Roglic acts as patron

Kristoff wins the opening stage on the sprint and becomes the first yellow jersey, but the Slovenian led the pack to stop the falls.


Alexander Kristoff, the 33-year-old Viking, who already won the stages in 2014 and 2018, won the sprint in Nice and became the first yellow jersey of this atypical Tour, of a 107th edition that should have started two months ago , but was pushed by the pandemic at the gates of September. The UCI led a flight forward, to gain time, with a new calendar focused on three months. Paradoxically, the old dates would have been safer than the new ones. Who would have thought. On this August 29, France is in full growth, with the data triggered, and the Alpes-Maritimes, the department that hosts the Grand Depart, have been declared a red zone.

On the day before, they didn't talk about anything else. Will there be positives for coronavirus? How many teams will finish the race? Will the Tour arrive in Paris? But once the competition started, the debate was over. The inherent risks of cycling replaced fear of the pandemic. They will meditate on it again in the hotel. The extremely slippery summer rain in vacation areas created numerous dangerous situations. The most affected was Pavel Sivakov, the third man from Ineos. Also his partner Amador. Bad start for Bernal's guard. In addition to Porte, the candidate who always appears in the bets and never on the podium. And Pinot. And Alaphilippe. And Buchmann. And López. And Soler. And Nairo. And De la Cruz. And Snow. And Rojas. And Valls, who broke a clavicle ... A storm of falls.

The fear of losing the race in the first sets sounded the alert among the bosses of the great French, especially in the Jumbo-Visma, the team aspiring to the throne of the shaken Ineos. Tony Martin, hardened in a thousand battles, took the lead, put out his winged arms as if to fly, and slowed the pace of the stage. All of the hand. In cycling there is a figure called 'pattern', which usually coincides with the leader or the top favorite. Here, theoretically, the role of skipper corresponds to number 1, Egan Bernal, the current champion. But in practice, Primoz Roglic assumed those stripes to tell other colleagues how to run. Piano, piano.

Without clear authority, Astana poked his head to show their disagreement. "We do not stop", communicated Gorka Izagirre. And Omar Fraile tensed the group on the way down to break the truce. It didn't last long. The Kazakh team was about to eliminate their own leader of the ranks, Superman López, who lost control and swallowed a signal. Karma, some will say. So the rebellion was soon put down. Roglic dedicated a few words to Friar, by way of spanking. And back to the walk. The platoon decided to confine themselves to the threat. A good recipe to avoid falls. And to lose fans. In the middle of the trotting descent, Karma changed the curb and hit the Jumbo team. George Bennett, another third man, was involved in an accident at a speed where it seems impossible to fall, unless the road was effectively impassable, or the slow pace betrays concentration.

When the die seemed cast, already in the streets of Nice, karma decided to continue with its antics and was primed with half a platoon under the three-kilometer banner, the technical zone where times are no longer counted. Among the victims was Thibout Pinot, who was caught in a tremendous anger, and Marc Soler, who repeated a visit to the asphalt. The montonera recalled that cycling is a risky sport. And that falls also occur dry. And even when stopped.

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