As the dust settled after the opening time trial at the Tour de France, there was a shock stage winner in Yves Lampaert but the general classification picture was largely as predicted. Two-time Tour champion Tadej Pogačar led the way, behind him the Jumbo-Visma duo of Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard.
The pair, who have each finished runner-up to Pogačar at the Tour in the past two years, are sharing leadership this time and there wasn't much to separate them after the first of 21 stages.
In fact, there was a solitary second in it, in favour of Vingegaard. The Dane finished eighth on the stage, 16 seconds down on Lampaert, and a place and a second up on Roglič. In reference to Pogačar, they conceded eight and nine seconds, respectively.
"I think it went really, really well. In fact, a little surprisingly well, I would say," Vingegaard said.
As for Roglič, he deemed himself "definitely happy" with his own result and "super happy" with the team's performance as a whole, Wout van Aert finishing runner-up on the day.
As always with leadership duos, clues will be sought as to which one is in better shape. At the Dauphiné, Roglič won the overall title but if anything Vingegaard appeared stronger on the final day.
There was little to choose between them over 13.2 wet kilometres in Copenhagen on Friday. They have both beaten each other in times trials before and the single-second gap gave few clues as to what might happen next.
"I do not know how much we lose to Počacar, but I think we can be satisfied. There is no internal classification, it is us against him," Vingegaard stated.
Both riders were happy just to avoid crashing on the wet and technical city-centre roads. They'd booked early slots in a bid to avoid the rain but it arrived early and made for a treacherous run.
"I do not think I took chances," Vingegaard said. "My front wheel was slipping a few times, but I'm glad I did not take any chances, otherwise I'd have probably crashed."
Despite the early loss to Pogačar, both riders put time into all their other rivals, with the Ineos duo of Adam Yates and Geraint Thomas at around 10 seconds, and key podium challenger Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) at more than 15 seconds. Ben O'Connor (AG2R Citroën), meanwhile, their closest challenger at the Dauphiné, shipped 45 seconds.
The Tour continues on Saturday with a flat stage but one that could drive more than a single second between the Jumbo-Visma pair. The route crossed the 18km Great Belt Bridge in the finale but also tracks exposed narrow roads beforehand that could be hit by crosswinds.
"It will definitely be a stressful day," said Vingegaard. "We just have to be on the cutting edge of it all."
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