Stage 2 of the 2019 Tour de France and it was a 27.6km team time trial from the Brussels Royal Palace to the Atomium. And TTT stages are not as predictable as one might think. Sure, you have the powerhouses of QuickStep, Ineos, CCC, a case to be made for Sunweb (especially if Tom Dumoulin were there) and EF and the teams who, dear God, just want to get through it with their dignity. I think we know who those are … And with Ineos in the hot seat all day (they were first off the ramp), it started to look like the script would be played out as expected, the only question mark was who on the team would wear yellow. But that was before the last team rode down the ramp and went hell for leather from the start to the finish.
Team of the Race
It was another sterling day for the boys in yellow and black. With four-time world champion time triallist Tony Martin, the current Belgian national TT champion Wout Van Aert (who also took the ITT stage in this year’s Dauphine) and Mike Teunissen in yellow who was ready to ride out of his skinsuit, Jumbo-Visma had the motivation and the skills to give Ineos a run for their money.
They started as they meant to finish, shedding the limping gazelles of the team (including Dylan Groenewegen, who probably was still suffering from his hard crash yesterday) and smashing the intermediate times set by Katusha. Once under the flamme rouge, they had nearly a minute in hand to get to the finish line – and with the silent screams on their faces as they continued to ride hard, they made a mockery of Ineos’s time by 20 seconds to take the stage and the possibility of staying in yellow for some days to come.
Surprises (good and bad)
One team that gave us all a good surprise was Groupama-FDJ. Not known as stellar team time triallists, FDJ gave the French public (and a few members of the VeloVoices crew) continued hope that this just might be Thibaut Pinot‘s year to have his best ever result …
There was big disappointment in the Trek-Segafredo camp. Once a team who was always at the sharp end of TTTs (okay, they did have Fabian Cancellara), in the past couple years they’ve been trying to find their form. They certainly didn’t find it today and with the refreshing honesty that their Twitter account has been showing in the past year, they didn’t mince their words or hide their disappointment. While only the most diehard of fans would think that Richie Porte could make a real tilt at the title this year, we do hope that the team is able to put together an exciting stage win or two to jumpstart their mojo.
Sighs of relief
No one wants to see a GC contender drop out of contention in the first weekend of a grand tour so a great many of our Twitter followers were holding their breath to see how Astana was going to fare today. In particular, how their star rider Jakob Fuglsang was going to perform considering his heavy crash yesterday, which resulted in a question mark over his condition. However, much to the relief of our Midge, Fuglsang was able to contribute to the team’s efforts and they came in a respectable 10th place today. As the third team out on the course, it meant that Fuglsang was able to get back to the hotel for rest and recuperation early in the afternoon. Let’s hope he can put the crash behind him soon and get back into peak form for the mountains.
Stage Results – Top 5
1 Jumbo-Visma 28:57
2 Team Ineos +0:20
3 Deceuninck-QuickStep +0:21
4 Team Sunweb +0:26
5 Team Katusha-Alpecin +0:26
General Classification – Top 10
1 Mike Teunissen (Team Jumbo-Visma)
2 Wout Van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) +0:10
3 Steven Kruijswijk (Team Jumbo-Visma) same time
4 Tony Martin (Team Jumbo-Visma) s/t
5 George Bennett (Team Jumbo-Visma) s/t
6 Gianni Moscon (Team Ineos) +0:30
7 Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) same time
8 Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) s/t
9 Dylan Van Baarle (Team Ineos) s/t
10 Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +0:31
All the jerseys
Maillot Jaune: Mike Teunissen (Team Jumbo-Visma)
Maillot Vert: Mike Teunissen (Team Jumbo-Visma)
Maillot Blanc: Wout Van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma)
King of the Mountains: Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team)
For the full stage review, go to cyclingnews
Header image: Jumbo team hug; Eurovision screengrab