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Tour de France: Bardet wins first stage of the 111th Tour – Cavendish suffers

Tour de France: Bardet wins first stage of the 111th Tour – Cavendish suffers
Tour de France: Bardet wins first stage of the 111th Tour – Cavendish suffers

The start of the Tour is the first test of strength. The Frenchman Romain Bardet, colleague of John Degenkolb, wins the stage. The German professional is overjoyed after his team’s double success.

The German professional cyclist John Degenkolb reacted with “goose bumps” to the double success of his colleagues at the start of the Tour de France. At the first start of the Tour de France in Italy, Romain Bardet secured the French day’s victory, while his young colleague Frank van den Broek crossed the finish line in second place in the seaside resort of Rimini. “Incredible,” said Degenkolb after the 206 demanding kilometers. “I have never been so emotional about a victory that I did not achieve myself,” added the 35-year-old.

Bardet and the Dutchman van den Broek crossed the finish line together beaming with joy at the start of the 111th Tour. Both came in as breakaway riders just a few seconds ahead of the main field. While Bardet is riding his last Tour, van den Broek was successful in his Tour debut.

The visibly relieved young rider could hardly comprehend the Dutch racing team’s surprising success. “It’s really unbelievable,” said van den Broek. “I have no words for it.” Bardet took over the yellow jersey of the overall leader. The 33-year-old took his fourth Tour stage win. Belgian Wout van Aert came in third.

Mark Cavedish had little reason to be happy, as he had to seriously question his big goal of winning another stage during the race to set the record. The 39-year-old veteran was completely exhausted early in the race on Saturday, crossing the finish line 39 minutes after Bardet. The time limit was 49 minutes. “It was so hot, so hot,” complained Cavendish.

Pogacar fifth

The favorites, including two-time Giro winner Tadej Pogacar and defending champion Jonas Vingegaard, who recently returned from injury, held back, and the first big showdown may take place on Sunday. Pogacar finished fifth, Vingegaard a little later in 16th place. Some observers expected an early attack from the Slovenian Pogacar. “It’s not that time today. But I think Sunday or the stage on Tuesday will be super tough for the favorites,” he said before the start of the stage.

The 25-year-old Giro winner is considered a big favorite for the Tour de France title and could triumph in both grand tours in one year for the first time since Marco Pantani 26 years ago. Vingegaard had not competed in a race since his serious injury in April. “Of course he didn’t have the optimal preparation. But we are ready to fight and we are taking it day by day,” said Vingegaard’s sports director Grischa Niermann on Eurosport.

High temperatures take their toll on drivers

The first of a total of 21 sections was not only challenging because of the 3,600 meters of elevation. The high temperatures sapped the riders’ strength. Temperatures of up to 38 degrees were measured on the route after the start in Florence.

Sprint star Cavendish in particular suffered from the conditions during his 15th Tour participation. Shortly before the Col de Valico Tre Faggi, the first of a total of seven climbs of the day, he even had to vomit. His teammates repeatedly sprayed water on his neck. Cavendish’s Italian colleague Michele Gazzoli had to abandon the race 89 kilometers from the finish. Cavendish actually wants to secure the sole record for the most stage wins in the Tour. He currently holds the best number with 34 stage victories together with Belgian Eddy Merckx.

After falling with a spectator: Hirt breaks off parts of his tooth

However, there were also problems of a different kind: The Tour got off to a painful start for the Czech cyclist Jan Hirt. Shortly before the start of the stage in Florence, he collided with a spectator. A spokesperson for the Soudal-Quickstep team confirmed this when asked by the German Press Agency, but was unable to provide any details. Hirt’s two teeth were damaged.

On the second day of the tour, the pros will start in Cesenatico on Sunday. The city is the birthplace of the Tour de France winner Marco Pantani, who died in 2004. The stage ends in Bologna after 199.2 kilometers and a few short but tough climbs. A breakaway rider with all-round qualities could win there. There may also be a first showdown between the favorites.

Source: Stern

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