Kristoff wins wet and dangerous stage 1 of the 2020 Tour de France

Don’t miss out on the latest CyclingTips updates.

0
Jump To Comments

Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Team Emirates) won a wet, nasty opening stage of the 2020 Tour de France, avoiding the many crashes and navigating a hectic leadout to top world champion Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Cees Bol (Sunweb).

Kristoff’s victory is his fourth so far at the Tour in his career, and it propelled him into yellow for the first time in his eighth appearance in the race.

“It means a lot for my career and a stage win shows I can still be up there even at 33 years old and with four kids.” Kristoff said.

“The Tour could not have started any better and the yellow jersey is a bonus. I’m proud and humbled. Even though I guess I will lose the jersey tomorrow, I will enjoy the day riding in it.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2TD5hQAieI

Stage 1 of the 2020 Tour de France was defined by heavy rain, the dozen or so different crashes that came as a result, and then by a long truce engineered by Jumbo-Visma at the front of the peloton.

The road surface in Nice is notoriously slick, made worse by infrequent rain, slick paint in bike lanes and pedestrian crossings, and the buildup of grease and oil from cars. The slippery surface sent some riders, including Julian Alaphilippe, back to the team car to swap to bikes with lower tire pressure. It sent many others to the ground.

Most of the primary GC contenders got through the stage unscathed, but a handful of key domestiques went down. Pavel Sivakov, a key mountain domestique for Egan Bernal, hit the deck twice and was holding his wrist as he chatted with the medical car. He did finish the stage.

A group of three escaped straight out of the neutral zone. Michael Schar (CCC), Cyril Gautier (B&B Hotels – Vital Concept) and Fabien Grellier (Total-Direct Energie) set off early and fought it out for the day’s polka dot jersey points. Grellier came out on top, and will wear the climber’s jersey into stage 2.

The three were swept up with nearly 100km to go, and the stage was set for a furious, mostly-downhill run-in to the sprint in Nice.

It wasn’t so furious for a while, though. Near the top of the final climb, an accord was reached at the front of the peloton to self-neutralize the race until the finale. Despite the slowdown, Astana drove on with three riders until Miguel Angel Lopez slid off the road, riding his top tube, straight into a bush. The maneuver sent the trio back into the peloton, tails between their legs, as Primoz Roglic rolled up next to them shaking his head and his hands.

The truce let sprinters Giacomo Nizzolo, who had gone down earlier, Sam Bennett, and Caleb Ewan back into the peloton.

At 20km to go, the truce was called off. Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R) set off in a doomed but impressively optimistic solo effort as the big sprint teams coalesced at the front.

A large crash just inside 3km to go took down a dozen riders, including Thibaut Pinot. He was uninjured and received the same time thanks to the 3km rule. George Bennett also fell, shortly after another crash on the final descent.

Kristoff, however, was among those who managed to stay upright in the finale, ultimately sprinting to the win and the first race lead.

Top 10, stage 1

1 KRISTOFF Alexander (UAE-Team Emirates) 3:46:23
2 PEDERSEN Mads (Trek – Segafredo)
3 BOL Cees (Team Sunweb)
4 BENNETT Sam (Deceuninck – Quick Step)
5 SAGAN Peter (BORA – hansgrohe)
6 VIVIANI Elia (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits)
7 NIZZOLO Giacomo (NTT Pro Cycling)
8 COQUARD Bryan (B&B Hotels – Vital Concept p/b KTM)
9 TURGIS Anthony (Team Total Direct Energie)
10 STUYVEN Jasper (Trek – Segafredo)

Top 10, GC

1 KRISTOFF Alexander (UAE-Team Emirates) 3:46:13
2 PEDERSEN Mads (Trek – Segafredo) 0:04
3 BOL Cees (Team Sunweb) 0:06
4 BENNETT Sam (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 0:10
5 SAGAN Peter (BORA – hansgrohe)
6 VIVIANI Elia (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits)
7 NIZZOLO Giacomo (NTT Pro Cycling)
8 COQUARD Bryan (B&B Hotels – Vital Concept p/b KTM)
9 TURGIS Anthony (Team Total Direct Energie)
10 STUYVEN Jasper (Trek – Segafredo)

Editors' Picks