Tour de France 2019: stage one – live

06 July 2019 10:53
Updates on Le Grand Départ stage from Brussels to BrusselsWilliam Fotheringham’s stage-by-stage guide to the 2019 TourAny thoughts? You can email John | tweet 11.53am BST And here’s ‘The Cannibal’ on the 1969 Tour we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of, and the 17th stage: Luchon to Mourenx, where he seized control in the mountains. 11.45am BST Let’s share some Eddy Merckx memories as we are celebrating the great man this weekend. Related: Remembering how Eddy Merckx won at home in the 1969 Tour of Flanders Related: Eddy Merckx: this much I know Related: Eddy Merckx wins the Tour de France for the second time – archive, 1970 11.42am BST 180km to go: The breakaway group already have over three minutes on the main field. 11.38am BST Gavin Laverty has an outside bet for you. “Just read the preamble. Speaking of coming forces that never quite came, what do you feel about Tejay van Garderen’s chances this year. He did have a half decent criterium but is 80-1 for Le tour!”It looks like he is in the role of super-domestique for Roberto Uran, another contender I didn’t mention but who knows this year? 11.35am BST 187 km to go: There’s the rather unseemly sight of a horde of riders taking a comfort break by the side of the road; they must have overdone the fluids in their preparations. The race is now underway, with already a lot of riders on the attack! La course est bien lancée, avec déjà des coureurs qui se ruent à l'attaquent !#TDF2019 11.29am BST Here comes three weeks of pain. There’s an attempted breakaway from the start from Team Katusha, with Greg Van Avermaet, Natnael Berhane, Mads Würtz Schmidt and Xando Meurisse. Two Belgians in there look like they fancy a go from Kilometre 0 in their home country. The other two are an Eritrean and an Austrian. The peloton sits up a bit and lets that group of four go away. It’s lively on the streets of Brussels, where the public will see the finish later this afternoon. 11.25am BST Here’s the route for today while the riders are going through the ceremonials with a ride through a sunny Brussels, before the départ réel can begin in a kilometre or so. 11.03am BST Bonjour. We go again, though there is many an absent friend not on this year’s Tour. No Tom Dumoulin. No Chris Froome. No Mark Cavendish. And the Sky Train will have to be renamed the rather unwieldy Ineos Train. Still, there’s always G, as in Geraint Thomas the defending champion. To call him a surprise winner last year is something of an understatement, and there is the possibility he will be on the end of a similar overturning of team orders as that which he performed last year with Froome. Egan Bernal hauled the dear, departed Sky Train over the mountains last season, burying himself in the process. With Froome having to become one of the oldest ever winners to make five Tours if he comes back next year - itself not guaranteed - and G 33 himself, the 22-year-old has time and talent on his side. Who are the other contenders? This is a highly open field, with former winner Vincenzo Nibali perhaps fancying a, er, nibble, then there’s Nairo Quintana, the coming force who never managed to get away far enough on the mountains. And Thibaut Pinot, who has a puncher’s chance of becoming the first French winner since Bernard Hinault in 1985. So, perhaps, has Romain Bardet. That is not an exhaustive list of the possibilities. This weekend, though, with its pootle through Belgium, is a tribute to Eddy Merckx, this being the 50th anniversary of his first win of five Tours. Merckx was “the cannibal” who ate his rivals for breakfast, probably the best rider of all during the spell from 1969 to 1974, before he suddenly pegged out in 1975. Today’s stage takes us through some Classic-style cobbles - pavé, if you will - and a couple of small but troublesome climbs - the Bosberg and ‘the Muur’ - and then back to Belgium’s capital for waffles, animal-strength beer and most likely a sprint. Elia Viviani, Dylan Groenewegen, Peter Sagan and Andre Griepel are the men expected to be dipping for the line. Related: Egan Bernal aims to capitalise on sense of uncertainty at Tour de France | Jeremy Whittle Continue readingreadfullarticle

Source: TheGuardian