Inevitably, when selling “the northernmost start in the history of the Tour de France”, the sun is not guaranteed by the organization. Fervor, yes. In Copenhagen, Friday 1er July, bad weather did not deter the Danes from attending the 13.2 kilometer time trial in large numbers along the wide avenues of their capital.
On paper, this time won by the Belgian Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step) was not advertised as too technical, apart from a tight bend to come and greet the statue of the Little Mermaid and a very short cobblestone passage in front of the royal palace.
But, in town, when the rain comes to the party, any white line becomes a threat of falling. The favorites in the general classification and the stage victory had anticipated the threat by starting early. A bet on the weather more or less successful. The first yellow jersey of this 2022 edition started a little later, at 5.44 p.m., a little after the worst of the downpour.
Happy as a “Flahute” in the rain
The smile is not the first thing that strikes at Yves Lampaert. The boy embodies the pure-blooded Flemish. More like leeks, like the ones he harvested in his parents’ fields. The first yellow jersey of the Tour 2022 is a tough guy, a wind and cobblestone lover. In short, the typical “Flahute” with cold humor, especially understandable for those who master this Dutch-Flemish dialect specific to the inhabitants of their region of Ingelmunster.
On arrival, the Quick-Step runner made his audience laugh, and in French. “I beat the great runner Wout van Aert, but I’m still the former Belgian time trial champion [en 2021] », he says when he sees his compatriot coming to greet him. Despite the mask, we almost guessed a smile from his dolphin. Van Aert knows Lampaert’s pedigree. In Belgium, a double winner of Through Flanders is something to be respected.
📸 The beautiful image, Wout van Aert comes to congratulate his compatriot Yves Lampaert who has just beaten his best time… https://t.co/si69KSTLfK
The country may have expected better from him. At 31, Lampaert has shown his limits on the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix is still resisting him (third in 2019, fifth in 2021), despite obvious predispositions. His season almost came to an end a few kilometers from the velodrome. A too advanced spectator and Lampaert performs a sun in the Willems sector, before falling on your back like a judoka. The podium had flown away, but the young dad was already happy to hug his very young son, Alois.
He was often presented as the favorite son of Patrick Lefevere. “He is my rider, he will never leave our team”, the manager of the Quick-Step once said to dismiss the interest of the Trek. Still, Lampaert is nearing the end of his contract and there was no indication whether Lefevere would deliver on his promise after a disappointing Classics campaign.
But that was before drying out all the best riders on the wet roads of Copenhagen. When he understood that victory was assured, we even saw the “Flahute” of the fields wipe away a few tears. “This morning, I thought that a top 10 would already be good, I’m a good rider, but there are all the best in the world here, he confided, moved, at the microphone of France Télévisions. I am yellow jersey, my career is already successful. »
Stefan Bissegger, fall and relapse
On “four, five turns” route, Benjamin Thomas (Cofidis, 23ethe first Frenchman) said to himself: “Guys like [Mathieu] Van der Poel and [Stefan] Bissegger will enjoy themselves. » On arrival, for the second, it was rather grimace soup. The Swiss may have entrusted to be “fan” of the new candy pink jersey with two neon yellow dinosaurs from his EF Education-EasyPost team, he hoped to exchange it for a yellow tunic.
Designated as one of the favorites for this inaugural time trial, the Thurgovian chose to start among the first runners, in eighth position, when rain was announced for the end of the afternoon. Failed bet: the track specialist covered the 13.2 kilometers on a wet road… And his dream turned into a nightmare. Instead of being the first leader of the Tour, Bisseger inaugurated the fall section.
😬 Stefan Bissegger will not be the first yellow jersey of the Tour de France 2022: the Swiss fell… twice at… https://t.co/fPIEoy3MOy
Twice: in a tight turn to the right, then again a few meters further on. His teammate Neilson Powless saw the first gadin before leaving the bus to take the start. The American summarizes, pragmatically: “He had to give everything if he wanted to win. That’s what he did: he gambled. It just wasn’t his day. » No yellow then, but a few blue ones.
Christophe Laporte, cursed turn
When Christophe Laporte lights up green at the intermediate point, the hope of seeing a Frenchman put on the yellow jersey crosses people’s minds. A hope quickly evaporated. A few hectometres further on, the rider of the Jumbo-Visma made a mistake in a bend. A fall without consequence, except chronometric. “In the headset, I was told that I had the best time, it doesn’t change much to know it, it was just motivating”, told France Télévisions the one who was driving faster than its leaders Wout van Aert and Primoz Roglic after 6.6 kilometers.
At ease in short times, the former mountain biker was trying to understand this low-speed slide not far from the Little Mermaid. “I didn’t really think I was taking any risks, I was surprised when I arrived in the park. I pedaled a little too much before the turn, I made a mistake. It’s my fault. » But no time to ruminate. His training relies above all on his talents as a roller-sprinter to protect a Roglic in a 2e stage open to all winds and all edges.
Tadej Pogacar passes between the drops
And during this time, discreetly, the double title holder achieved a new feat. We know that the Slovenian is never happier than on a rainy day. We also know that with him there is no certainty… So, what does it matter if the route of this time trial was sold as too flat for him to compete with the exercise specialists. Cautious in the turns but author of incredible raises on the straights, the leader of UAE Emirates finished third, just ahead of the reigning world champion, Filippo Ganna.
His two main rivals in the general classification, Jonas Vingegaard and Primoz Roglic, are 8 and 9 seconds behind. So, yes, we are starting to know the phenomenon, after all he has not lost a stage race since the Tour of the Basque Country 2021. “I am confident, satisfied with my performance, even if it was tense, tight, reacted the person concerned. For me, this is one of the best starts of the Tour de France. »