Oh my goodness, there’s never a dull day on this edition of the Tour de France! First, the break of the day made it to the line. Matteo Trentin produced a fabulous bare-chested, tongue-lolling solo raid to give Mitchelton-Scott their fourth victory. The Italian rouleur timed his attack from a winnowed super-break to perfection, keeping his gap ahead of Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-QuickStep) all the way into Gap. Asgreen’s teammate, Julian Alaphilippe, stays in yellow for another stage. Back in the peloton, things were relaxed until tempers frayed between Team Ineos’ Luke Rowe and Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma) resulting in both their expulsions from the race. With the Alps looming who knows how crucial this could be?
Gent-Wevelgem 2019 went right down to the wire this year – no long solo breakaways as in previous years, but one big bunch sprint, with Alexander Kristoff the strongest at the end of a fatiguing race. The Norwegian launched early and while other more fancied names found themselves either out of position or without that final kick into the headwind, he held his power to sail clear over the line for a victory that took many by surprise. It was classic Kristoff! John Degenkolb and Oliver Naesen joined him on the podium for second and third respectively.
Our second day into the Belgian classics and it was another nail-biting finish. Defending champion Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) was the one who forced the final selection by taking a flier off the front at 30km out, to be joined by Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Matteo Trentin (Quickstep Floors), Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) and Luke Rowe (Sky). A lot of fun and games once the quintet passed under the flamme rouge kept it exciting, until Sagan put the hammer down to leave the rest in his wake for his first KBK victory. Stuyven roared in second and Rowe completed the final podium.