The 109th Tour de France started this Friday under the rain of Copenhagen. On wet roads and through a time trial of about thirteen kilometres in the Danish capital, Stefan Küng was unable to fight for the win. The double European champion had to settle for fourteenth place, twenty-three seconds behind the winner and first yellow jersey Yves Lampaert. David Gaudu lost fifty seconds to the Belgian on the line, but safely reached the finish, like the entire Groupama-FDJ cycling team. The Tour is now underway.

An important guest was supposed to come up at the big cycling party expected in Copenhagen this Friday, for the Grand Départ of the 2022 Tour de France. His time of arrival was not clear though, which made the day more uncertain. The rain, to be precise, eventually showed up earlier than expected on the quite technical route that made up stage 1. When the time trial started around 4 p.m., the road was already wet, so the riders who hoped for the bad weather to arrive later did not escape from it. David Gaudu, the first rider of the Groupama-FDJ cycling team to take the start, therefore had to deal with it. Despite a little fright along the way, the Breton did limit his losses and most importantly finished without hitting the ground. He completed the stage with a decent time of 16’07”. “We knew that there could be some rain, and we saw during the recon that there were a lot of white stripes on the road”, said David. “It was a very technical, totally urban course. We knew it could be very tricky. I got scared a bit at some point, but it went well. We had to avoid crashing and give everything in the long, straight roads. The feelings seemed to be quite good and I’m happy with my time trial. The Tour has only just begun, but we are off on the right track”. At the end of the day, David Gaudu lost fifty seconds to the winner Yves Lampaert and forty-three to the first general classification contender, Tadej Pogacar.

“I didn’t know where the limit was”, Stefan Küng

This Friday, Stefan Küng could not really fight for the stage victory. After starting early as well, he was unable to show his full potential in the rain and took fourteenth place in his favorite discipline, twenty-three seconds behind the first yellow jersey. “I was there physically, but I saw Stefan Bissegger’s crash, and I met him on my way to the start”, said the Swiss man. “He told me «Be careful, it’s like soap”. It blocked me a little mentally. I didn’t know where the limit was. The last time it rained on a time trial was at the Tour de Suisse last year, and I won. But it was at home, and I knew how much I could push. Here, I had no idea. It’s difficult because you had to push to the limit, and I wasn’t able to do that today. I also believe that the last ten days have been quite intense emotionally for me. It was a bit of a roller coaster, with the birth of our son, the Covid infection and the fact that I did not know if I would be at the start. It didn’t work out today.” On this big opening day, Yves Lampaert took the start a little later and created a sensation. “We had to give our starting order choices early in the morning yesterday,” added Julien Pinot. “The rain was forecasted for the middle of the time trial, that’s why we made the decision to make David start first and Stefan second. Unfortunately, it rained earlier than expected. Stefan started when the weather was the worst. He wanted to put on a great performance, but his preparation was a little disrupted with the Covid-19. We tried to maximize as best we could, and we have no regrets. He still reassured himself physically speaking. David did a decent time trial. Above all, we did not want anyone to crash today. No one did, and that’s the most important thing. We are now going to think about tomorrow’s stage”.

The second stage of the Tour, this Saturday, will take the riders to Nyborg where some damage could already be done after crossing the Great Belt for eighteen kilometres.

To read in this category…

No comment