Yellow for Bardet in Rimini

Tour de France 2024 | Stage 1 | Florence > Rimini

On a historic day in Italy it was Romain Bardet who grabbed the Stage 1 victory on the Rimini seafront, securing the Yellow Jersey with a fine performance for Team dsm-firmenich PostNL. The Frenchman was followed across the finish line by his teammate Frank Van den Broek who had collaborated brilliantly with him to set up the win, whilst Wout van Aert (Visma-Lease a Bike) was third, leading the peloton to the finish 5” behind the front two. It is Bardet's fourth stage victory in the Grande Boucle and the first Yellow Jersey of a sporting career that will end, as he has announced, after the Giro d'Italia 2025. Bardet and dsm-firmenich will enjoy being leaders of the Tour in the second stage this Sunday, which will consist of 199.2 km between Cesenatico and Bologna.

Extended Highlights - Stage 1 - Tour de France 2024

A historic start in beautiful Florence
The 176 riders on the start list were all present for the first ever Italian Grand Départ with
the peloton pedalling along the beautiful streets of Florence, stopping briefly at the Palazzo Vecchio and crossing the iconic Ponte Vecchio on the neutralised route through the Tuscan capital. Once the racing began on this 111th edition of the Tour de France there were numerous early attackers, with the riders sensing that the characteristics of the opening stage could give any breakaway that formed a realistic chance of success on the 206 kms to Rimini.

A breakaway forms
Eventually Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious), Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ), Ion Izagirre (Cofidis), Clément Champoussin (Arkéa-B&B Hotels), Frank Van den Broek (Team dsm-firmenich PostNL), Sandy Dujardin and Matteo Vercher (TotalEnergies) managed to establish a breakaway km 17. Initially absent from the breakaway, Uno-X tried again and again to mount a counterattack until Jonas Abrahamsen managed to make the move across with Ryan Gibbons (Lidl-Trek). That duo joined the head of the race at km 41, in the middle of the ascent of the Col de Valico Tre Faggi (Cat 2, km 49.7). On that climb Vercher would drop and the breakaway would achieve its maximum lead (6'00", km 46) before EF Education-EasyPost took the reins of the peloton. Izagirre was first at the top of the first climb, with the eight escapees by then having a 5'10” lead over the main group, from which sprinters such as Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan), Fabio Jakobsen (Team dsm-firmenich PostNL) and Fernando Gaviria (Movistar Team) had lost contact.

Good work from Abrahamsen
Abrahamsen was the first man to reach the summit of the Côte des Forche (Cat 3, km 77.8), at the top of which the breakaway’s lead had been reduced to 3'40” due to the momentum of EF Education-EasyPost. Dujardin won the Santa Sofia intermediate sprint (IS, km 86.6) before losing ground on the Côte de Carnaio (Cat 3, km 98.3) just as Champoussin would also do. Izagirre led the front group, reduced to six riders as they topped the climb, with the breakaway by then increasing their advantage to 4'15" over the peloton. The main group now without EF at the front, was gradually losing riders due to the heat, pace and difficulty of the stage.

Romain Bardet, on the attack
UAE Team Emirates took control of the bunch on the Côte de Barbotto (Cat 2, km 135.6), and their work had an impact. On the one hand, they reduced the gap to 2'45” with respect to the breakaway, who crossed the summit led by Abrahamsen (who would thus become leader of the Mountain classification) and lost Izagirre on the climb. On the other hand, favourites for the stage victory such as Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) and Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) were struggling, as well as riders targeting the general classification such as Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) and David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ). Both Pedersen and Buitrago managed to return to the group of favourites, now reduced to fifty riders, before the Côte de San Leo (Cat 2, km 157.3), on the slopes of which Visma-Lease a Bike took the reins and Romain Bardet (Team dsm-firmenich PostNL) attacked. Supported by his teammate Van den Broek, who temporarily dropped out of the breakaway to help him, Bardet topped the climb 15” behind Madouas and Abrahamsen, who had dropped Mohoric and Gibbons. The dsm-firmenich duo would be left alone in the lead at the top of the Côte de Montemaggio (Cat 3, km 167.1), where they had 1'45” over the peloton and 55” over Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost), who had counterattacked.

An incredible finale
The accelerations of Ineos Grenadiers, Lidl-Trek and EF Education-EasyPost (who had reeled Healy back to help) on the Côte de San Marino (Cat 3, km 179.7) barely reduced the advantage of the dsm-firmenich duo to 1'35” at the top of the seventh and last categorised climb of the day. The chase was on, with Van den Broek and Bardet grinding hard over the mainly flat final 25 km. At 5 km from the finish in Rimini the leading duo maintained a 30” advantage, despite the efforts of the teams behind them. Together they managed to win the fight to keep the chasing group at bay and achieve a remarkable victory.

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