Romain Bardet Holds On to Win Stage 1 of the 2024 Tour de France

It was a hot one on the opening stage of the Tour, but stage 1 produced plenty of drama.


We knew this year’s Tour de France opening stage would be challenging. But the hilly, Classics-style stage from Florence to Rimini proved to be a brutal Grand Depart to many riders. In a surprising finish, the breakaway came out on top as the peloton led a disorganised chase in hopes of setting up punchy riders like Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) and Wout van Aert (Visma-Lease a Bike). But it wasn’t their day.

The day belonged to Frenchman Romain Bardet of dsm–firmenich PostNL, who, with teammate Frank Van Den Broek’s assistance, beat the peloton to the line by just a few metres. Van Den Broek finished second, and Van Aert won the bunch sprint for third place.

“Because Frank was so strong, we could work together and go for it and he deserves this win as much as me. I don’t really have the words. It’s sport,” said Bardet in the post-race interview. “We had really hard conditions up there. It was hot, and then we had the wind in our faces, so it was a really extraordinary scenario that we were taking on.”

“It’s certainly one of the goals I set for my career [the yellow jersey]. I’ve been really close before. It’s been within touching distance, but I’ve never been able to do it,” Bardet added.

“Today, I just wasn’t sure that it was going to be able to happen. But I had a great teammate with me. And I think when I reflect on this victory, I will look back and remember just how special it was.”

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Notably, Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan) was dropped from the peloton as they reached the first climb. He was later joined by four teammates who nursed him for most of the stage, as well as sprinter Fabio Jakobsen (dsm–firmenich PostNL). This group finished over thirty-two minutes behind the peloton.

It is still unclear if Cavendish is suffering from an illness, heat effects, or simple pressure. Sport’s commentator and former pro Jens Voigt reached out to Astana’s directeur sportif Mark Renshaw for comment, but did not receive a clear answer as to why Cavendish felt unwell. Renshaw also seemed surprised.

Van Den Broek was part of the day’s first breakaway group, which also contained Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious). In the last third of the stage, after the breakaway lost most of its members, Bardet bridged to his teammate, a move later contested by Ben Healy (EF Education–EasyPost), who attempted to bridge to the duo unsuccessfully.

Other notable events included Jonas Vingegaard (Visma-Lease a Bike) sharing an emotional, teary moment during a pre-race interview, followed by a flat tyre and a swift bike change at the beginning of the race. Additionally, his teammate Wilco Kelderman seemed to have suffered a crash at some point during the stage, as he was later seen with road rash and bandages on his left side.

As for the General Classification contenders, other than Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) snatching a sneaky fourth place, there were no surprises, with all the other top favourites finishing in the peloton.

READ MORE ON: 2024 Tour de France pro racing

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