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On the live blog: Full coverage from today's Tour de France opener, more on our exclusive about Lightweight wheels being used by Team Ineos, Cav's lovely gesture as he goes for a ride with young fan + more

All the news from the site and beyond as the Tour de France gets under way in Brussels
06 July 2019, 15:58
All it takes is an inch...

Mike Teunissen won a dramatic, surprising and powerful sprint to take the yellow jersey, and his biggest career win to date. 

The Jumbo Visma rider was the lead out man for Dylan Groenewegen but when his leader crashed he made the decision to push on and go for the victory himself. 

He has previously finished 2nd at Dwars Door Vlaanderen and 7th at Paris-Roubaix but this victory will be something else for the 26-year-old Dutch rider. 

Michael Matthews (Sunweb) found himself on the front with around 250m to go and was forced to make his effort. 

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) sprinted off his wheel with Sonny Cobrelli (Bahrain-Merida) and Teunissen in pursuit. 

In the end Teunissen had the strength to come around Sagan just as the Bora-Hansgrohe rider was beginning to fade.

Indeed Ned Boulting and David Millar were so shocked they intially thought it was Teunissens team mate Wout Van Aert who had won the stage. It was only once the photo finish had been confirmed that they realised it was the lesser known rider that had taken the opening stage of the 2019 Tour de France in a brilliant, opportunistic dash for the line. 

06 July 2019, 15:50
Geraint Thomas fine to continue despite a classic "'G' tumble"

Rumours were swirling after iGeraint Thomas took a tumble in the aftermath of Dylan Groenewegen's crash with 1.4km to go. 

 

Although it looked fairly innocuous in the initial footage, until it was confirmed that Thomas was back on the bus safe and sound, fears of possible injuries sustained were circulating. 

 

His former team mate and good friend Peter Kennaugh seemed to realise everything was fine straight away as he called the crash "just a 'G' tumble".

 

And indeed the Ineos man has come out to reassure everyone that he was fine and he basically "toppled over" with his bike taking most of the damage.

 

06 July 2019, 15:45
Fulgsang crashes hard but manages to chase back on

And it wasn't just stage contenders affected by the usual nervousness and twitchy legs of the opening day, the GC contenders also hit the ground. 

 

Jakob Fulgsang, riding for Astana, came down hard with 18km to go. At first he looked ok to continue with just superficial wounds. However, he hit his head hard at it appeared as though his glasses had smashed cutting his eyebrow. 

With the team time trial tomorrow a big day for the GC boys, it will be interesting to see how Fulgsang recovers. 

06 July 2019, 15:35
Footage of the crash which took down stage contender Dylan Groenewegen

In a chaotic finale through the wide open streets of Brussels Team Jumbo-visma's sprinter Dylan Groenewegen crashed with just 1.4km to go.... 

06 July 2019, 14:03
Tour de France bingo to keep you entertained

Some stages of the Tour just aren't as good as others. That's a fact. So what can you do to keep yourself entertained during those long, days watching others in the saddle? Play Tour de France bingo of course! 

06 July 2019, 13:27

More details have come to light of the heartwarming gesture by Mark Cavendish who, learning that a young fan was upset that his favourite rider hadn’t been selected for the Tour de France by his Dimension Data team, travelled to Nottinghamshire to go for a ride with him (scroll down for our earlier story).

Mark Cavendish and Evan llewellyn.JPG

Five-year-old Evan Llewellyn’s mother Louise had tweeted her son’s response to Cavendish not being included in the squad, quoting her son as saying: “It’s ok Cav because I still want to ride my bike with you.”

Cavendish and his wife Peta subsequently travelled to Nottinghamshire, where the former world champion went for a ride with the little lad, both of them sporting Dimension Data kit.

Louise said: “Mark said it broke his heart to see Evan so upset. They rode round our village chatting away, Evan took Mark past his school and told him all about how he rides his bike!”

She added: “It was lovely to see them both smiling and enjoying their ride.

“We don’t know how to thank them both, memories from yesterday will stay with Evan forever.”

Evan and his family have also been invited by Tour de France organisers ASO to the Official Tour de France Fan Park in the Chilterns on Sunday 14 July – Bastille Day, no less – which coincides with the official sportive, L’Etape UK, and where the youngster will get the chance to meet Team Ineos riders Chris Lawless and Owain Doull.

06 July 2019, 12:39
The Special '1'
06 July 2019, 12:35
Eddy! Eddy! Eddy!
06 July 2019, 11:58
Bradley Wiggins gives us the history behind some of Eddy Merckx Yellow Jersey's

Brad Wiggins is a stylish man, mostly, and his love for cycling's aesthetic history is well known.

Here, he talks us through some of Eddy Merckx yellow jerseys, giving a little bit of insight into what it takes to win the most coveted prize in cycling. 

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of Eddy Merckx’s first Grand Tour win.

Up until the end of his career, this dedicated and talented cyclist, nicknamed “le Cannibale”, brought home countless victories, riding in all weather conditions and on all terrains.

Merckx rode in the Tour de France seven times, achieving 5 wins and 34 stage wins. In 1969, he wore the Yellow Jersey for the very first time in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, right near his family’s grocery store. 

This year the race will ride past the cycling icon's house twice as they enjoy a summer start in the Flanders region.

 

06 July 2019, 11:03
Team Ineos confirms use of two wheel brands at Tour de France

We've just this minute had a reply from Team Ineos about our spotting of Lightweight wheels on some bikes a couple of days before the Tour de France Grand Depart. 

"We can confirm we will use wheels from two brands during this year’s Tour. Shimano remains our main supplier and they are a valued partner for Team INEOS."

So there we go, Team Ineos will likely be using the Lightweight wheels in the big mountain stages and the regular Shimano Dura-Ace C60 wheels for all other stages. 

06 July 2019, 10:55
Did Team Ineos buy their new Lightweight wheels?

Interesting...

06 July 2019, 10:30
Spotted: Team Ineos on Lightweight wheels

While snooping around the team trucks in Brussels before the Tour de France got underway, we spotted a few Team Ineos riders on very expensive Lightweight wheels.

The team normally rides Shimano Dura-Ace wheels but we're speculating that the tough mountain stages of this year's race have led the team to make some special equipment changes to provide a marginal gain.

team ineos riding2.JPG

Lightweight is a German company famous for making extremely light all-carbon wheels with a price tag to match, we're talking £3-4 here folks, so not a cheap investment at all. We don't know what the deal is between Ineos and Lightweight if there even is one. 

Read our full article with more details right here.

06 July 2019, 10:58
Think disc brakes are heavy?
06 July 2019, 10:16
Fans start Tour de France in the right way

If we learned anything from Chris Froome's incredible solo victory on the Colle delle Finestre in the Giro d'Italia last year it was that hydration is key. 

These guys are just being prepared...

 

06 July 2019, 09:27
Thomas and Brailsford share final thoughts ahead of Grand Depart

Defending champion Geraint Thomas and Team Ineos supremo Sir Dave Brailsford have been sharing their final thoughts ahead of the Tour de France starting in Brussels today.

Here’s what they had to say at yesterday’s press conference.

Brailsford: "We’re still in the infancy of this exciting new partnership with Jim Ratcliffe and Ineos, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to be heading into this Tour with them.

"Here we are, starting this edition of the Tour de France as Team Ineos, it’s an amazing feeling really - and it would be remiss of me not to thank Jim and his team.

"We want to help pay them back over this race.

"We’ve got a great team this year - of course we lost Chris [Froome], which was a big disappointment.

"But we’ve got two great leaders and a team packed full of Tour experience, which is vitally important in this race.

"With the group of guys we’ve got here, you couldn’t want for a better team. It’s an extremely exciting time for us and we’re all really looking forward to the race getting underway now."

Geraint Thomas in yellow, Tour de France 2018 (picture courtesy Anne Martin).JPG

Thomas: "I feel in good shape. Of course the crash [at the Tour de Suisse] was a setback but I didn’t lose any training days and I’m feeling good on the eve of the race.

"There's no lasting damage at all. Obviously, it was disappointing to hit my head. That was the reason I couldn't carry on but I've still done some good training and I don't think it's affected me too much

"We’re excited heading into the race. It’s always a great occasion and we feel we’re ready for another strong three weeks.

"Myself and Egan [Bernal] are co-leaders and we’re excited about the challenge that lies ahead of us.

"Egan is an honest and good guy, and as long as we communicate well and are open with each other, like Froomey and I were last year, then it can work just as well. Obviously it will be a huge advantage to have two of us there in the final stages.

"I don't know about being favourite. That's for everyone else to talk about. I can't bet on the races anyway, so the odds don't really matter to me. I feel in a good place and I'm looking forward to the race, and I just want to get going now."

06 July 2019, 09:17
"I knew a bike ride would cheer us both up" - Cav takes young fan upset at his hero's Tour de France omission for a spin

Here’s a heartwarming story. A lot of people were upset when Mark Cavendish was omitted from Team Dimension Data’s Tour de France line-up earlier this week – but perhaps none more so than young fan Evan Llewellyn from Nottinghamshire whose mum Louise posted a picture of his reaction to Twitter, with the caption, “It’s okay Cav because I still want to ride my bike with you.”

What happened next is something the youngster will remember for the rest of his life. The former world champion and 30-time Tour de France stage winner took him up on his offer, with Louise posting pictures to Twitter of the pair out riding together.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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