Mike Teunissen, the first Dutchman to lead the Tour de France for 30 years after winning yesterday's opening stage in Brussels, remains in the yellow jersey after his Jumbo-Visma team won the Stage 2 team time trial in the Belgian capital today. The Dutch team, the final one out of the course, was the only one to go quicker than the first team to tackle the 27.6-kilometre route - Team Ineos, whose Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal can be satisfied with having taking time from rivals for the overall, of up to a minute in some cases.
Team Ineos, bottom of the team standings following yesterday’s opening stage, were first down the ramp outside the Belgian capital’s Palais Royale and onto what was a fast course, defending champion Thomas leading the way before handing over to Bernal at the first change.
Out shortly afterwards were Astana, whose Jakob Fuglsang, third favourite for the overall victory, who crashed heavily on yesterday’s opening stage and whose resulting injury to his right knee was a particular source of concern.
At the first time check, taken with 13.2 kilometres ridden, Team Ineos, who went through in 13 minutes 59 seconds, had an advantage of 14 seconds over Astana, but the Kazakh outfit’s riders, looking after their injured team leader, lose just 6 more seconds on the second half of the course.
Thomas had led Team Ineos home, the team’s fourth rider, from who the time is taken, crossing the line outside a time of 29 minutes 18 seconds, at an average speed of 56 kilometres an hour.
The Team Ineos pairing of Thomas and Bernal, and Astana’s Fuglsang weren’t the only leading overall contenders out in the course early, with others including the teams with the two big French hopes to bring the yellow jersey home in its centenary year.
The first of those was Groupama-FDJ, led by Thibaut Pinot, who despite losing a rider to a crash with the finish line in sight, put in a strong performance to finish 11 seconds behind Team Ineos.
Romain Bardet of AG2R-La Mondiale fared less well, however, shipping 59 seconds to Thomas and Bernal, with Trek Segafredo’s Richie Porte also losing almost a minute to the Team Ineos pair.
Katusha-Alpecin were the first outfit to go faster than Team Ineos at the first time check, bettering them by 3 seconds, but finished 5 seconds slower.
The third-last team on the course, Deceuninck-Quick Step, pushed Team Ineos very hard but crossed the line 1 second down.
By that time, however, it was clear that Jumbo-Visma were having a storming ride, the Dutch team going on to win the stage by a convincing margin of 20 seconds, and besides consolidating Teunissen’s lead in the overall standings also got Wout van Aert into the best young rider’s white jersey.
Of the overall contenders, Jumbo-Visma's Steven Kruijswijk - fifth last year - had the best days, taking at least 20 seconds off his rivals, and he now lies third overall behind his team mates Teunissen and van Aert.
Race leader Mike Teunissen
Today, everything came together. You can see that everything is possible if you are in a flow. We maintained our speed and everyone worked very well. The boys were all very strong.
Our big goal was to win the team time trial. We succeeded and that is simply amazing. The fact that I won yesterday was very nice, but winning as a team is actually even better. We haven’t won here with eight, but with about one hundred people.
This is the reward for all the hard work that we put into this the past few weeks, months and even years, with the right people in the right positions. Holding on to the yellow is a nice bonus. Now I can enjoy the yellow jersey for a whole day tomorrow.
Steven Kruijswijk, third overall
I was not focused on my position in the GC today. The fact that I am gaining time on my competitors here is a nice bonus.
We came here to win the team time trial and we succeeded in that. Wout, Mike and Tony [Martin] were the team’s engines. All went well today, the pace was good and everyone did their job. We went really fast.
We have started the Tour well and hopefully we can keep this flow in the coming days and weeks to achieve even more.
Defending champion Geraint Thomas, now eighth overall
It was quite good going off first as your judgment on how the ride went isn’t skewed by the result, but I felt it was good.
Looking at GC, it’s a good performance, but obviously we wanted to win. I think 20 seconds [to Jumbo-Visma] is a big enough gap to know a few mistakes didn’t cost us the stage win. It was a positive day for sure.
I have no injury issues, I was going pretty slow when I hit the barriers yesterday - I'm absolutely fine.
Team Ineos colleague Egan Bernal, seventh overall
I think we did a really good TTT and it was really nice to be in the hot seat. We took some time on some good GC riders today so it was perfect for us. I felt really good in the stage - the feeling was better than last year in the TTT. I can be happy with that because I'm not a specialist and I was doing the TT with some strong guys. It was difficult but I felt good.
I'm happy to be through these first two stages. In a Grand Tour you have to go day by day. I'm already thinking about tomorrow.
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.