So, Fernando Gaviria became the first Tour debutant to win on his opening day on the race since Fabian Cancellara took the first stage in Liege in 2004. Those pedants amongst you will note that the year after, David Zabriskie, won stage 1 in 2005 but was stripped of that win in 2012. No precedents there, right? Of course.
The Battle For Yellow:
Here’s the interesting stuff. There were, as is the norm with the first stage of this the tour, crashes. And already the GC has been opened up. It all came alive in the last 10km, as a series of crashes first took out Richie Porte (BMC) and Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott). Chris Froome (see Froomewatch) was there too and ended up on the ground to boot.
Then of all people, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) punctured. And with his team in a trident, there was nobody to come back and he ended up losing a minute and eleven seconds.
Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) and Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) finished in the front group along with Jakob Fulsgang, and they are big winners from today along with Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Geraint Thomas of Sky, Mikel Landa (Movistar), and Rigoberto Uran (EF-Education First).
General Classification and Result Of Stage 1:
1 Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors 04:23:22
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:04
3 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin 00:00:06
4 Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale 00:00:09
5 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:10
6 Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
7 Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
8 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
9 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
10 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
Another chance for the sprinters – the first three home from yesterday – to take or keep the yellow jersey as applicable. The côte de Pouzauges comes after just 28km and is a chance for the break to move clear, along with someone to wear the polka dot jersey for a day or two as well on the side.
After this the race is then heading well towards the finish. There are two pressure points in the last 5 kilometres- with 3.9k to go there’s a 900 metres stretch at 2.2%, and and 2.4 kilometres before the line there’s a rise of 4% for 200 metres.
With 900 metres to go there’s a sharp right hander - it’s 90 degrees - and then 800 metres of another uphill drag that averages 2% towards the finish.
The leading contenders from yesterday are sure to take the beating once again. Fernando Gaviria was impressive in taking his first Tour Stage win and will fancy doubling up again. Peter Sagan was second, and this despite being on the wheel of the winner.
Marcel Kittel’s third was his perhaps his best result of the year and an important early start for the Katusha man. He came from a long way back, suggesting his train issues are still a thing but also that he’s got plenty of the raw speed that earned him four stage wins last year.
Arnaud Demare (FDJ) sadly didn’t get a chance to compete but has shown on his Tour De Suisse form but he must be given a chance along with Aleksander Kristoff who looked better than he has for a while.
The struggles continue. Instead of going down on his own, he was pushed into a field and lost 50 seconds. Standard.