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Several riders who headed to the Tour de France with major ambitions of overall success were left wondering if those aspirations were still in check after bruising encounters in the opening 13.2km time trial in Copenhagen.
The first priority for those concerned with GC hopes was to stay upright, and all the overall contenders could put big tick through that objective. However, as Yves Lampaert capped a huge upset to take the win the, overall standings began to open up behind him.
Tadej Pogačar got off to a perfect start, finishing third on the stage and keeping out of trouble. On the opposite side, and using Pogačar as our reference point, Thibaut Pinot (Groupama FDJ), who had declared that he was simply hunting stages in this year’s race, lost 1:14 to the defending champion, while four time winner Chris Froome dropped 1:09.
Rigoberto Uran, who had his Tour de Suisse cut short due to COVID-19 lost 1:07 to Pogacar, but the biggest surprise was perhaps Ben O’Connor, who was fourth in last year’s Tour de France but conceded 54 seconds after just one day of racing.
Enric Mas (Movistar) lost 49 seconds to Pogačar, as David Gaudu faired relatively better, only losing 43 seconds to the Slovenian.
There were mixed results for Ineos Grenadiers’ trio of leaders. Adam Yates came out on top and lost only 16 seconds, while Thomas lost a further two seconds after starting his time trial too conservatively. Dani Martinez completed the trio’s performance, losing 37 seconds to Pogačar.
Home favorite Jonas Vingegaard put in a solid ride to take seventh, eight seconds off Pogačar, while Jumbo-Visma’s other leader Primož Roglič finished a further second back.
None of the time gaps in the opening time trial were utterly detrimental to the GC candidates, except for maybe O’Connor given that his possible podium contention. Nevertheless, there is already daylight between some of the top pre-race favorites.
Pogačar is sitting in the best position possible, ahead of his rivals but not needing to control the race, while the Jumbo-Visma pair will be quietly pleased with their early performances.