Julian Alaphilippe powered to victory up the climb of La Fosse aux Loups (the wolfpit) with the help of his Wolfpack from Deceuninck-Quick Step. He became the first Frenchman to win the opening stage of the Tour de France since Christophe Moreau twenty years ago and only the third reigning world champion to exchange the rainbow jersey for the yellow jersey at the end of stage 1 after Georges Speicher (1934) and Bernard Hinault (1981).
Six riders in the lead
184 riders took the start of stage 1 in Brest at 12.33. Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka-Nexthash) was first to get a bit of gap for himself. It enabled him to collect the first KOM point up for grabs at côte de Trébéolin (cat. 4, km 8.6). Five riders managed to go clear at km 12 at the initiative of Franck Bonnamour (B&B), quickly rejoined by Danny van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert), Cristian Rodriguez (TotalEnergies), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe) and later by Conor Swift (Arkea-Samsic) to make a front group of six at km 19.5 Eight kilometres further, their maximum advantage of 3’55’’ was recorded. Tim Declercq and Petr Vakoc seized the reins of the peloton for Deceuninck-Quick Step and Alpecin-Fenix respectively.
Ide Schelling soloes to KOM glory
Following a strong attack by Schelling, Perez won the KOM at Locronan (km 61.5). Schelling attacked at the bottom of the côte de Stang Ar Garront in Châteaulin (km 111) to take one KOM point but he forged on and his former breakaway companions were reeled in by the peloton with 68km to go. A massive crash occurred at km 152 as Tony Martin hit a spectator. It led to the first withdrawal of the 2021 Tour de France as Jasha Sütterlin (DSM) was injured. It took a while for Wout van Aert, Miguel Angel Lopez, Sonny Colbrelli and Bryan Coquard to make it back to the pack.
Alaphilippe soloes in La Fosse aux Loups
Schelling was brought back with 28km to go. The peloton rode all together at a moderated speed towards Landerneau. Another massive crash split the peloton 7.5km before the end. Deceuninck-Quick Step strongly led the peloton before the 3-km long ascent of La Fosse aux Loups. Alaphilippe attacked in the steepest section before the 2km to go mark. He made a gap for himself. Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies) and the Slovenian duo formed of Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar chased him down but he fended off their return. Michael Matthews sprinted to second place with Roglic taking some interesting time bonus in third position. Chris Froome has been badly affected by the crash. Last year’s podium contenders Richie Porte and Miguel Angel Lopez also lost some significant time at the end of stage 1.