Jumbo-Visma time-trial victory sess Teunissen stay in yellow – Tour de France

Tour de France 2019

Stage 2

The Jumbo-Visma team of Mike Teunissen obliterated the field in Sunday’s 27.6-kilometre team time trial in Brussels to deny Team Ineos by a massive twenty seconds and extend the Dutchman’s unexpected grip on the yellow jersey.

They may have been the last team down the ramp, but Jumbo-Visma ended up very much top of the pack.

Crossing the line underneath the iconic Atomium monument with five of their eight riders remaining, Jumbo-Visma were led home by Belgian Wout Van Aert who punched the air in celebration with Teunissen in his wake to continue the Dutch team’s scintillating start to the 106th edition of the Tour de France.

Powered by the German juggernaut Tony Martin, and with GC riders Steven Kruijswijk and George Bennett also in the mix, Jumbo-Visma were quickest at each of the time checks en route to clocking the winning time of 28 minutes and 57 seconds.

“The guys were really strong,” said Stage 1 winner Teunissen. “They put in really strong pulls over the little kickers which were really hard. We were flying. It’s again unbelievable. It’s not as if I’m getting used to winning stages on the Tour de France, but that’s now two from two and it’s really, really nice.”

Teunissen, 26, retained both the yellow and green jersey, while teammate Van Aert moved into the white young riders’ jersey in his maiden Tour.

The Ineos team of defending champion Geraint Thomas were first down the ramp at the Palais Royale in the Belgian capital and looked a safe bet to win their first TTT in a Grand Tour since launching as Team Sky almost a decade ago.

Despite their time at both intermediate checks being pipped by the Katusha-Alpecin team of British time trial champion Alex Dowsett, Ineos put in a competitive final third to set a target time at the finish which proved almost insurmountable.

Team Ineos during today’s time trial.

Deceuninck-QuickStep – the Belgian team of last year’s polka dot jersey Julian Alaphilippe – came within 0.82 seconds of knocking Ineos off their perch.

But the best was kept to last as Jumbo-Visma succeeded where everyone else had failed – and by quite a margin. With the top 10 teams separated by just 16 seconds before Jumbo-Visma arrived, the winners put a whole 20 seconds into Ineos after coming home with an average speed of 57.2km/h over the technical course.

Team Sunweb and Katusha-Alpecin completed the top five, both 26 seconds down on the winners, while there were solid top-10 performances by Rigoberto Uran’s EF Education First, Thibaut Pinot’s Groupama-FDJ, Vincenzo Nibali’s Bahrain Merida and Jakob Fuglsang’s Astana.

But Romain Bardet’s Ag2R-La Mondiale, Richie Porte’s Trek-Segafredo and the Movistar team of Nairo Quintana, Mikel Landa and world champion Alejandro Valverde all finished more than a minute down on the winners.

Teunissen now leads by 10 seconds teammates Van Aert, Kruijswijk, Martin and Bennett in the nascent general classification, with Thomas and the Colombian Egan Bernal among four Ineos riders 30 seconds back.

But already, after just two days in the saddle, Dutchman Kruijswijk – who was fifth in last year’s Tour and came so close to winning the 2016 Giro d’Italia – holds the upper hand over his big GC rivals.

Kruijswijk leads Bernal and Thomas by 20 seconds, Colmbia’s Uran by 28 seconds, Frenchman Pinot by 32 seconds, Italy’s Nibali by 36 seconds, Britain’s Adam Yates and Denmark’s Fuglsang by 41 seconds, Spaniard Landa and Colombian Quintana by 1’05”, Australia’s Porte by 1’18” and Frenchman Bardet by 1’19”.

After a sunny grand depart in Belgium celebrating the 50th anniversary of Eddy Merckx’s first Tour win, the race crosses the border into France on Monday for the 215km Stage 3 from Binche to Epernay.

Four lower-category climbs pepper the finale and will keep polka dot jersey Greg van Avermart (CCC Team) on his toes ahead of the uphill sprint finish in Epernay where a rider in the mould of Peter Sagan could well be popping champagne corks of the local tipple.

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