Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

New Zealand cyclist wins stage on Tour de France

New Zealand cyclist wins stage on Tour de France

Chris Froome tumbled off the road into a grassy field in the opening stage of the Tour de France on Saturday, immediately putting his pursuit of a record-tying fifth title in peril.

"In the last two kilometres I said "go" because I had good legs. We're on track but there's still so much to go through".

Richard Moore, Lionel Birnie and François Thomazeau discuss the stage and Peter Sagan's first Tour stage win since his disqualification from last year's race.

With the likes of Sagan, Kittel and Mark Cavendish - who was not even in contention on day one - all coming to the latter stages of their career, a new kid on the block looks ready to take over.

Two-time runner-up Nairo Quintana is 1:31 back after he lost time following the puncture of both his tires near the end of Stage 1.

Froome and his Sky team-mates were also left behind but they did at least stay upright, 24 hours after Froome lost 51 seconds to most of his general classification rivals thanks to a tumble in the final six kilometres. But as I say, that's bike racing.

"We rode a decent time trial and even if we still lost a lot of time I'm relieved", said Bardet. "That's the nature of the game".

Quick-Step Floors nicked third place in a time of 38:53, while Adam Yates' Mitchelton-Scott team were a further two seconds behind before some much larger time gaps further down the order.

Among the big losers today were Nairo Quintana, whose Movistar team came home 53 seconds down on BMC Racing, Bahrain-Merida with 2014 Tour de France victor Vincenzo Nibali, 1 minute and 6 seconds down, and Romain Bardet's AG2R-La Mondiale, who came home 1 minute 15 seconds behind the day's victor.

Novak Djokovic explains Wimbledon umpire argument: ‘It’s not fair!’
The 12-time major victor prevailed despite picking up two code violations and accusing umpire Carlos Ramos of "double standards". The 2011, 2014 and 2015 champion was clearly unsettled by the dispute, quickly surrendering the set.

Despite the negative press around him and Team Sky, he is only thinking positive thoughts.

"We rode out of our skin and super smooth and with the horsepower that we have did a great ride", the Irishman said.

Dan Martin wants to build on his sixth place in the 2017 Tour de France, but admits that the team time trial could make things more hard in 2018.

Froome was left 55 seconds behind in the overall standings with another week of nervy rolling stages before hitting the Alps.

Midway around the course first Luke Rowe and then Wout Poels dropped off the back of their train, and it perhaps proved key as BMC carried more speed through the second half of the course. "We didn't plan where or whatever but we knew the time was taken on the fourth guy over the line". It's still a long way to Paris but it's great to win a stage at the Tour and we will enjoy this moment.

Fernando Gaviria will be the first rider to don the yellow jersey at this year's Tour de France after winning the first stage, from Noirmoutier-en-l'ile to Fontenay-le-Comte in western France, on Saturday. That would have been a nice bonus on top. "It just shows that we are here, too, and let's get it on". "Close but not quite quick enough".

His Etixx Quick-Step team-mates provided a ideal lead-out train and, despite the presence of sprinting royalty, Gaviria pulled away to become the first debutant to win the opening stage of the Tour in 14 years.

"A team time trial is always a something special when the whole team makes efforts for the same goal", Van Avermaet said.

"We're happy, we had the yellow and that's part of history".

Like this: