After two days in the yellow jersey as leader of the 2019 Tour de France, Jumbo-Visma's Mike Teunissen was forced to hand it over to stage 3 winner Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep). But the Dutchman had enjoyed his time in the famous maillot jaune while it lasted.
"At some point, reality catches up with you, and you realise that it's going to be difficult to hold on to the jersey," said Teunissen, who won the race's opening stage on Saturday, and then increased his lead when he and his Jumbo-Visma teammates won the team time trial on Sunday.
Monday's hillier third stage from Binche to Epernay, however, was a stretch too far for the 26-year-old Dutchman, who finished 80th on the stage, and has now fallen to 72nd on the GC, 4:38 behind new leader Alaphilippe.
"In the end, when the time comes, it's disappointing," Teunissen said in a video on his team's website. "I don't think there's much chance of it ever happening again, so it would have been nice if I could have kept it a little longer. On the other hand, I like looking on the bright side. Two days in the yellow jersey… I made a bit of history. No one can ever take that away from me."
Teunissen appeared to be a popular race leader, having been a surprise winner of the opening stage after his team's main sprinter, Dylan Groenewegen, crashed in the final kilometre of stage 1.
"I got quite a lot of compliments from other riders in the peloton," he revealed. "They thought I came across well, and that's probably the biggest compliment: making a lot of people happy and leaving a good impression by being myself.
"I enjoyed it immensely, he continued, "but it's also nice that I can ride somewhat low-key for our leaders tomorrow [Tuesday]."
Indeed, Teunissen will return to his day job as a lead-out man for Groenewegen on stage 4 from Reims to Nancy, which is expected to end in a bunch sprint.
"Tomorrow we'll sprint with Dylan. Then everything will be back to normal again, so maybe that's not so bad," he said.
Despite returning to his usual role, Teunissen's value will have risen considerably, and, having joined the elite club of yellow-jersey wearers, life will never quite be the same as it was before.