothing to get too worked up about.



The three-man break have just 1'45" over the pack. You expect morale must be low in the break: the rider who took the polka dot jersey has bailed and they have no chance of seeing out the finish ahead. Still, it's the opening stage of the Tour, the sun is out and, at least for local lad Meurisse, the Belgian fans are out in their droves.


Meanwhile, that man Sagan is going for a record seventh green jersey this year. Amazingly, today is apparently the first day of his Tour career that Sagan has worn straight team kit because usually he's been the green jersey, world champion or national champion. As it is, he's none of the above. Although by the end of the day he could be yellow or green or both...


Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) have had mechanicals but are back with the peloton. The Australian crashed out of the past two Tours in stage 9 - can he make it into the second week of the race this year?


Here was the moment Van Avermaet took the spoils on the Mur de Grammont.


His work for the moment done, Greg Van Avermaet has dropped back from the break. He's assured of the polka dot jersey tonight, plus has given the Belgian fans something to cheer at the start of this year's race on his favoured cobbled terrain. But now he's rejoining the peloton ahead of the finish where, perhaps, he may have a pop, what with that slightly uphill sprint finale in Brussels. Have to say, Greg seems to be carrying a fair bit of timber this July...


It's Meurisse who zips clear to take the solitary point over the Cat.4 climb but it will be Van Avermaet in polka dots by virtue of winning that higher-category climb earlier. The two Belgians are tied on two points apiece in the KOM standings.


The Bosberg, another climb used in the Tour of Flanders, is coming right up. The two Belgians are still ahead as they hit the start of the climb (1km at 6.7%) and it looks like Van Avermaet will be in polka dots today.


It's two riders from Deceuninck-QuickStep who lead the pack over the summit with the gap down to 2'40".


We're hearing from Bradley Wiggins on his moto that Simon Yates has had a mechanical ahead of the Mur de Grammont (1.2km at 7.8%). That's a setback but he has a long time to get back into the thick of things. Apparently his stem computer bounced out onto the floor and the Briton needed to change bikes.


It's Van Avermaet who leads the break as the road narrows through the corners in the wood. Berhane is dropped on the steepest part, Wurtz soon follows. The two Belgians ride clear... and it's no surprise as Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) who takes the maximum 2pts over the summit ahead of Xandro Meurisse (Wanty).


The break is onto the Muur van Geraardsbergen! The first attack comes from Berhane of Cofidis, whose move is being chased down by the experienced Van Avermaet.


Right, time for the Muur. The break have four minutes on the pack, but there's a fierce battle for positioning ahead of the cobbled climb.


You may not know but this year Bradley Wiggins, the 2012 Tour champion, will be reporting on the Tour for Eurosport from the back of a motorbike during each stage. Here's his first offering from the CCC team car...


Less than five minutes now till the first climb of the race, the iconic cobbled Muur van Geraardsbergen - or the Mur de Grammont as the French call it. The first flash point of this year's race.


Meanwhile, the controversy of the omission of 30-time stage winner Mark Cavendish from Dimension Data's team rumbles on...


Back to the race and local rider Laurens de Plus (Jumbo-Visma) has just enjoyed waving to his family and friends as the race passed through his neighbourhood. The gap is three minutes now with QuickStep and Lotto now having two riders each on the front with a Jumbo rider ahead of the Ineos train, who lose a rider who swings to the side of the road for a leak.


Froome may be out and Thomas may face stiff opposition from within his own team, but British hopes also include the Yates brothers at Mitchelton-Scott. Adam Yates will spearhead the team's bid for yellow with support from his twin brother Simon following his disappointment in the Giro.


#AskSagan is back again this year as part of #TheBreakaway...


Talking of the polka dot jersey, here's my guide to the King of the Mountains competition which was won last year by Julian Alaphilippe. With eight climbs going over 2,000m - including five summit finishes - the Frenchman may struggle to defend his polka dot jersey in what is being billed as the highest Tour since, ahem, 1998 and the years that followed...


On reflection, it's not too much of a surprise to see Greg Van Avermaet in this break. Not only does he herald from Belgium, he's also a Flandrian who loves the cobbled classics - and today's stage goes up the famous Muur van Geraardsbergen, also known as the Mur de Grammont or the Kapelmuur. It features normally on the Ronde van Vlaanderen spring classic and is the first of two climbs on today's schedule. That means we'll see one of these four escapees in the polka dot jersey tonight.


The gap is up to 3'25" for the four leaders and we have riders from Jumbo-Visma, Lotto-Soudal and Deceuninck-QuickStep on the front ahead of the Ineos train of defending champion Geraint Thomas. The reason why those teams have riders on the front to monitor the gap is to keep things open for their respective sprinters - Dylan Groenewegen, Caleb Ewan and Elia Viviani. Remember, the rider who wins today's stage will take the yellow jersey - now that's an extra incentive if ever you needed one.


With Chris Froome out of the race with the injuries sustained during the Dauphine, Geraint Thomas will defend his crown while vying for team leadership at Ineos with the young Colombian Egan Bernal, who this season has won both Paris-Nice and the Tour de Suisse. We spoke to Sir Dave Brailsford about the team dynamic ahead of the race.


With the peloton taking a collective nature break, the gap for these four leaders stretches out to 2'30".


The four-man break features Greg Van Avermaet (CCC), Natnael Berhane (Cofidis), Mads Würtz Schmidt (Katusha) and Xandro Meurisse (Wanty-Groupe Gobert). Two Belgians - including the Olympic champion - is a huge coup for the host nation, who have dedicated this grand depart, Brussels' second, to the legend that is Eddy Merckx.


It's a sunny day in Belgium with the mercury pushing 23 degrees. Ideal weather conditions for this opening leg of the race.


And the rider driving the pace is the Belgian Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet of CCC, who is clearly motivated by the grand depart in his home nation.


They're off! The 2019 Tour de France is under way - and there's a big push from the outset for riders to get in the break.


Here's the official profile of today's stage, which looks set to finish in a bunch sprint in the Belgian capital after some tricky climbs in the final 30-odd kilometres.

Stage 1 profile, Tour de France 2019

Bonjour le Tour! Hello and welcome to live coverage of the opening stage of this year's Tour de France, the 106th edition of the Grande Boucle. We're live in Brussels with the peloton riding through the neutral zone ahead of the official start...