Mike Teunissen Wins Tour de France Stage 1 in Surprise Photo Finish
- Mike Teunissen won Stage 1 of the Tour de France by mere centimetres over Peter Sagan on Saturday.
- It’s the first time a Dutchman has earned the yellow jersey since 1989.
- Sagan nabbed the sprinter’s green jersey while Greg Van Avermaet took the first polka dot jersey over two categorised climbs.
The 2019 Tour de France began with an upset on Saturday as Mike Teunissen won a chaotic opening stage in Brussels, Belgium, by mere centimetres.
After a crash inside the final kilometer blew the bunch sprint wide open, the 26-year-old Dutchman fought his way to the front and narrowly beat Peter Sagan in a photo finish at the line. Sagan, who also earned the Tour’s first green jersey in the Points Classification, placed second, while Caleb Ewan finished just behind them in third.
Though all three finished with a time of 4:22:47, Teunissen leads Sagan and Ewan by 4 and 6 seconds, respectively, due to time bonuses awarded at the line.
“I never thought I could beat the sprinters, but in the end I got it,” Teunissen said after the stage. “I started cycling with these kind of dreams. It’s a dream come true. I’ll remember this day for a long, long time.”
Teunissen, of Jumbo–Visma, will now wear the first yellow jersey of the race. That makes him the first Dutchman to lead the Tour’s overall field since Erik Breukink in 1989. The 24-year-old Ewan, an Australian rookie, took the white jersey in the Best Young Rider competition.
View this post on Instagram
Things didn’t go so well for pre-stage favourite and fellow Jumbo–Visma rider Dylan Groenewegen, who went down in a big group crash near the end of the course. (Returning champion Geraint Thomas also got caught in the fray.) An earlier crash about 18K from the end took down General Classification hopeful Jakob Fuglsang, who was seen later riding with a bloody face. All of the overall contenders remounted and finished the stage without losing any time, however, so it’s too early to say if the crashes will have any effect on the eventual outcome.
“He’s had three stitches to the eyebrow and he needs an x-ray to check out his knee,” Astana team director Alexandre Vinokourov said of Fuglsang.“He looks okay but it’s never a good thing to fall heavily like that.”
Greg Van Avermaet, meanwhile, took the Tour’s first polka dot jersey. Riding on his home turf, the Belgian prevailed in an intense struggle on the Mur de Grammont, a 7.8 percent-gradient climb often featured in the Flanders one-day Classics. Van Avermaet lead the General Classification in the 2018 Tour de France between stages 3 and 10.
Half a million fans turned out as the race embarked in balmy sunshine from Brussels and did a 194.5K loop through the lush Belgian plains. The location for the Grand Départ was chosen to honor the 50th anniversary of Belgian legend Eddy Merckx’s first of five Tour de France victories.