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Geraint Thomas becomes eighth British yellow jersey with Tour de France 2017 Stage 1 win

Pete Muir
1 Jul 2017

Team Sky strongest as it wins stage and puts Froome in commanding position

Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas has won the opening stage of the 2017 Tour de France, a rain-sodden 14km time-trial in the German city of Düsseldorf.

Team Sky set out its stall for the overall Tour by having four riders in the top ten on the GC, with Chris Froome putting time into his GC rivals.

After the stage Thomas said, ‘It’s an amazing feeling, I didn’t think it was going to happen. I thought Tony Martin would beat me.’

The favourite for the day, Germany’s Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin), could only manage fourth place, eight seconds behind Thomas, while the other favourite, LottoNL-Jumbo’s Primoz Roglic, took a fall on a damp corner.

How Stage 1 of the 2017 Tour de France panned out

The 14km time trial circuit ran alongside the Rhine in the German city of Düsseldorf, with the only ascents being when the riders crossed the river via a pair of bridges.

Conditions were made trickier by heavy rain, which made the roads slippy, especially in some of the tighter corners.

Team Sunweb’s Nikias Arndt set the early benchmark with a time of 16 minutes 20 seconds. Team Sky’s former World Champion Vasil Kiryienka later reduced that to 16m11s. He held top slot for about an hour, until teammate Geraint Thomas surprised him with a time of 16m04s.

As current time trial World Champion and German National Champion, Martin was always the clear favourite for the stage, which took place in front of a German crowd.

His job was made slightly easier by the absence of BMC Racing’s Australian TT specialist Rohan Dennis, who beat Martin by five seconds over a similar distance at the opening stage time trial in the 2015 Tour de France.

However the rain made cornering on the course difficult and Martin struggled to cope with the conditions.

Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde crashed hard in the wet and struggled to get up again. He was eventually taken to hospital and is out of the overall race.

Of the big names, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) managed a fast time of 16m29s, with an eye to taking the yellow jersey in the coming stages.

The fastest of the major GC contenders was Froome at 16m16s, putting him sixth overall. Richie Porte (BMC Racing) came in at 16m51s, Fabio Aru (Astana) at 16m57s, Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) at 16m57s and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) at 16m52s

Quick-Step Floors’ Marcel Kittel put in an impressive time of 16m20s, which will give him a good chance of taking the yellow jersey in the coming sprint stages.

Team Sky will be keen to keep Thomas in yellow for as long as possible, but will have its work cut out to keep up with the leaders on Stage 3’s lumpy parcours, but if he gets through that, he could keep the yellow jersey to Stage 5, which ends with a steep category 1 climb up to La Planche des Belles Filles.

This should be where the GC contenders show their hands for the first time.

For the rest of the peloton, the first 14km is done with, and there’s only 3,507km to go.

Tour de France 2017: Stage 1 Düsseldorf to Düsseldorf (14km ITT) result

1. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky, at 16:04
2. Stefan Küng (Sui) BMC Racing, at 0:05
3. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky, at 0:07
4. Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin, at 0:08
5. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors, at 0:10
6. Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky, at 0:13
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky, at 0:15
8. Jos Van Emden (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo, at 0:16
9. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors, at 0:16
10. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data, at 0:16

Other GC contenders

49. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing, at 0:47
53. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, at 0:48
68. Alberto Contador (Esp) Trek-Segafredo, at 0:54

DNF Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar

Tour de France 2017: General classification top 10 after Stage 1

1. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky, at 16:04
2. Stefan Küng (Sui) BMC Racing, at 0:05
3. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky, at 0:07
4. Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin, at 0:08
5. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors, at 0:10
6. Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky, at 0:13
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky, at 0:15
8. Jos Van Emden (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo, at 0:16
9. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors, at 0:16
10. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data, at 0:16

The eight British wearers of the Tour de France yellow jersey

Tom Simpson (1962 - 1 day)
Chris Boardman (1994 – 3 days; 1997 – 1 day; 1998 – 2 days)
Sean Yates (1994 – 1 day)
David Millar (2000 – 3 days)
Sir Bradley Wiggins (2012 – 13 days)
Chris Froome (2013 – 13 days, 2015 – 15 days, 2016 – 13 days)
Mark Cavendish (2016 – 1 day)
Geraint Thomas (2017)