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Tour shorts: Van Garderen relieved, Poels and Leipheimer find Seraing tough-going

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Bradley Wiggins and his Sky team.

Bradley Wiggins and his Sky team. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Wout Poels (Vacansoleil-DCM)

Wout Poels (Vacansoleil-DCM) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Jakob Fuglsang (RadioShack-Nissan)

Jakob Fuglsang (RadioShack-Nissan) (Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) signs on for Stage 1

Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) signs on for Stage 1 (Image credit: Elmar Krings)
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Best young rider Tejay van Garderen (BMC) awaits the start of stage 1.

Best young rider Tejay van Garderen (BMC) awaits the start of stage 1. (Image credit: Sirotti)

Classification ups and downs for BMC

Tejay van Garderen (BMC) was glad to come through the Seraing stage unscathed.

"The break went straight away and it was pretty relaxed until the last 60k. Then there was a lot of fighting in the bunch and it was stressful. I don't think we had any problems in the end, although it would have been nice to have Cadel [Evans] gain a few seconds, but there's plenty of other chances. That final climb was hard, though." PC

Tell us what you really think, Jakob...

The introduction of yellow helmets for the leading team at this year's Tour de France has divided opinion after Team Sky rolled out for Stage 1 in Liege. Banished RadioShack-Nissan rider Jakob Fuglsang for one wasn't too sure.

"Watching TDF now," he tweeted while at the Tour of Austria. "@f_cancellara you are looking great in yellow but think that @TeamSky got a good discount on those helmets :-)"

More power for Poels

Sure to be in the running for the Tour's best young rider, Wout Poels (Vacansoleil-DCM) was forced to settle for a place in the bunch when it came to the steep finale on Stage 1 in Seraing.

The Dutchman, who made a name for himself on the slopes of the Angliru in the 2011 Vuelta a España, struggled with the speed of Sunday's approach to the finish.

"The final kilometers were very hard," he told De Telegraaf. "It took a lot of effort for me to keep up so I came close to a power shortage when it came time to sprint. I had the intention to to go, but then suddenly I saw the sign of 400 meters. Oops, I thought then, that is not very close to the line. For the rest felt I'm okay, though I have yet to reach the top form. "

Greetings from Greipel

Perhaps one of the more, ummm interesting, tweets of the day on Sunday came via Lotto Belisol's Andre Greipel.

"9 friends... in the spa waiting line," it begins.

Click here for the full hilarity.

Levi loses touch

Omega Pharma-QuickStep's Levi Leipheimer was the big loser of the first road stage, when it came to the GC contenders. The American began the day 28 seconds in arrears of yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) but becomming isolated from the main bunch on the approach to Seraing proved costly.

"The final was dangerous and we were riding very fast," Leipheimer said. "Maybe at 3km to go, just before the climb. we were a little bit too far from the head of the bunch. Then I passed a lot of riders on the climb, but it was impossible to catch the first part of the group. In any case, the legs are good and my priority in this first part of the Tour is to stay safe and out of trouble."

Leipheimer begins stage 2, 45 seconds back on Cancellara.