He didn’t expect it. And neither do the spectators. Belgian Yves Lampaert dazzled everyone by being the fastest on Friday July 1 in the time trial in Copenhagen for the first stage of the Tour de France. “I really wasn’t expecting this!” My head is exploding, I expected to make a top 10, it would have been very good and there I beat all the best, van Aert, Ganna, van der Poel… I am in good condition but from there to winning the first stage of the Tour de France… I didn’t imagine it,” he said after the race.

Starting on a less sodden road, Lampaert deprived his compatriot Wout van Aert of the hoped-for yellow jersey, within 5 seconds. He then waited for the arrival of the last 60 riders to be certain of this prestigious success, his first in the Tour, which this 31-year-old son of farmers is competing for only the third time.

The Flamand, two-time Belgian time trial champion, has not raced the Grande Boucle since 2018 although he is one of the basic men of the Quick-Step formation, especially in the classics ( third in Paris-Roubaix 2019).

All the teams were faced with the puzzle of the weather. Because the rain stopped during the race, contrary to the forecasts which had justified the presence of the favorites in the first half of the table and established, in doing so, a form of equity.

Behind Lampaert and van Aert, who congratulated him on leaving the finish area, Pogacar took third place in the stage and did better than all his opponents for the general classification. The Dane Jonas Vingegaard, applauded by the crowd who came en masse for this unprecedented start, dropped 8 seconds to the outgoing winner, the Slovenian Primoz Roglic one second more.

Concentrated to the extreme for his part, van Aert negotiated the bends of the route as well as possible visiting the tourist sites of the Danish capital. Starting a minute after the Italian Filippo Ganna, he improved the time of the world time trial champion by more than five seconds, delayed by a slow puncture in the rear wheel in the last kilometers.

Although he was very close to the yellow jersey, no doubt within his reach in the coming days, van Aert however failed to continue his series of successes in the Tour since he had dominated the last two stages of the edition. 2021, the Libourne time trial (30.8 km) then the Champs-Élysées sprint in Paris.

His roster placed three runners in the top eight. Without a fall, Christophe Laporte, credited with a hot time at halfway (3 seconds ahead of van Aert), could have further enriched the auspicious picture at the start of a hard, tricky first week. , risky.

For the climbers, the outlay in this time trial with changing conditions is significant without being prohibitive. The lowest ranked of them, Australian Ben O’Connor (4th in the 2021 Tour), lost 54 seconds to Pogacar, Spaniard Enric Mas 49 seconds, Frenchman Romain Bardet 38 seconds.

From the top trio of the Ineos team, the Briton Adam Yates (pointed 16 seconds from Pogacar) did better than the Colombian Daniel Martinez and especially the Welshman Geraint Thomas.

“I’ve never cornered so badly, I’m almost ashamed of it!” “, Lamented the winner of the 2018 Tour, who however only dropped 18 seconds in the Slovenian. “Fortunately the legs are turning well. I felt I had power. »

The rest therefore promises with a long-awaited final, Saturday, in the second stage which ends with the passage through the Great Belt, the arm of the sea which separates two large islands of Denmark, to reach Nyborg. The race, on a course exposed to the wind, is once again dependent on the weather, one of the keys to cycling, especially in the flat stages.