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Geraint Thomas wins Tour de France 2017 stage one time trial to wear yellow jersey

Yuzuru Sunada

Welshman Geraint Thomas blasts opening time trial of the 2017 Tour de France to wear the yellow jersey for the first time in his career- Alejandro Valverde crashes out in wet conditions


Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) won the opening time trial stage of the 2017 Tour de France, conquering the treacherously wet roads of Düsseldorf, Germany, on Saturday.

It’s the Welshman’s first Grand Tour stage victory, and he will wear the coveted yellow jersey of race leader for the first time in his career. The result goes some way to compensate for Thomas’s disappointment in the Giro d’Italia in May, where he was forced to withdraw after suffering crash injuries.

Thomas stormed through the 14-kilometre course in a time of 16 minutes and four seconds, five seconds ahead of second-placed Stefan Küng (BMC Racing) and seven seconds ahead of Sky team-mate and former time trial world champion Vasil Kiryienka in third.

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Home favourite and current time trial world champion Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin) placed fourth, eight seconds adrift of Thomas.

Geraint Thomas wins the stage one time trial of the 2017 Tour de France. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada Yuzuru Sunada

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Thomas said after the victory. “I just went out there and rode hard. After a bit of bad luck this year it’s nice to finally to… not have any bad luck. I’m still shocked really.”

“I’m certainly going to enjoy the day in yellow tomorrow.”

>>> Tour de France 2017: Latest news, race info and reports

Defending Tour champion Chris Froome (Sky) placed sixth at 12 seconds, by far the best time of the general classification contenders.

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) finished 36 seconds down on Froome, in 53rd place. Richie Porte (BMC) fared slightly better, in 49th and 35 seconds behind Froome, but Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) will be disappointed with his 68th place.

Froome evidently benefitted from following a team-mate in a Sky car right before his ride, making note of how quickly he could take the corners in the wet.

Chris Froome during stage one of the 2017 Tour de France. Photo: ASO/Alex BROADWAY ASO/Alex BROADWAY

The torrential rain made for testing conditions throughout the duration of the stage. With numerous tight corners strewn with slippery road markings, it was almost inevitable that riders would tumble.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) suffered a heavy fall into the roadside crash barriers, and withdrew from the race with a suspected broken kneecap. It is a blow for Quintana to lose his most valued team-mate so early in the race. Bahrain-Merida’s Ion Izagirre also crashed out.

Rick Zabel (Katusha-Alpecin), Patrick Bevan (Cannondale-Drapac), Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal), Dylan Groenewegen  (LottoNL-Jumbo) and George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) were among those other riders to take a spill, but all managed to finish the stage.

The 2017 Tour de France continues on Sunday with stage two from Düsseldorf and into Liége in Belgium, a flat stage offering the sprinters their first chance of taking a stage victory from a head-to-head battle. The day is book-ended by a pair of category four climbs, which will see the king of the mountains jersey awarded to one lucky recipient for the first time.

>>> Tour de France 2017 route: every stage in detail

Results

Tour de France 2017, stage one: Düsseldorf to Düsseldorf, 14km ITT
1. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky, in 16-04
2. Stefan Küng (Sui) BMC Racing Team at 5s
3. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky at 7s
4. Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin at 8s
5. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors at 10s
6. Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky at 13s
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky at 15s
8. Jos Van Emden (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo at 16s
9. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors at 16s
10. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data at 16s
Other
29. Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott at 37s
49. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team at 47s
53. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 48s
66. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 52s
68. Alberto Contador (Esp) Trek-Segafredo at 54s
DNF Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar
DNF Ion Izagirre (Esp) Bahrain-Merida

General classification after stage one
1. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
2. Stefan Küng (Sui) BMC Racing Team at 5s
3. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky at 7s
4. Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin at 8s
5. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors at 10s
6. Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky at 13s
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky at 15s
8. Jos Van Emden (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo at 16s
9. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors at 16s
10. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data at 16s

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