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Yates wins Stage 1 of Tour de France

Vingegaard, Skjelmose and Pogacar finish 12 seconds back
Sepp Kuss of Durango, right in yellow, competes on Stage 1 of the Tour de France on Saturday in Spain. (Courtesy of Team Jumbo-Visma)

The Grand Depart of the 110th Tour de France took place on Saturday in Bilbao, Spain, with two Durango cyclists competing: Sepp Kuss (Team Jumbo-Visma) and Quinn Simmons (Lidl-Trek). With Simmons recently winning the USA men’s national road race, the stars-and-stripes jersey is also in the Tour for the first time in 22 years.

Around 50 kilometers from the finish line on Stage 1, the nervous peloton caught a five-person break that had formed at the start. The Team Jumbo-Visma riders grabbed control of this peloton, riding in service of leader and defending Tour champ, Jonas Vingegaard and the favorite for the stage win, Wout Van Aert.

With the steep Cote de Pike ahead, things moved quickly in the peloton. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) accelerated on the climb, and Vingegaard swiftly followed. Not much later, Van Aert joined him with teammates Kuss and Wilco Kelderman. Meanwhile, twin brothers Adam and Simon Yates attacked. The brothers crossed the finish together despite Kuss and Kelderman’s tireless efforts to catch them.

Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) took the win after 182 kilometers in 4 hours, 22 minutes and 49 seconds. Simon (Team Jayco AlUla) finished second, four seconds back. Pogacar finished third, leading a group of 11 to the line, 12 seconds back. Lidl-Trek leader Mattias Skjelmose (eighth), Vingegaard (ninth) and Van Aert (11th) all finished with Pogacar.

Kuss ended up finishing in 31st place, 33 seconds back.

Simmons crossed 121st, 13:53 back.

“Chapeau for how the team rode today,” Van Aert said. “We couldn’t do much more. It’s a shame I couldn’t sprint for the stage win and the yellow jersey.”

“Congratulations to the Yates brothers,” he continued. “They stayed in front when Sepp and Wilco were chasing them. Tactically, it’s good for us that UAE Team Emirates took the yellow jersey, but I would have liked to take it myself today. The form is good. I finished among the best climbers, so that’s nice.”

“I thank my teammates for their hard work today,” Vingegaard said. “They were super strong. Of course, we were hoping for a stage win here, but it’s also important that we all got through the first stage without any problems. Pogacar took four bonification seconds, but the Tour will probably not be decided by those four seconds.”

“It was a typical stage for the Tour de France’s first week,” Jumbo-Vimsa sportive director Merijn Zeeman said. “The peloton was really tense, so it was important to protect the leaders. The men did that very well today. It was also very clever how Wout stayed with the best climbers. Unfortunately, he could not compete for the stage victory, but for the GC, it’s not at all a bad result.”

Adam Yates also scored 30 points to take the early points lead. American Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost) will start in the king of the mountain jersey after scoring five points on Saturday. Pogacar is the youth leader after the first stage, and Jumbo-Visma has the best team time while Lidl-Trek is seventh out of the 22 teams.

For Stage 2 on Sunday, the cyclists will remain in Spain and pedal 208.9 kilometers from Vitoria-Gasteiz to San Sebastion.