Teunissen Shocks Sagan In Stage One Sprint

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Rank outsider Mike Teunissen won a chaotic opening stage of the Tour de France on Saturday after a collision in the final kilometer blew the bunch sprint wide open in Brussels.

Defending champion Geraint Thomas of Ineos was caught up in that late fall, caused by Teunissen's teammate sprinter Dylan Groenewegen, but the Welshman said he was unscathed back at his team bus.

"I'm fine. I gave myself enough space and avoided the actual crash but with the barriers there was nowhere to go," Thomas said of the late spill which caught up many of the race favourites.

"The main thing is that it didn't do any damage - the bike took the hit and I just toppled over," said the unflappable 2018 champion.

The 26-year-old Jumbo-Visma suprise winner Teunissen becomes the first yellow-jersey holder on the 2019 Tour and the first Dutchman to lead the race since Erik Breukink 30 years ago.

He also becomes the 267th ever yellow jersey wearer on the centenary of the introduction of the overall leader's jersey.

"Now I have this lovely jersey and no-one can ever take it away from me," said the ecstatic winner.

"I started cycling with these kind of dreams. It's a dream come true. I'll remember this day for a long, long time."

"Eddy (Merckx) told me it was a good, clear win, I can't tell you how much that meant to me," he said after the Belgian legend helped him on with the jersey.


Fuglsang Shocked And Bloodied

Teunissen edged Peter Sagan by a few centimetres on a slightly uphill sprint in a photo finish at the winning line, the Slovak will wear the green sprint points jersey Sunday after he won the early intermediate sprint leaving him and Teunnissen on 50pts each.

Australian rookie Caleb Ewan took the young rider's white jersey after staying clear of the crash and finishing third.

"I actually got caught right behind the crash, my legs were fine so it's a shame," said the 24-year-old Ewan on his debut Tour.

The race was marked by another fall ahead of Groenewegen's, who many tipped for the stage win, which came as the tension mounted a kilometre from home.

One of the Tour de France overall favourites, Denmark's Jakob Fuglsang also crashed 18km from the finish but struggled back to the peloton looking shocked and bleeding from the head.

"He's had three stitches to the eyebrow and he needs an x-ray to check out his knee," Astana's team director Alexandre Vinokourov revealed.

"He looks okay but it's never a good thing to fall heavily like that, to win a Tour you need a bit of luck," said the former Tour rider.


Van Avermaet Bags Belgium A Jersey

Greg Van Avermaet claimed the first King of the Mountains polka dot jersey after winning an intense struggle on the 7.8 percent gradient Mur de Grammont climb at 45km, which often features in the Flanders one-day classics.

The 34-year-old Belgian Van Avermaet, on his golden Olympic champion bike, was in Saturday's early breakaway, from which he also came second on the day's other, lesser, Bosberg climb securing the polka dot jersey after just 50km.

The combativity award was won by 32-year-old Frenchman Stephane Rossetto, on his first Tour de France, after he launched a concerted solo bid from 70km out.

Half a million fans and well-wishers turned out as the race embarked in balmy sunshine from Brussels city centre, passing the Grand Place, the Royal Palace and the European Commission building before a 194.5km loop through the lush Belgian plains.

King Philippe of Belgium, national cycling hero Merckx and Prince Albert of Monaco were on hand to give the official start signal after setting off from the majestic Grand Place.

But one notable figure missing was Chris Froome, the four time Tour de France champion who is recovering from a horrific crash last month.

Sunday's stage is a technically tricky team time trial with a 27.2km Brussels city-centre route, with Deceuninck and Ineos the favourites.

Alaphalippe Survives Pyrenees As Yates Takes Stage 15

Julian Alaphilippe dug deep to keep the overall Tour de France lead on Sunday as Simon Yates captured his second stage of this year's race and defending champion Geraint Thomas kept his title hopes alive after a late surge.

'Over-heating' And 'Weak': Thomas' Tour Defense Wobbles In Pyrenees

Defending Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas put a brave face on his mountain-top wobble Saturday after slipping over two minutes behind overall leader Julian Alaphilippe, but refused to give up on his title bid.

Pinot Triumphs On Tourmalet, Alaphilippe Extends Lead

Thibaut Pinot conquered the Pyrenean summit of la Col du Tourmalet on Saturday with Julian Alaphilippe following him across the line to extend his overall Tour de France lead over defending champion Geraint Thomas, who admitted to feeling "weak".

Alaphalippe Stuns Favorites With Time Trial Victory

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Julian Alapahilippe extended his overall lead at the Tour de France on Friday winning the 27.2km individual time-trial at Pau on stage 13 to keep the yellow jersey and send his home fans wild.

Dennis Says Quitting Tour Was 'Right Decision'

Australian Rohan Dennis said his abrupt withdrawal from the Tour de France was the 'right decision' ahead of Friday's time-trial, the discipline at which he is world champion.

TDF: Post-Giro, Yates Finds Redemption In Tour Win

Britain's Simon Yates won stage 12 of the Tour de France on Thursday, beating two other survivors of a mass breakaway in the Pyrenees.

Rohan Dennis Abandons Tour Without Explanation

Rohan Dennis climbed off his bike early in Thursday's 12th stage of the Tour de France and neither the Australian nor his Bahrain Merida team would offer an explanation.

Chris Froome Awarded 2011 Vuelta A Espana Victory

Chris Froome was upgraded from second place and officially declared winner of the 2011 Vuelta a Espana after champion Juan Jose Cobo's doping ban was confirmed.

Jumbo-Visma Scrutinized For Use Of Ketones

The Tour de France is again embroiled in a debate over what cyclists put in their bodies after Dutch team Jumbo acknowledged they were using a dietary aid believed to boost stamina.

Ewan Gets Revenge On Groenewegen In Stage 11

Australian Caleb Ewan picked up his first Tour de France stage win in a mass sprint at Toulouse on Wednesday as Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe kept the overall lead.