Dismal And Disappointing Start to 2017 Tour de France
The dramatic opening time trial has been a damp and disappointing one for Australian favourite Richie Porte. Having been classified pre-race as one of the big contenders, together with names such as Chris Froome, Alberto Contador and Romain Bardet, finishing in 49th place was certainly not on anyone’s cards for the Aussie on team BMC Racing.
Porte would have had high hopes for this year’s time trial, having finished 2nd and 10th during similar stages earlier during this season – even going on to finish first during the time trial at last month’s Criterium du Dauphine.
The rain also accounted for a spanner in the spikes of Porte’s fellow countryman Luke Durbridge. Durbridge, a strong time-trial contender, finished in second last place after crashing earlier on during the opening trials.
Aussie Michael Matthews performed least dismal of all and managed to secure 16h place.
Surprised But Elated
A surprised and emotional Welshman Geraint Thomas finished first.
An elated Thomas spoke to the press, “It’s unreal. The start of my eighth Tour, my 12th Grand Tour and my first stage win. It’s been a long time coming and it’s just an amazing feeling. I didn’t even dream about it last night. It’s been a rough time on the bike this year and it’s nice to finally.. it certainly makes up for most of the Giro, and back home as well. With my mum and wife I’ve had a bit of a rough time recently so it’s nice to get this win. It’s incredible. I’m lost for words.”
Thomas completed the 14 kilometre time trial in 16 minutes and seconds, beating BMC racing’s Stefan Kueng by 4 seconds.
It Never Rains – It Pours
All hopes for a better 2nd Stage literally came crashing down on Porte after a nasty crash on a roundabout – with a mere 30 kilometres to go. Porte remained positive and in surprising good spirits was heard quipping to the press, “First stage of the Tour and then you get the rain, then it dries up and then it starts raining again. It’s nice to get the first crash out of the way and you know, get on with it.”
Of his bloody and badly scraped knee, “Hopefully the knee is OK. I got a bit of a bang on that.” It remains to be seen whether the injured knee will be the cause of more drama as the Tour progresses.
Rivals Chris Froome and Romain Bardet did not walk away from the crash unscathed either. Froome took longer to recover from the crash and was eventually forced to go at the chase with a number of crash-battered teammates and having to stop for a replacement bike along the way.
“That’s the nature of the race,” Froome said, “we knew that there were slippery conditions, and every time you put your race numbers on you take risks, and something could happen.”
Marcel Kittel went on to achieve victory during a very eventful Stage 2 of the 2017 Tour de France.
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