© A.S.O./Charly López

Tour de France 2020 – The first week

The Tour de France, the highlight of the cycling season, will also take place in this extraordinary year of 2020. Even though with a delay of two months it started in Nice the Saturday before last. On the rest day we want to look back at the first stages.

Tour de France 2020 / Didi also wears a mask © A.S.O./Charly López
The mask is always with you this year – also with Didi © A.S.O./Charly López

The German guys on the tour

From a German point of view there are 12 riders at the start. Former German champion and last year’s fourth place finisher Emanuel Buchmann has ambitions to ride for the overall classification. He will be supported by his team Bora-hansgrohe and his teammates Max Schachmann and Lennard Kämna. That they are in form and after the Corona-conditioned season interruption hot on victories, they have already proven. Youngstar Kämna secured a stage win at the Criterium Dauphine at the age of 23. Schachmann, on the other hand, won Paris-Nice this year and has top-ten results at Strade Bianche and the Tour of Lombardy and Algarve.

Maximilian Walscheid (NTT Pro Cycling) and Andre Greipel (Israel Start-Up Nation) should be kept in mind for the sprint finishes. Andre Greipel has already won eleven stages of the Tour of France and is therefore very experienced. Classics specialist Nils Politt is riding in a team with Greipel and can speculate on a breakaway victory with a bit of luck.

Simon Geschke and Tom Dumoulin at the Tour de France
Simon Geschke (orange helmet) © A.S.O./Pauline Ballet

Simon Geschke and Jonas Koch are riding for the Polish CCC racing team. Geschke has also won a stage of the Tour de France once before in 2015. John Degenkolb (Paris Roubaix / Milan-Sanremo 2015) and Roger Kluge (Madison World Champion 2018/2019) ride for Team Lotto Soudal.

Signed to Team Jumbo-Visma is Tony Martin, time trial specialist. Nine German, as well as 4 world championship titles and 5 stage successes speak for themselves. Completing the line-up is Nikias Arndt who rides for the German Sunweb team.

Stage 1 – The rain chaos of Nice

The Grand-Depart of this year’s tour took place in Nice. Without a prologue, there should be a spectacular showdown of the sprinters on a flat stage. With Caleb Ewan, Sam Bennett, Giacomo Nizzolo and many more, the prerequisites were more than given. But the weather put a spanner in the works. Rain turned the surface of the dry road into black ice. Numerous riders crash. Numerous is an understatement. So it was finally the experienced Tony Martin who decided to neutralize the peloton for safety reasons. As the peloton approached the finish line, the pace slowly picked up and sprint trains formed. In the end Alexander Kristoff from Norway won and secured yellow for the next day.

Tony Martin and Luke Rowe / Tour de France 2020
© A.S.O./Alex Broadway

Slowed down by crash injuries and dropped out of the peloton, John Degenkolb missed the time limit. Unfortunately this tour ends for him already after the first day.

  • Yellow jersey: Alexander Kristoff
  • Green jersey: Peter Sagan (The leader Kristoff is already in yellow)
  • Mountain jersey: Fabien Grellier
  • White jersey: Mads Pedersen
  • Team classification: Trek Segafredo
  • Most combative driver: Michael Schär

2nd stage – emotional victory

On the second day we went directly once into the mountains. 2 climbs of the first, as well as one of the second category were waiting on the 186 kilometer long route. In addition, there was a climb to overcome shortly before the finish, at the top of which the riders were able to secure bonus seconds. The clearly favored Julian Alaphilippe secured an emotional victory here and with it the jersey of the overall leader.

Julian Alaphilippe wins the second stage of the 2020 Tour de France
© Press Sports/Bernard Papon

Last year at the Tour de France he already wore it for several days. After an attack on the Col de Quatre Chemins, he won the final sprint against Adam Yates and Marc Hirschi.

  • Yellow jersey: Julien Alaphilippe
  • Green jersey: Alexander Kristoff
  • Mountain jersey: Benoit Cosnefroy
  • White jersey: Marc Hirschi
  • Team classification: Trek Segafredo
  • Most combative driver: Benoit Cosnefroy

Stage 3 – Sprint Royale

Although peppered with a few minor hill climbs, this was again a day for the sprinters. But before there was to be an exciting finale, there was some drama on this stage as well. Anthony Perez, who was in the breakaway group and had already virtually ridden into the mountains jersey, collided with his own team car after a flat tire. Collarbone fracture. Shirt off. Tour over. In the sprint showdown, it was finally Caleb Ewan, the diminutive Australian, who came out on top.

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© A.S.O./Pauline Ballet
  • Yellow jersey: Julien Alaphilippe
  • Green jersey: Peter Sagan
  • Mountain jersey: Benoit Cosnefroy
  • White jersey: Marc Hirschi
  • Team classification: Trek Segafredo
  • Most combative driver: Jerome Cousin

Stage 4 – The first mountain finish

On the fourth stage we saw the first mountain finish. After some classifications of the third and fourth category the final climb of the first category had to be mastered. This was 7.1 kilometres long and went uphill at an average of 6.7%. German Nils Politt and his teammate Kris Neilands were able to break away with a breakaway group at the beginning, but were caught up again shortly before the last climb. Now it was up to the mountain specialists to decide the victory among themselves.

Tour favourite Primoz Roglic
© A.S.O./Pauline Ballet

Primoz Roglic of the Dutch Jumbo Visma Team secured the stage win in the mountain sprint. Emanuel Buchmann was not able to keep up with the last acceleration and lost nine seconds.

  • Yellow jersey: Julien Alaphilippe
  • Green jersey: Peter Sagan
  • Mountain jersey: Benoit Cosnefroy
  • White jersey: Tadej Pogacar
  • Team classification: EF Pro Cycling
  • Most combative driver: Kris Neilands

Stage 5 – Relaxed towards the finish line

In front of the TV, it was definitely one of the most boring days. Tour de France looks different. There were no riders with breakaway ambitions on the mostly slightly descending stage. Only at the intermediate sprint the pace increased for a short time, only to drop again immediately afterwards. Most of the riders could be seen chatting. In the slightly uphill finish sprint Wout van Aert, probably one of the most impressive riders this season, got a chance and left the sprinters around Cees Bol behind.

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© Pressesports/Bernard Papon

Wouter Poels, who has been riding with a lung contusion since a crash on the first stage, was given the honorary red number on the back. Surprisingly, there was a change in the overall standings. This is now led by Adam Yates. Alaphilippe was given a 20 second penalty for accepting a bottle within the final 20 kilometres.

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A real fighter, this guy © A.S.O./Alex Broadway
  • Yellow jersey: Adam Yates
  • Green jersey: Sam Bennett
  • Mountain jersey: Benoit Cosnefroy
  • White jersey: Tadej Pogacar
  • Team classification: EF Pro Cycling
  • Most combative rider: Wouter Poels

Stage 6 – The best of the best

Ok, maybe this title is a bit exaggerated, but the breakaway group on this stage was made up of well-known riders.

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Olympic champion Greg van Avermaet and Edvald Boasson Hagen were part of the breakaway group © A.S.O./Pauline Ballet

Still, in this group, the young American, Neilson Powless, stood out with his driving, at least to me. In the end he finished fourth, the winner was Alexey Lutsenko. The classification riders arrived united at the mountain finish of this otherwise flat stage.

  • Yellow jersey: Adam Yates
  • Green jersey: Sam Bennett
  • Mountain jersey: Benoit Cosnefroy
  • White jersey: Tadej Pogacar
  • Team classification: EF Pro Cycling
  • Most combative driver: Nicolas Roche

Stage 7 – Bora makes a ruckus

On the last day before the Pyrenees, Bora makes the race fast in the battle for green and yellow. They didn’t let any escapees get away before the first small climb and then tightened the pace enormously there. That is too fast for the sprinters and so Sam Bennett has to let go. In the connection there is a wind edge situation.

Wind edge on the seventh day of the Tour de France
From the front, the Bora team controlled stage 7 © A.S.O./Alex Broadway

There is no chance to catch up again and therefore no points today. Later on, Tadej Pogacar and Mikel Landa also lose some time on the wind edge. In the reduced peloton sprint, Peter Sagan is the favorite. However, the chain falls off at the decisive moment. Again the fast Wout van Aert triumphs and secures his sixth victory of the season.

  • Yellow jersey: Adam Yates
  • Green jersey: Peter Sagan
  • Mountain jersey: Benoit Cosnefroy
  • White jersey: Egan Bernal
  • Team classification: EF Pro Cycling
  • Most combative driver: Daniel Oss

Stage 8 – The Pyrenees Weekend

The riders have to conquer two first category and one hors category climbs today before they reach the finish after 141km. The stage is won by Nans Peters who was in the breakaway group of this Tour de France stage. Towards the end of the stage, his rivals were no longer able to follow him uphill or downhill. It’s his second Grand Tour stage win after the 2019 Giro.

Nans Peters also on track to win his first Tour de France stage
© A.S.O./Pauline Ballet

Meanwhile, the favourites for the overall victory were in high spirits. Wout Van Aert, Tom Dumoulin and the other Jumbo Visma Team riders pushed the pace for their captain Primoz Roglic. So that already some top climbers lost the connection, among them also Emanuel Buchmann. Then there were some attacks. Tadej Pogacar was able to prevail. After the loss of time the day before, that was also important. 40 seconds ahead of Yates, Bernal, Quintana and Co he reaches the final place Loudenvielle.

Egan Bernal / Winner Tour de France 2019
Last year’s winner Egan Bernal also appears to be under the weather, showing signs of weakness © A.S.O./Pauline Ballet

Buchmann, who is not really fit after his crash at the Criterium Dauphine, is doing damage limitation. Although he loses 1:03 to the top he makes up places in the classification. This is because Julian Alaphilippe loses 12 minutes and Thibaut Pinot, who has back problems, loses almost 20 minutes.

  • Yellow jersey: Adam Yates
  • Green jersey: Peter Sagan
  • Mountain jersey: Benoit Cosnefroy
  • White jersey: Egan Bernal
  • Team classification: EF Pro Cycling
  • Most combative driver: Nans Peters

Stage 9 – Full throttle into the rest day

The ninth stage was very fast. From the beginning there were many attacks, but especially Jumbo Visma did not want to let anyone drive. From a German point of view it was good to see that after a crash last Saturday, the stage winner of the Criterium Dauphine, Lennard Kämna, was much stronger than before. But it was the young Swiss Marc Hirschi, former U23 world champion, who was able to break away on his own. Behind them there was a battle of the classification riders.

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© A.S.O./Alex Broadway

Only Bernal, Landa and the two Slovenians Pogacar and Roglic made it over the last climb. With a not too big gap to Hirschi, the four of them are fighting for the stage win and valuable bonus seconds in the last kilometers. After a 90-kilometer solo in the Pyrenees, he is finally placed 1.5 kilometers before the finish. In the sprint Pogacar wins ahead of Roglic. Marc Hirschi takes a strong third place and is allowed to start Tuesday with the red back number.

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© A.S.O./Alex Broadway

The other drivers all lose a lot of time. Emanuel Buchmann has to realize that his form is not optimal and finishes 4:12 behind the leaders.

  • Yellow jersey: Primoz Roglic
  • Green jersey: Peter Sagan
  • Mountain jersey: Benoit Cosnefroy
  • White jersey: Egan Bernal
  • Team classification: Movistar Team
  • Most combative driver: Marc Hirschi

Conclusion of the first week – Tour de France 2020

On today’s rest day of the Tour de France, it’s safe to say that Primoz Roglic is currently the right rider to wear the yellow jersey. His stage win as well as the overall team performance last week clearly proved that he is this year’s favorite. Especially Wout van Aert stands out. As well as two sprint wins, the Milan-Sanremo and Strade Bianche winner has caused trouble for many a climber as a helper. As the current third-place finisher, you also have to keep an eye on him in terms of the green jersey.

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Marc Hirschi is just fun to watch, great performance in week one © A.S.O./Alex Broadway

From the German point of view, the Bora team is getting better day by day. On the one hand, this applies to Peter Sagan who has not seemed as experienced as usual so far. On the other hand, this also applies to the injured Mühlberger, Schachmann and Kämna. What Emanuel Buchmann can achieve in this Tour remains to be seen. Via Instagram he announced today that he will no longer follow the ranking from now on. He wants to win a stage in the next two weeks instead.

Roger Kluge has already won a stage as leadout with Caleb Ewan. Tony Martin is on course for the title with his Jumbo Team. Andre Greipel is currently still slowed down by injuries and antibiotics, but as an eleven-time stage winner he can never be completely ruled out for the upcoming sprint stages and the finale in Paris.

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