Tour de France: Alaphilippe goes long to win crash-marred stage 1

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) took a well-deserved stage win and the yellow jersey on stage 1 of the Tour de France after attacking on the final climb of the Côte de la Fosse aux Loups and holding off the remnants of the peloton on a day that was overshadowed by two major crashes and major time losses for several overall contenders.

The world champion attacked with 2.3km to go on the stage and soloed clear despite resistance from both Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) and Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates). 

Last year’s Tour de France winner and runner up were unable to match Alaphilippe's pace and even when the road evened out the Frenchman had enough in the tank to take the win, despite being a crash victim earlier in the day, with Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) and Roglic rounding out the top three on the stage.

Alaphilippe was perfectly set up on the climb by his teammates with the Belgian team leading the Frenchman to the lower slopes of the short but final ascent. His anticipated attack quickly gained the world champion all the time he needed with Wout Van Aert – second wheel at the time – simply unable to respond.

When Roglic's and Pogcar’s brief counter was reeled in, Alaphilippe maintained his advantage all the way to the line but the devastating effects from the two crashes – one of which was caused by a spectator – overshadowed the stage and had severely affected the overall standings.

"It’s really incredible, honestly. It’s a scenario I imagined and the start of my Tour is a success. It’s a super feeling, my team did great work, they took care of me and controlled things. In the final, I was caught up in a crash but I was able to stay calm and then I had to finish off the work on the final climb, where we really wanted to make it hard and get rid of the sprinters. When Dries opened the gap I gave the maximum without asking any questions,” the yellow jersey said at the finish.

"It wasn’t planned to go from that far but when I went I saw I had a small gap and I saw everyone was à bloc so I decided to keep going. In the final kilometre, I saw the gap wasn’t coming down. Every time it’s an emotion I can’t describe.”

"It’s a joy for me to win but also to give emotions to those close to me. This is really a special win for me."

Alaphilippe leads the Tour de France from Matthews by 12 seconds with Roglic a further two seconds down but Chris Froome crawled over the line after hitting the deck in the second major crash with 6km to go. Richard Carapaz lost 13 seconds but Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar) and Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe) lost almost two minutes. Dauphiné winner Richie Porte (Ineos Grenadiers) conceded 2:16.

How it unfolded

After all the pre-race hype, new sponsor announcements, and the unveiling of new kits the Tour de France finally swung into gear with the 2021 peloton rolling out from Brest to Landerneau. Ahead of them, a 198km stage that included fiive small but categorized climbs with the Côte de Trébéolin, Côte de Rosnoën, Côte de Locronan, Côte de Stang Ar Garront, Côte de Saint-Rivoal and Côte de la Fosse aux Loups on the menu. After a long and winding neutralized zone, and flurry of attacks, five riders managed to break free from the peloton with Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels p/b KTM), Cristian Rodriguez (Team TotalEnergies), Danny van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty) joined by Anthony Perez (Cofidis) and Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe) going clear.

Connor Swift (Arkéa-Samsic) made it a sextet a few kilometres later before the peloton duly sat up and allowed the leaders to build something close to a healthy buffer. They say the only certainties in life are taxes and death but add the sight of Tim Declercq controlling the pace of the peloton after a break has formed to that list. One day one of this year’s Tour de France and already the Belgian rider has created his blueprint for the next three weeks of racing but he had assistance on this occasion with Alpecin Fenix offering Petr Vakoc to help control the stage.

The leaders up front worked well together but with a yellow jersey as well as a stage up for grabs their efforts were purely based around generating air-time and ensuring that their teammates had easy days back in the bunch. The gap never crept higher than a handful of minutes and with 100km remaining the Vakoc- Declercq tandem had the break at just under two minutes.

On the Côte de Stang ar Garront, Schelling broke the alliance that had been established within the break with a strong attack, just as Casper Pedersen was among three riders who hit the deck. Not only did Schelling take the points at the top of the climb, but he also pushed on and quickly put 2:23 between himself and the rest of the break. His departure effectively killed the break with the five riders reeled in with just over 66km to go.

While the lone Bora rider snaffled up maximum points at the intermediate sprint at Brasparts, the following battle behind him was the first time in this year’s race that the true contenders for the Green jersey with Caleb Ewan brushing aside Peter Sagan and Michael Matthews – the last two men in the race to win the competition. That injection of pace brought Ineos Grenadiers and Jumbo-Visma to the front, with Schelling’s gap dropping to two minutes with 58km to go.

The crashes

The stage looked relatively calm until, with 45km to go, the race was entirely turned on its head when a spectator stepped into the road holding a sign. Tony Martin had nowhere to go and fell, sparking a mass crash that saw Roglic, Van Aert and almost all of Jumbo-Visma hit the deck. Miguel Angel Lopez, Chris Froome, Sonny Colbrelli and dozens of others were held up, with the bunch briefly neutralizing the race as riders were allowed to return with 30km to go.

Schelling was caught soon after the aftershocks from the crash would have an effect on the race well beyond stage 1.

The second crash, when it arrived in the final 10km, was just as dramatic and shocking. This time it was caused by a touch of wheels inside the bunch, with riders sent spinning into the verge on the side of the road. Spectators were seen running for cover, one woman dragging her child to safety as a number of riders were forced off the road. 

When the riders began to pick themselves up the casualties were numerous with Chris Froome one of the slowest to remount. It looked as though the four-time Tour winner’s race was over as he sat on the tarmac and even when he got to his feet gingerly it seemed just a matter of time before he would exit the race via an ambulance. However he made it to the finish, well down, but still in the race, for now at least.

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 4:39:05
2Michael Matthews (Aus) Team BikeExchange 0:00:08
3Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma
4Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious
5Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe
6Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
7David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
8Sergio Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education-Nippo
9Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
10Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
11Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Team BikeExchange
12Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious
13Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma
14Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
15Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team
16Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education-Nippo
17Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic
18Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
19Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep
20Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
21Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana-Premier Tech
22Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:13
23Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
24Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
25Pierre Latour (Fra) TotalEnergies
26Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team DSM 0:00:16
27Anthony Turgis (Fra) TotalEnergies 0:00:28
28Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Team BikeExchange 0:00:38
29Brent Van Moer (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:46
30Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:51
31Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Start-up Nation
32Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:54
33Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
34Boy van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:01:24
35Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team DSM 0:01:49
36Robert Gesink (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
37Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Movistar Team
38Michael Valgren (Den) EF Education-Nippo
39Michael Gogl (Aut) Qhubeka-NextHash
40Ben O'Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën Team
41Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Movistar Team
42Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
43Sergio Henao Montoya (Col) Qhubeka-NextHash
44Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
45Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Victorious
46Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis
47Pierre Rolland (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
48Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep
49Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
50Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
51Mark Donovan (GBr) Team DSM
52Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Team DSM
53Stefan Bissegger (Swi) EF Education-Nippo
54Nils Eekhoff (Ned) Team DSM 0:01:57
55Dries Devenyns (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:02:03
56Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Education-Nippo 0:02:10
57Neilson Powless (USA) EF Education-Nippo
58Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team 0:02:16
59Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
60Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
61Louis Meintjes (RSA) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
62Cyril Barthe (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
63Quentin Pacher (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
64Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain Victorious
65Richie Porte (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers
66Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Lotto Soudal
67Stefan De Bod (RSA) Astana-Premier Tech
68Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
69Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
70Hugo Houle (Can) Astana-Premier Tech
71Jonas Rickaert (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
72Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Ineos Grenadiers 0:03:02
73Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:03:17
74Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team BikeExchange
75Simon Yates (GBr) Team BikeExchange
76Simon Geschke (Ger) Cofidis
77Jan Bakelants (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
78Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
79Luke Rowe (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:03:30
80Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Ineos Grenadiers
81Connor Swift (GBr) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:03:55
82Jonas Rutsch (Ger) EF Education-Nippo
83Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:04:10
84Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain Victorious
85Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
86Sean Bennett (USA) Qhubeka-NextHash
87Magnus Cort (Den) EF Education-Nippo 0:04:24
88Christopher Juul-Jensen (Den) Team BikeExchange
89Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates 0:04:57
90Bruno Armirail (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:05:00
91Jelle Wallays (Bel) Cofidis 0:05:21
92Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:05:26
93Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:05:33
94Carlos Barbero (Spa) Qhubeka-NextHash
95Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team
96Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates
97Rafal Majka (Pol) UAE Team Emirates
98Nicholas Dlamini (RSA) Qhubeka-NextHash
99Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo
100Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo
101Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis
102Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
103Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
104Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Cofidis
105Franck Bonnamour (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
106Cyril Gautier (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
107Fabien Doubey (Fra) TotalEnergies
108Elie Gesbert (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
109Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
110Cristian Rodriguez Martin (Spa) TotalEnergies
111Victor de la Parte (Spa) TotalEnergies
112Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
113Omar Fraile Matarranz (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
114Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) TotalEnergies
115Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
116Miles Scotson (Aus) Groupama-FDJ
117Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Movistar Team
118Fred Wright (GBr) Bahrain Victorious
119Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Groupama-FDJ
120Petr Vakoc (Cze) Alpecin-Fenix
121Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-up Nation
122Jeremy Cabot (Fra) TotalEnergies
123Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
124Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Ineos Grenadiers
125Jonas Koch (Ger) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
126Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Qhubeka-NextHash 0:06:01
127Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:06:07
128Roger Kluge (Ger) Lotto Soudal
129Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal
130Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
131Tim Declercq (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
132Mark Cavendish (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStep
133Michael Mørkøv (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep
134Luke Durbridge (Aus) Team BikeExchange 0:06:31
135Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Qhubeka-NextHash 0:06:47
136Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:06:57
137Simon Clarke (Aus) Qhubeka-NextHash
138Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates
139Julien Simon (Fra) TotalEnergies
140Loïc Vliegen (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
141Danny van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
142Jorge Arcas (Spa) Movistar Team
143Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:07:00
144Michael Schär (Swi) AG2R Citroën Team
145Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team 0:07:50
146Dorian Godon (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
147Maxime Chevalier (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
148Silvan Dillier (Swi) Alpecin-Fenix 0:08:10
149Mikkel Bjerg (Den) UAE Team Emirates 0:08:49
150Nils Politt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
151Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
152Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
153Harry Sweeny (Aus) Lotto Soudal
154Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-up Nation
155Casper Pedersen (Den) Team DSM 0:09:19
156Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix 0:09:32
157Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
158Cees Bol (Ned) Team DSM 0:09:47
159Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team 0:09:52
160Georg Zimmermann (Ger) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:10:55
161Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech 0:11:05
162Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
163André Greipel (Ger) Israel Start-up Nation 0:11:16
164Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
165Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fra) Cofidis
166Marco Haller (Aut) Bahrain Victorious 0:11:21
167Ide Schelling (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:11:52
168Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM 0:13:04
169Clément Russo (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:14:22
170Daniel McLay (GBr) Team Arkea-Samsic
171Chris Froome (GBr) Israel Start-up Nation 0:14:37
172Omer Goldstein (Isr) Israel Start-up Nation
173Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
174Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Israel Start-up Nation
175Rick Zabel (Ger) Israel Start-up Nation 0:16:29
176Tony Martin (Ger) Jumbo-Visma
177Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma
178Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
179Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) Team BikeExchange
180Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates 0:18:09
181Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team0:24:38
DNFJasha Sütterlin (Ger) Team DSM
DNFCyril Lemoine (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM
DNFIgnatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Groupama-FDJ
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Sprint 1 - Brasparts km. 135.1
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ide Schelling (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe 20
2Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal 17
3Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 15
4Michael Matthews (Aus) Team BikeExchange 13
5Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM 11
6Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 10
7Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic 9
8Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious 8
9Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal 7
10Mark Cavendish (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStep 6
11Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team BikeExchange 5
12Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 4
13Tony Martin (Ger) Jumbo-Visma 3
14Robert Gesink (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 2
15Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo 1
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Sprint 2 - Landerneau Côte De La Fosse Aux Loups km. 197.8
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 50
2Michael Matthews (Aus) Team BikeExchange 30
3Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma 20
4Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious 18
5Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe 16
6Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 14
7David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 12
8Sergio Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education-Nippo 10