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Tour de France Stage 2 Preview

A day in and the the team time trial, an important rendez-vous for those with hopes for the win in Paris.

Stage 1 Review: we expected Dylan Groenewegen, we got Mike Teunissen. A crash in the finale took out Groenewegen and disrupted the sprint trains and without his sprinter, Mike Teunissen bided his time and then rounded Sonny Colbrelli to win by a bike throw ahead of Peter Sagan. A surprise result but no fantasy, he was imperious in the uphill sprints at the Four Days of Dunkerque and it’s a jackpot for Jumbo, the Dutch supermarket chain that’s expanding into Belgium who are guaranteed coverage in the media, as the first Dutchman in the maillot jaune for 30 years Teunissen. Caleb Ewan was close, possibly the fastest, but like a commuter rushing towards a subway train, found the doors closing in his face.

Earlier a break of four went clear with Greg Van Avermaet taking the mountains jersey on the Kapelmuur and then sitting up, to leaving a trio to be swept up by an enterprising Bora-Hansgrohe team who accelerated on the day’s cobbled sector, splitting the field and allowing Peter Sagan to win the intermediate sprint with ease. Jacob Fuglsang had a nasty crash with 18km to go, precious blood streaming down his face and if no bones are broken he has “muscle contusions around his knee” according to his team.

The Route: 27.6km and heading out of Brussels to the suburb of Woluwe Saint Pierre where, once upon a time, the Merckx family ran a small grocery store and now there are schools and squares named after him before heading back into Brussels… where there’s a metro station named after him too. The course isn’t too technical, it’s got long boulevards – beware the tram lines – and bridges, just 200m of vertical gain but the corners and slopes have to be managed carefully by teams, to know where to swap the lead and how to pace it. The time is taken on the fourth rider of the team across the line.

The Contenders: Team Ineos have a strong roster with engines like Geraint Thomas and Michał Kwiatkowski who can win a solo TT on their day, plus the likes of Gianni Moscon, Luke Rowe and Dylan van Baarle who’ll be strong too.

Mitchelton-Scott come with two specialists in Michael Hepburn and Luke Durbridge and strong riders like Matteo Trentin and Daryl Impey plus the Yates brothers are good but small, offering less shelter to those behind.

Jumbo-Visma have a strong squad, one reason Wout van Aert was called up was for today, the Dauphiné TT winner will be a big engine today along with Tony Martin and Mike Teunissen can stay in yellow.

Deceuninck-Quickstep were third in last year’s TTT but have a couple of powerhouses less compared to the squad they had a year ago.

EF Education First won the TTT in Colombia earlier this year, a surprise but testimony to work done and added budget affording more aero testing and they have a good squad with Tejay van Garderen a regular with BMC’s world champion squad.

Sunweb and Katusha both have strong, homogenous squads and CCC are running on a fraction of the budget of the old BMC days, their eight riders here are also very complementary.

Ineos, Jumbo-Visma
Mitchelton-Scott, Sunweb, EF Education First
CCC, Deceuninck-Quickstep

Yellow story: since we’re in Brussels and celebrating Eddy Merckx, he wore the yellow jersey for 97 days, a record of course. Winning five tours helps but he’d win the yellow jersey across all terrains, he could win the opening prologue and enjoy a spell in the jersey before a sprinter “borrowed” it only for Merckx to triumph in the mountains and reclaim it; he could win bunch sprints too. This all round ability extended to winning all three distinctive jerseys in the 1969 Tour and three times he won the green jersey and the race overall. He is the greatest of all time and always will be given the sport today rewards specialisation, even the most complete rouleur-grimpeur capable of winning the Tour de France today is unlikely to win the green jersey once, let alone several times and then bag Paris-Roubaix, the Giro, the Worlds and more. Perhaps it’s for the better as the Merckx era must have had its frustrations for viewers given the repeat wins.

Weather: sunshine and clouds and a cool 21°C, ideal weather to wear an aero helmet. There’s a slight headwind for final 10km which will build from 10km/h to 15km/h for the final teams.

TV: the stage starts at 2.30pm CEST and finish is forecast for 4.45pm CEST / Euro time. Teams go off at five minute intervals in reverse team classification order with Ineos the first to start, not ideal for them but they might have designs about catching Arkéa up ahead. Jumbo-Visma go last.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • IanPa Sunday, 7 July 2019, 6:06 am

    Just a small note… Ineos cant catch anyone… they are first on the road.. you mention them with designs on Arkea.

    • Sean Sunday, 7 July 2019, 7:05 am

      I’m waiting for someone to explain the pun.

    • J Envas Sunday, 7 July 2019, 7:57 am

      It’s early.

      • La Bomba Sunday, 7 July 2019, 8:37 am

        Can someone please explain.

        • J Envas Sunday, 7 July 2019, 9:07 am

          Just a simple mistake, I think… unless it all goes beyond what the conspiracy theorists think and Froome’s injury has been faked not because of any alleged drug use, but as a distraction tactic to avoid people noticing that Ineos can now time-travel.

    • The Inner Ring Sunday, 7 July 2019, 9:09 am

      Just irony that Ineos are off first, they managed to place worse than Arkéa yesterday. But it’s not a big deal for the team today and if anything it helps to go early with the wind forecast to rise a touch in the afternoon.

  • Stuie Sunday, 7 July 2019, 7:05 am

    Fuglsang looked in a lot of pain yesterday with his knee. Astana may have to sacrifice a some time to shepherd him home. Other than that, I can’t really see any big gaps between the big teams.

    • The Inner Ring Sunday, 7 July 2019, 9:10 am

      I read this morning he needed help walking yesterday evening. We’ll see how much is short term stiffness versus injury but it doesn’t look good for today and carrying a knee injury during this hectic first week is problematic.

      • Stuie Sunday, 7 July 2019, 11:10 am

        I watched the ITV highlights last night, and after his interviews he needed help walking to the team bus. The first week is always chaos. The final part of stage 3 could show up the severity of any injuries, because teams will test him.

    • KevinR Sunday, 7 July 2019, 10:20 am

      I beg to differ. AG2R will lose a big chunk of time. Maybe enough to end Bardet’s GC hopes

      • KevinR Sunday, 7 July 2019, 10:23 am

        Unless of course you’re not putting AG2R among the big teams

        • Stuie Sunday, 7 July 2019, 1:26 pm

          I think the top 10 will be separated by a minute or so, whether AG2R will be in the top 10 is another matter. But I doubt Bardet loses an amount of time that puts him out of the GC race.

  • J Envas Sunday, 7 July 2019, 7:56 am

    Great win by Teunissen – love the commuter image.
    Surprised no other big rider tried what GVA did as from the moment you saw the profile it seemed a relatively easy way to win a jersey, in terms of amount of energy used up.
    Hope Fuglsang is OK.
    I dislike TTTs because in my opinion not only do they provide too much of an advantage for stronger teams – it’s a team sport, but the big teams already have more than enough of an advantage – they also largely kill off the early fight for yellow, as the riders who can then win it is restricted.
    Could see some GC contenders gain well over a minute on others whilst expending comparatively little effort.

    • Irungo txuletak Sunday, 7 July 2019, 9:27 am

      I don’t expect big gaps this time. The route is extremely fast and between city buildings or through tunnels, riders won’t be that exposed to wind.
      there are only 2 uphill bumps that are slightly steeper and longer than yesterday finish. The differences will be made there.

      • Ecky Thump Sunday, 7 July 2019, 11:35 am

        As noted above, perhaps Bardet, Pinot, Dan Martin, maybe even El Tridente, will find themselves 20 – 30”+ adrift on GC by this evening?

        • The Inner Ring Sunday, 7 July 2019, 11:39 am

          I expect UAE and Ag2r to lose a minute or more, Ag2r had two riders crash yesterday, Cosnefroy had already had a hard crash in the French nationals and had stitches yesterday.

  • Digahole Sunday, 7 July 2019, 7:58 am

    Ineos look scarily good, no weak links. JV on the other hand have Bennett and a (possibly) slightly beaten up Groewnewegen. How’s Jansen in the TT?

    • Martijn Stolze Sunday, 7 July 2019, 8:51 am

      Jansen is pretty good at short TT’s, has a very big engine as any part of the sprint train does – and it’s a relatively short TT. Groenewegen you’d imagine will do a few big pulls at the start and drop off quickly, rider number 4 will probably come from a group of Van Aert, Martin, Teunissen, Kruijswijk and De Plus, you’d reckon, maybe Jansen still in there too.

      • Digahole Sunday, 7 July 2019, 12:15 pm


  • Richard S Sunday, 7 July 2019, 8:03 am

    It seems Viviani is carrying on the habit he picked up in the Giro of losing his own lead out train and getting boxed in/squeezed out. There’s plenty of time to turn it round but he seems to have lost all confidence compared to last year.
    I wonder if Ineos will hold back a little today to avoid 3 weeks of innuendo and p1ss throwing?!

  • Rasmus Sunday, 7 July 2019, 8:09 am

    You mention Luke Rowe for Ineos as an advantage. However, he is definitely not good in a TTT or an ITT. But other than that Ineos for sure have a strong team.

    • Larrick Sunday, 7 July 2019, 8:43 am

      It’s only 27k. There’s every chance the top 5 or 6 will be separated by less than 10-15 seconds. The reason is that it’s less than 3.5k per rider on average to be on the front. Rowe is very capable of driving like that as he often does in crosswinds to split the field.

      If you don’t have any really weak links then this is similar to how guys who don’t normally TT well can ‘surprise’ in short prologues.

  • JeroenK Sunday, 7 July 2019, 8:49 am

    So who wears yellow if he does not get dropped, when Ineos wins the TTT?

    Moscon… he is the first Ineos rider in the GC right now :-D.

    • StevhanTI Sunday, 7 July 2019, 9:42 am

      If Jumbo-V are a close second Theunissen can keep it thanks to yesterday’s bonifications

    • Anonymous Sunday, 7 July 2019, 9:43 am

      Given Thomas crashed within final 3km how is his position decided given they all have the same time? Could the team not argue that he’d have finished in a higher position without the crash and so nominate him for yellow? Am I clutching at straws? Please don’t let Moscon take it.

      • Lion King Sunday, 7 July 2019, 11:17 am

        Nope Moscon takes it. Highest place GC, that’s all it goes on. Usually crashing in the 3k and getting the same bunch time means that rider ends up as the last ‘finisher’ in that group.

        • JeroenK Sunday, 7 July 2019, 12:10 pm

          In last years’ TTT they had Luke Rowe and Wout Poels peel off early after working hard. The ‘performance manager’ that decides on TTT tactics is in the peculiar position to avoid any risk of polemics. I doubt they would prioritize that over performance however. Personally I could not care less. Rules are rules and results are results.

      • noel Sunday, 7 July 2019, 12:24 pm

        I’d think any of the leading teams would rather have a domestic having to do all the yellow jersey media stuff while their leader recovers at this stage, so I think the chances of Ineos manufacturing Thomas into yellow is unlikely

        • J Eanvs Sunday, 7 July 2019, 12:48 pm

          Exactly. It’d be a bizarre and terrible decision for any team to put one of their GC contenders in yellow. Also, presumably Ineos don’t share others’ distaste towards Moscon.

      • DaveRides Sunday, 7 July 2019, 11:40 pm

        The riders who were delayed by a crash only have adjustments made to their time.

        Their finishing position is not adjusted, it stays in the order that the riders crossed the finish line – 111th for Thomas on stage 1. The finishing order stays intact even if it means riders being classified on bunch time but with a finishing position behind riders who came in later without being delayed!

        It’s probably a rule which could do with an update, as it could have the effect of falsifying the points classification and UCI World Ranking in the event of a rider crashing from a leading breakaway and getting caught by the next group before finishing.

  • StevhanTI Sunday, 7 July 2019, 9:43 am

    I guess the most frustrated person of the Merckx era must be Roger De Vlaeminck

    • Irungo txuletak Sunday, 7 July 2019, 9:58 am

      Roger de Vlaeminck has today words that might sound bitter, but he was still able to collect an impressive palmares – probably the 2nd or 3rd best classics rider in history. His big frustration was maybe not being able to win the worlds.

      I thinks riders as Gimondi (won the tour very young, just before merckx arrived) or Ocaña were fare more frustrated by Merckx.

      • The Inner Ring Sunday, 7 July 2019, 10:04 am

        And Poulidor too who saw off Anquetil only to discover Merckx. Watching a documentary a while back there was footage of a journalist simmering with frustration in a pre-race interview, the tone was “can’t you give someone else a chance, we need something new to write about”. Merckx was oblivious.

        • DJW Sunday, 7 July 2019, 10:27 am

          Another way of appreciating his dominance is through PCS points. Merckx managed between 5k & 6k PCS points over six consecutive seasons almost breaking the 6k mark in 1972. In 2018 both Alaphilippe and S Yates had oustanding seasons without reaching 2k points.

        • Irungo txuletak Sunday, 7 July 2019, 10:47 am

          Oh yes, Poulidor too. Altough i feel less pity for him as he had a few years time window where he had the opportunity to win the tour between anquetil and merckx era. Instead we have winners as aimar…

          • JeroenK Sunday, 7 July 2019, 4:50 pm

            Poulidor’s ultimate revenge is the superior succes (allready) of his offspring compared to Merckx ;-).

        • Anonymous Sunday, 7 July 2019, 2:00 pm

          Imagine the reaction on social media if the trolls had the same opportunity to spout their bile and hatred 50 years ago about Merckx instead of the betes-noirs of today.

          For all that, fold Savona and the 1969 Giro into the mixture and they would have some underlying justification at least. The internet would explode.

          • The Inner Ring Sunday, 7 July 2019, 2:19 pm

            Context is different, back in Merckx’s day you could often buy the stimulants used by riders in pharmacies, no prescription. The one Merckx tested positive for in Savona, was made by Merck appropriately enough and marketed as a “weight loss”, “meal skipping” and “concentration” pill, similar products were used by truck drivers to stay awake, factory workers to finish a shift, students to cram for exams, ie ordinary people were using them ordinarily and in sport it resulted in a one month ban. It’s a long way from illegal prescriptions of EPO or clandestine blood bags etc which brings career-ending 4 year bans and rightly undermines the sport. Merckx was, and is, embarrassed by it but it’s a footnote in his career rather than the story of his success. Still he had plenty who didn’t like him because of the domination and, instead of a rude tweet, he got analogue treatment like being punched during the Tour on the Puy de Dôme.

        • John Irvine Sunday, 7 July 2019, 2:24 pm

          Interestingly, prior to Merckx, people were also bemoaning specialization. After the ’68 Giro, Jean Bobet said (as quoted in Fotheringham); “Merckx has revived the concept of the all around champion. The last generation of champions was a generation of specialists: Val Looy in the Classics, Anquetil in stage races and time trials, Gaul in the mountains.”

      • Irungo txuletak Sunday, 7 July 2019, 10:42 am

        Just say that in 1972 this guy won 3 monuments and 2 GT. Among other little things (as the flèche wallone and the hour record…).
        Few other riders have done in a whole carreer what merckx did in this year.

        • Ecky Thump Sunday, 7 July 2019, 11:25 am

          “Merci Eddy”.

          • Ecky Thump Sunday, 7 July 2019, 12:13 pm

            I must admit that I was deeply struck by the crowds yesterday and the gratitude shown to Merckx, it was a real lump in the throat moment for me. Worth tuning in for just to see that.
            Merci Belgium 🇧🇪

  • Kier Sunday, 7 July 2019, 10:35 am

    Hi. I’m participating in this Manager game, where I have to pick 10 riders for each stage.
    Can only have two from each team.
    Who’s likely to be the first four riders in each of the top 5 teams? 🙂

  • Steve Sunday, 7 July 2019, 10:53 am

    If Ineos beat Jumbo by more than 10 seconds then all the Ineos riders on +10 seconds are in yellow. Who actually wears the yellow? The leader? Then who from Thomas and Bernal?

    • Anonymous Sunday, 7 July 2019, 11:06 am

      Moscon, top finisher yesterday

      • Steve Dean Sunday, 7 July 2019, 11:39 am

        Thank you!

      • DaveRides Sunday, 7 July 2019, 2:44 pm

        Unless Bernal (finished one place behind Moscon yesterday) finishes two wheels in front of Moscon.

  • Sustainer Sunday, 7 July 2019, 11:37 am

    Can anyone explain how Julien Simon ended up with negative points yesterday? One report had a brief mention of a tussle with Sagan, but our of pure curiosity I was wondering where this information is published and if the daily commissaires report is generally available.

    • The Inner Ring Sunday, 7 July 2019, 11:40 am

      He made a big shoulder barge at Sagan and so got docked points. The results and commissaires are given to the media each day but it’s not available for the wider public.

      • DaveRides Sunday, 7 July 2019, 2:45 pm

        They are publicly available, on the TISSOT website.


        • DaveRides Sunday, 7 July 2019, 2:48 pm

          Yesterday’s results are obviously https://www.tissottiming.com/2019/tdf/en-au/default/Stage/1 rather than Stage/2

          Select ‘Press_Release’ from the ‘Files Download’ menu on the right.

          • Sustainer Sunday, 7 July 2019, 5:33 pm

            Thank you – just what I was looking for. Much appreciated.

        • The Inner Ring Sunday, 7 July 2019, 2:57 pm

          Thanks for sharing, good find

          • DaveRides Sunday, 7 July 2019, 3:44 pm

            I’m surprised you haven’t seen that before. They’ve been handled like that by TISSOT for at least three years now.

            It’s a great site for the TT stages, as it gives a nice presentation of the time gaps as they appear.

  • oldDAVE Sunday, 7 July 2019, 11:42 am

    Great preview as always INRNG. Thank you.

    Could we get an article on this one day maybe? I never knew.

    The 1927 and 1928 Tours, however, consisted mainly of team time-trials, an unsuccessful experiment which sought to avoid a proliferation of sprint finishes on flat stages.

  • Louis le Blond Sunday, 7 July 2019, 11:52 am

    I know something happens with the Eneos-riders when it’s TdF, and they will perform those ekstra percent. But normally it should be a disadvantage to start first in a TTT – unless the weather plays a part. This is a wonderful debate-site, so let me be bold:
    1. Michelton-Scott 2. Jumbo-Visma 3. Deceunick-Quickstep
    Sunweb lacks Tom D, their F-1 motor and they have disappointed before….. Team Eneos starts first of all, hmmmm… there’s a lot of maybes’ they will have to deal with… and maybe they really can… maybe…

  • Martijn Stolze Sunday, 7 July 2019, 1:26 pm

    Prisoner’s dilemma for Jumbo Visma. Say Groenewegen is so banged up that he has a terrible time today, and can’t finish within the allotted time of their (competitive time) and has to leave the race. Jumbo, what do you do? Slow down a bit to keep him within your time, but sacrifice Teunissen’s yellow and more importantly, Kruiswijk’s GC, in the hope Groenewegen will still be good for three stage wins? Or jettison him?

    • DaveRides Sunday, 7 July 2019, 3:43 pm

      Have one rider stick with Groenewegen to pace him along the course.

    • DaveRides Monday, 8 July 2019, 12:09 am

      A follow-up on Groenewegen – he finished in 33:19, within one second of perfectly splitting the difference between the team’s winning time and the elimination time!

      Six other riders finished with slower times than him, including Koen de Kort who was injured in the crash 16km from the finish.

  • Anand Sunday, 7 July 2019, 2:40 pm


  • Anonymous Sunday, 7 July 2019, 4:58 pm

    Oh please Jumbo Visma, don’t be Rabobank again I hope. I expected you to win maybe, but this is too much. Ok, Wout may be special, but Martin haven’t shown anything for many years. And to see the coat hanger pushing away Bennet is a big red flag.

    Hopefully, it’s a sign of better times, not a flashback.

    • JeroenK Sunday, 7 July 2019, 9:18 pm

      And offcourse the winner gets the doping insinuations… Come on, everyone coming out of underperformance black hole Katusha is having a better year, if they do not come out depressed, like Kittel. There’s no reason Martin does not have the physical talent anymore – he’s not that old. Kruiswijk is a good time trialist and Teunissens’ talent has been there all along. No surprise there – it only seems a bit long for it to show, after a U23 cyclocross worlds win, U23 Paris-Roubaix and Paris-Tours. He’s made for a time trial like this.

      Kruiswijk was not pushing Bennet away – he was coaching him into a better position to get the whole group through the corner.

  • Gabriel Constantin Monday, 8 July 2019, 1:23 am

    A bit of topic but maybe of interest still, Woluwe Saint Pierre is part of Brussels-Region Capitale (greater Brussels if you may), which is what locals and not only reffer to as Brussels. It’s a city that’s kept the identity of the communes that have been over time added to the city. And I say added, not assimilated or otherwise on purpose. There are 19 communes comprising Brussels (one of them is “mille Bruxelles” or “ville de Bruxelles”).They have they’re own cathedrals, markets, cultural specifics and of course, local administration.

    The Eddy Merckx metro station is in Anderlecht, also a commune of BXL, on par with Woluwe Saint Pierre.

    It makes the city very diverse and decentralized with a lot of spots worth visiting. Often the best parts of it are outside the centre.

    Things do get complicated when you realize it has it’s own Parliament and Government. But there are reasons for that too.

    • J Evans Monday, 8 July 2019, 7:34 am

      Interesting stuff, thanks.

      • KevinR Monday, 8 July 2019, 9:26 am

        +1. All for off topic related stuff like this.