Belgian farmer Yves Lampaert created a huge surprise to be crowned in Copenhagen instead of his star compatriot Wout van Aert who had won his duel against Filippo Ganna before it stopped raining in the Danish capital. He’s the first Belgian to take the Maillot Jaune since Greg Van Avermaet in 2018 and the fourth from his cycling mad country to win the inaugural time trial of the Tour de France after Eddy Merckx, victor of three prologues (in 1970, 1972 and 1974), Freddy Maertens (1976) and Eric Vanderaerden (1983).
VAN DER POEL EARLY ON THE HOT SEAT
Stefan Bissegger, the first stage favourite in action, crashed twice, so he didn’t better the time of Dutch national champion for ITT Bauke Mollema who clocked 15'34'18'', which made an average speed of 50.878km/h. His time was bettered by 3’’56 by his compatriot Mathieu van der Poel (av.: 51.097km/h). First of the GC favourites to take the start, Primoz Roglic rode under the rain and didn’t make the hot seat as he was 2’’55 slower than MVDP. Stefan Küng and Geraint Thomas were seemingly hampered by the pouring rain as they didn’t approach the performance the leader of Alpecin-Deceuninck. Wout van Aert (1’’18), Filippo Ganna (2’’53) and Tadej Pogacar (6’’47) were also behind van der Poel at the half way point.
IT SEEMED DONE FOR WOUT VAN AERT
The three top guns increased their speed in the second half of the race to set a new provisional top 3: van Aert in the lead (av. speed: 51.540km/h), Pogacar in second place two seconds behind and Ganna third at five seconds, leaving van der Poel in fourth. It made a difference of nine seconds between Pogacar and Roglic, the two hot favourites for the overall victory, which was possibly the difference between the drizzle and the pouring rain that the two Slovenians experienced respectively. As the biggest names had completed the course, it seemed like a third stage victory in a row for van Aert after the Libourne to Saint-Emilion time trial and the Champs-Elysées bunch sprint last year, but the rained stopped and the road dried up slowly. His French team-mate Christophe Laporte set the best intermediate time but crashed later on.
YVES LAMPAERT SURPRISES EVERYONE
A double Belgian champion for individual time trial (2017, 2021) and recent winner of the ITT at the Belgium Tour before his disqualification for dangerous behaviour in the last stage, Yves Lampaert took advantage of the new racing conditions to oust his compatriot from the hot seat as he clocked in 15’17’’76, five seconds faster than van Aert, at the average speed of 51.821km/h. The teams had chosen to get their star riders going early as they believed the weather conditions would worsen, but it went the other way round. However, none of the 71 riders who competed after Lampaert proved to be a threat for the stage victory. Another Belgian, Dylan Teuns, was the only one to enter the top 10 (10th).
Yves Lampaert: "It's unbelievable!"
“I was hoping to make the top 10 and that would already have been great but now I beat all the best in the world. I’m just a farmer from Belgian and I do this, it’s unexpected. I cannot believe it. I knew I was in good condition, but to win stage in the Tour de France, especially stage 1 is something I never could dream of. To beat van Aert, van der Poel and Ganna, it’s unbelievable for me. The roads were still very wet when I rode so I think I had the same conditions as the favourites and yet I finished 5’’ in front of van Aert. I will have the yellow jersey on my shoulders at least for one day. I will only be able to realise when the Tour will be over, or maybe on Monday when I’ll see my girlfriend and my son. I want to share this moment with Tim Declercq who is one of my best friend and couldn’t ride the Tour because of Covid.”