Tour de France: Yves Lampaert, first unexpected yellow jersey

For three days, the sun had been shining in the sky of Copenhagen and happy swimmers were diving into the inlets of the harbor. And then, this Friday, July 1, at 2:30 p.m., when the advertising caravan was snorting in the Danish capital, it started to rain. Dru. The downpour made the sellers of disposable plastic ponchos happy. It must have given chills to the sports directors of the riders, still sheltered in their buses while waiting for a 13.2 kilometer time trial drawn in the streets of the city.

Fear of slipping on wet macadam, skidding, bad fall, lost time, even abandonment, it has happened before… According to the weather forecast the day before, the rain was not expected before 5 p.m., one hour before the start of the first of the 176 registered. So, for this opening stage of the Tour de France, the strategists had taken their precautions: they had placed their leaders at the top of the day’s entry list to allow them to set off on a dry road. Bet failed.

Wout van Aert thought he had won

The Swiss Stefan Bisseger, one of the favorites of the day, was the first to tear his shorts on the tarmac. Without too much trouble, but a second bowl definitely put him out of the race for victory. The French Christophe Laporte, in the lead at the intermediate score, also found himself on the buttocks at the entrance of a bend. The most cautious, on the other hand, advanced without taking any risks, with the ambition of arriving wet but whole. The Belgian Wout van Aert then believed he had the winner’s bouquet in hand and the yellow jersey on his back.

His compatriot Yves Lampaert made him disillusioned by beating him by 5 seconds, at nearly 52 km/h. Aged 31, the Flemish rider of the Quick Step team had never known such an honor. But he had still been Belgian time trial champion twice, in 2017 and 2021. This farmer’s son also twice won Through Flanders, a semi-classic. But no one really saw him triumph in front of Van Aert and the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, third with 7 seconds behind, in a city where the rain did not dampen the incredible fervor of the public.

(Archives – Video of 06/07/2019)


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