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Tour de France 2019: Stage 1

Hello and welcome to our live coverage from the first stage of the 2019 Tour de France! The riders have 194.5km in front of them, with today's stage beginning and ending in Brussels, the capital of Belgium.

 

Start list

Tour de France race hub

Tour de France stage 1 preview: Brussels set to crown first yellow jersey

Peter Sagan: The Tour de France sprints are always a big mess

Is pressure Bernal's biggest hurdle at this year's Tour de France?

Stage 1 preview podcast

 

 

The 2019 Tour de France is about to get under way, with the race start proper coming in half an hour. The peloton will roll out of Brussels in a matter of minutes.

Eddy Merckx is riding in the commissaire's car ahead of the peloton, waving at the fans as they roll around the streets of Brussels.

 

Here's a shot of the peloton preparing to start the Tour.

 

 

At the end of today's stage, an uphill sprint in Brussels, it looks certain that a sprinter will take the victory and race lead. Check out our preview of stage 1 here, and our preview podcast here.

 

The stage proper is set to start at 12:25 local time, so another 14 minutes or so of riding through the neutralised zone.

 

Along with the greatest of them all, there have been a number of other – more recent – cycling stars hanging around at the start in Brussels today. 

 

Six-time stage winner and 2007 green jersey winner Tom Boonen was at the Deceuninck-QuickStep bus.

 

 

2005 and 2009 green jersey winner and 10-time stage winner Thor Hushovd gets a cuddle with the Tour's lion mascot.

 

 

2012 winner Bradley Wiggins, who now works as a pundit for Eurosport, strolling around the start.

 

 

Greg Van Avermaet is up at the front of the peloton with five kilometres left of the neutralised section.

 

3km to go until the Tour de France officially gets underway.

 

There will no doubt be a fierce fight to get into the first break of the race. It's coming up in a matter of moments!

 

194km remaining from 194km

And we're off! Racing at the 2019 Tour is underway.

 

Natnael Bernae (Cofidis) is among the men up front, leading the attacking with Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) and riders from Wanty-Groupe Gobert and Katusha-Alpecin.

 

Van Avermaet is leading the charge here.

 

190km remaining from 194km

It's Berhane, Van Avermaet, Xandro Meurisse (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Mads Würtz Schmidt (Katusha-Alpecin), and they have a decent gap on the peloton very quickly.

 

Greg Van Avermaet leads CCC Team at this Tour, with the men in orange lacking a GC leader. They do have a plan to get into the yellow jersey though, as outlined by GVA and team boss Jim Ochowicz on Friday. Read the full story here.

 

188km remaining from 194km

The break are 1:30 up the road now – the four men are established.

 

Today's two climbs are the Muur de Grammont (better known as the Muur van Geraardsbergen) and the Bosberg. They are best-known for featuring in the finale of the old Tour de Flanders route.

 

Berhane might be the strongest climber in the break, but with top Flandrien Van Avermaet knowing both the cobbles and the roads like the back of his hand, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him in polka dots this afternoon.

 

182km remaining from 194km

The break are still building their lead. It's up to 2:50 and rising.

 

The riders are racing through Belgium, so it's not surprising to see Deceuninck-QuickStep and Lotto Soudal at the head of the peloton ahead of Team Ineos. 

 

It helps that they have men for the finish today, with Elia Viviani and Caleb Ewan among the favourites to win the stage. Jumbo-Visma also have George Bennett up front – he's riding for their sprinter Dylan Groenewegen.

 

178km remaining from 194km

3:20 for the break now.

 

Jumbo-Visma's Wout Van Aert is another home favourite. Here's the man himself with his mother at the stage start.

 

 

"I don't have many personal ambitions on this Tour. First I want to support Dylan Groenewegen in the sprints and Steven Kruijswijk in the flat and transitional stages," said Van Aert a few days ago. Read the full story on the cross-discipline star's first Tour de France.

 

Before the start of the stage, Van Avermaet said that he expected a lot of stress for the peloton on the Muur. Nice avoidance measure from him today, then.

 

The break are 22km into the stage, so halfway to the Muur.

 

172km remaining from 194km

The gap to the peloton seems to have maxed out at 3:20 for now. It's all under the control of the sprinter's teams.

 

It's 50 years since Eddy Merckx won his first Tour de France, if you're wondering about all the Merckx talk this weekend. The helicopter camera picks out a huge piece of art in a nearby field: 'Eddy'.

 

30km into the stage now, and the break are three minutes up on the peloton.

 

Here's what another home favourite, Oliver Naesen of AG2R La Mondiale, had to say before the start today.

 

"I expect a lot from the Muur. It's going to be crazy with the crowds in that area. It's my climb – I've done it so many times. It's great to enjoy this. It's not always this much fun at the Tour."

Laurens De Plus (Jumbo-Visma) greets his fan club at the side of the road. Dries Devenyns (Deceuninck-QuickStep) leads the peloton. It's a very Belgian day at the Tour de France.

 

Eurosport have got Wiggins out on a motorbike conducting interviews on the road – a new wrinkle for race coverage here in Britain, even if it has been used on the continent before.

 

He spoke to CCC Team DS Valerio Piva about Van Avermaet's breakaway.

 

"We already discussed this move. We know the first climb is one that he likes and he said 'why not, I will try'. It will be something nice if he can take the jersey at the end of the day."

 

The break is nearing Geraardsbergen now, and the first climb of the day. The Muur is packed with fans, unsurprisingly.

 

 

153km remaining from 194km

The break are two kilometres from the start of the climb now.

 

The break reach Geraardsbergen and hit the Muur, the first climb of the Tour de France.

 

Here are the details of the third-category climb.

 

 

Berhane has a go on the easier cobbles towards the bottom of the climb, but he's reeled back in.

 

Van Avermaet takes to the front as they hit the rougher cobbles. The hardest section is towards the top, of course.

 

The Belgian is racing this like it's the middle of April! He and Meurisse drop Würtz Schmidt and Berhane.

 

The two Belgians pass by the chapel, in between countless fans, and Van Avermaet is just too strong. He leads over the top.

 

Over two minutes further down the road, the peloton hit the climb.

 

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) has a mechanical and changes his bike, reports Wiggins from the moto.

 

148km remaining from 194km

QuickStep lead the peloton over the top ahead of Ineos.

 

The Belgian pair are still out front on the Bosberg. Würtz Schmidt and Berhane chase.

 

Meurisse leads Van Avermaet over the top, and that's all the climbing for today done.

 

Greg Van Avermaet is the first king of the mountains of the Tour de France!

 

After all the excitement of the climbs, the peloton has closed to within 2:40 of the break.

 

Meurisse was alone out front after his attack on the climb, but has been brought back by his breakmates now.

 

In the first part of a series of articles about Tours de France past, EF Education First DS Charly Wegelius reminisces about the 1987 Tour de France and the battle between Stephen Roche and Pedro Delgado.

 

"For me, cycling and watching that ’87 Tour was all about adventure. Cycling opened my eyes to a new world that was outlandish and exotic. I’d go into bookshops in York and look up the place names of where the Tour visited in Michelin maps."

 

Charly Wegelius: I've got love for you if you were born in the 80s

 

 

Van Avermaet has dropped back from the break, his mission accomplished today. Just three men out front now.

 

135km remaining from 194km

The same teams are controlling the peloton – QuickStep, Jumbo and Lotto. The gap is under two minutes now, with 60km of the stage already behind them.

 

Talk on Eurosport turns to EF leader Rigoberto Urán. A nice little factoid courtesy of Rob Hatch is that the Colombian has the fewest race kilometres in his legs in the entire peloton. He has raced just 2988 kilometres in 2019, just 19 race days.

 

By contrast, Marco Haller (Katusha-Alpecin) has 59 race days in his legs heading into the Tour.

 

That might be why Urán looked so happy and well-rested this morning!

 

 

After the intial fight to get into the break and the battle for the polka dot jersey, the race situation has calmed down.

 

So what better time to catch up with our stage 1 preview podcast? We've got Kristoff, Viviani, Bernal, Moscon and more. Listen here. 

 

With Van Avermaet in polka dots tomorrow, he becomes the first Belgian to lead the KOM classification since Thomas De Gendt and Jasper Stuyven in 2016.

 

Belgians have won the competition 11 times over the year, though nobody has triumphed since Lucien Van Impe in 1983. Van Impe has six wins to his name, Eddy Merckx and Félicien Vervaecke won two apiece, while Sylvère Maes won it once.

 

121km remaining from 194km

The teams on the front of the peloton aren't letting the gap get back up at all. The three-man break are just 1:30 up the road.

 

Berhane has a mechanical problem but gets a quick bike change from the Cofidis team car.

 

Here's our latest piece of news from the Tour. It's about Gianni Moscon and his return to the race after being disqualified for throwing a punch at Élie Gesbert last year.

 

The Italian was in no mood to discuss the incident though, batting back multiple questions from reporters. Read the full story here.

 

 

113km remaining from 194km

It's up to two minutes between the break and peloton now.

 

109km remaining from 194km

The riders have passed through the feed zone at Ronquières. 109km to race.

 

And the peloton pass through a few minutes later, so maybe expect the gap to go up a little.

 

The same trio of teams are still working at the front of the peloton for their sprinters – Deceuninck-QuickStep, Jumbo-Visma and Lotto Soudal.

 

Jumbo's George Bennett has been working for Dylan Groenewegen today. Bennett spoke to Cyclingnews, talking through his role on the team and how they'll work during the Tour.

 

"The first day I might even chasing some breakaway and working. Then I'll be looking after Steven. I'm basically moving spare parts. Wheels, bikes, whatever. I might have to chuck over and help Dylan chase breakaways if things get out of control. It's not really a case of me half riding a GC. It's really about me just doing my part."

 

Analysing Jumbo-Visma's Tour de France team with George Bennett

 

 

97km remaining from 194km

The breakaway trio are working well together, though their advantage is only 2:15 with 97km to race.

 

The break pass the 100km mark. Still over 3300km left to race until Paris.

 

The gap to the break is down to 1:40 now. The sprinter's teams aren't going to take any chances at missing out on yellow here.

 

The climbs might be out of the way, but these aren't flat roads to the finish. It's up and down all the way, though nothing too arduous.

 

85km remaining from 194km

QuickStep, Jumbo and Lotto are still controlling the peloton.

 

The break hit a soft cobbled sector and Berhane drops back to the car for a bidon. There's a 'proper' cobbled sector coming up in a few kilometres.

 

Stage 2 of the GIro Rosa has just finished. Stay tuned here for a full report and results from the race.

 

A few GC teams take to the front of the peloton, bringin the gap down to 1:15. They're anticipating the cobbled sector. Bahrain-Merida, Astana, Movistar are all there.

 

74km remaining from 194km

The peloton hit the cobbles and Bora-Hansgrohe take it on at speed. They're all strung out in a line and just 30 seconds behind the break.

 

Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep) stops with a mechanical and gets a new bike.

 

The peloton has really shattered over that cobbled sector. There's still 72km to race, so you'd imagine it all comes back together before the end though.

 

Viviani is way off the back with Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) at the moment.

 

Kristoff's teammate Dan Martin is off the back too.

 

71km remaining from 194km

It's already over for the breakaway after that surge from the peloton. Bora and CCC lead the peloton towards the intermediate sprint.

 

One kilometre to the sprint.

 

Sagan takes the intermediate sprint, and is now the provisional points classification leader!

 

Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida), Greg Van Avermaet and Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) trailed in behind.

 

The chasing group is rather large, though the main peloton has knocked off the pace now. No worries for the chasers.

 

Some news about Dimension Data on day one of the Tour and things aren't looking too rosy at the team. Head of performance Rolf Aldag and team manager Doug Ryder gave contradictory accounts of the non-selection of Mark Cavendish.

 

"It's within my remit to select the team, which I did," said Aldag. "I wrote down eight names and Mark was included. And the team owner has the right to overrule me which he did and that was about it. And now we have eight athletes here who have done nothing wrong and deserve full support from everybody."

 

Cyclingnews spoke to both men before the start of today's opening stage. Read the full story here.

 

Enric Mas (Deceuninck-QuickStep) had a mechanical but is quickly back up and running. Not the best luck for the Belgian team so far.

 

55km remaining from 194km

Tour debutant Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis) has gone on the attack solo with 55km to go.

 

Rossetto has a minute on the peloton. 

 

It has been 11 years since his team last won a Tour de France stage, and while Rossetto probably won't break that duck today, the team are optimistic about their future under Cedric Vasseur. They've already had Natnael Berhane in the break today and have some useful riders at the race in Christophe Laporte and Jesus Herrada.

 

Can Cofidis end their dreadful barren spell?

 

 

48km remaining from 194km

The riders are inside the final 50km of this opening stage now.

 

Rossetto is eking out a bit more of a gap here. He's 1:45 up on the peloton now.

 

EF Education First DS Charly Wegelius opens our new series of features, with personalities from the sport looking back at past Tours de France. He looks back at the 1987 edition.

 

Charly Wegelius: I've got love for you if you were born in the 80s

36km remaining from 194km

It's an advantage of 1:35 for Rossetto now. Things look pretty calm out there as they race back towards Brussels.

 

Back in March, Rossetto fractured his pelvis after hitting a cat while out training. He didn't race again until the Tour de Yorkshire in May, and last week took second at the French national TT championships. Now, the 32-year-old is out in the break at the first Tour de France. Quite a comeback.

 

Rossetto reaches the final 30km.

 

There's still time to listen to what Elia Viviani, Alexander Kristoff and more had to say ahead of today's stage. Listen to the Cyclingnews stage 1 preview podcast here.

 

Rossetto is still soldiering on. His advantage is down to 1:10 now though. It's just a matter of when the peloton want to make the catch.

 

19km remaining from 194km

Under 20km to the finish now. It's still the same squads working at the front of the peloton for their sprinters.

 

A few riders hit the deck at the side of the peloton. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) is caught up.

 

A few Astana men drop back to help Fuglsang. Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma) is back with them too.

 

Fuglsang is bleeding from above the eyebrow. 

 

15km remaining from 194km

He has four men with him and they're around 40 seconds down the peloton. They're right at the back of the line of cars.

 

Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Merida) has torn shorts. He went down in the crash too.

 

Here's our short news report on the Fuglsang crash. More to come...

 

11km remaining from 194km

Rossetto is just 30 seconds up on the chasing peloton now.

 

If you're scrambling to watch the final 10km of the stage, or want a reliable way to watch the Tour de France this month, fear not because we have compiled all the ways to watch.

 

How to watch the Tour de France - free live streams from anywhere

 

9km remaining from 194km

Rossetto is caught by the peloton. Sunweb and Bora are leading the way.

 

9km remaining from 194km

Rossetto is caught by the peloton. Sunweb and Bora are leading the way.

 

Astana and Fuglsang are back in the peloton now.

 

Our latest news piece as we await the finish of the stage. Luke Rowe talks Ineos team leader Geraint Thomas, and why the reigning champion is the Tour de France favourite.

 

Luke Rowe: Geraint Thomas is still the Tour de France favourite

 

 

7km remaining from 194km

The peloton pass by the Berlaymont building, headquarters of the European Commission.

 

Lotto, Ineos, Bora are all up front.

 

5km remaining from 194km

Five kilometres to go! Ineos are at the front protecting their GC men.

 

Let's hope nobody hits the deck in this finale.

 

The Bora and Sunweb trains are also up at the front.

 

3km remaining from 194km

Now Katusha-Alpecin are up there.

 

3km remaining from 194km

The peloton is strung out under the high pace set by Lotto and Katusha.

 

2km remaining from 194km

No incidents so far. just teams switching and changing position at the front of the peloton.

 

Oh! A big crash in the middle of the peloton. Curse of the commentator.

 

Groenewegen is down.

 

QuickStep and Bora hit the front in the final kilometre.

 

Morkov takes over from Oss.

 

Viviani is a long way back.

 

Matthews launched 300 metres out.

 

Colbrelli and Sagan burst past!

 

Sagan takes the victory! What a brutal sprint.

 

On the replay it looks like Sagan just missed out. It was Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma) who edge it! Wow.

 

Caleb Ewan took third place behind Teunissen and Sagan.

 

Giacomo Nizzolo (Dimension Data) and Colbrelli rounded out the top five. Viviani was ninth.

 

Mike Teunissen, a winner of Paris-Roubaix Espoirs back in 2014, takes the yellow jersey.

 

Teunissen won the ZLM Tour late last month, so clearly he's in top form.

 

Watching a replay of the crash in the final 2km, it looked like maybe 5 or 6 yellow Jumbo jerseys were held up. Big slice of luck for them that Teunissen avoided it.

 

Stage result

 

1 Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 4:22:47
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal
4 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Dimension Data
5 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
6 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
7 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
8 Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
9 Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep
10 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo

 

General classification after stage 1

 

1 Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 4:22:37
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal
4 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Dimension Data
5 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
6 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
7 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
8 Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
9 Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep
10 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo

 

Here's Teunissen after the stage.

 

"I cannot believe it. We were working for weeks, months to bring Dylan [Groenewegen] here to the win and yellow jersey, and then with 1.5km to go everything disappears because he goes down in a crash. Then I thought I'm still here, still fresh so we can try it. Then I saw everyone dying in the last metres – even sagan I was catching up on. I just took him on the line and like I said it's beyond imagining. It's unbelievable.

"I couldn't clearly see if [Groenewegen] crashed or not so I just stayed in position and then I heard that he went down. Like I said, I felt good because we were in a good position. Then I thought I'll go for it. I still had Wout [Van Aert] with me, he also could do something, and it was just enough.

"It was a really strange day because our big goal disappears at 1.5km. But I hope Dylan can still smile a little bit if I take this with me to the room.

"I think it'll take me some days more to imagine it because you can dream about it – the possiblity to win a stage – but now it's working out pretty nice, I would say.

"Tomorrow is again a big goal. Hopefully Dylan is ok and hopefully I can recover a bit and then we go full gas again to help Steven [Kruijswijk] to a good position. Another big target and let's go again."

 

We have a brief report and results up here now. Stay tuned for the full version of both.

 

 

Teunissen is the first Dutch rider to wear yellow since Erik Breukink in 1989.

 

A few brief words from a disappointed Caleb Ewan after taking third today.

 

"I think I should've been a little further up front in the last 500 metres when we started going up the hill. But I felt like I was coming quite quick and I felt like I had the legs to win, so I'm very disappointed that I couldn't get through in the end."

Our full stage 1 report is up now.

 

Some finish line quotes from the stage have come in. Check out what Mike Teunissen, Caleb Ewan and more had to say here.

 

 

Tour de France: Geraint Thomas survives late scare after crash on stage 1

 

"I'm fine. I was pretty slow by the time I hit them so just toppled over. It's all good. I gave myself enough space so avoided the actual crash. I was just at the barriers with nowhere to go, it's just one of those things," he said after the finish.

 

 

The Jumbo-Visma team had high hopes of getting the win in a bunch sprint at the end of the opening stage of the Tour de France in Brussels, Belgium. The yellow jersey would be the magnificent bonus that came with such a victory. Nobody expected that rider to be Mike Teunissen, who beat Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) in the stage 1 sprint after his go-to teammate Dylan Groenewegen crashed in the closing kilometres.

 

Read the full story here.

 

 

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