Tour de France

Intermarché-Circus-Wanty starts the Tour on the attack

This Saturday, Intermarché-Circus-Wanty started the sixth Tour de France on the attack. Immediately after the start of this opening stage around Bilbao, the Walloon World Team participated in the attacks to join the early breakaway and it was Frenchman Lilian Calmejane who joined the good group of five riders.

Even though the peloton only gave them a maximal advantage of two minutes, Calmejane rode almost 130 kilometer in the lead. The breakaway was caught just before the fourth difficulty, the Côte de Vivero which was situated a little more than 30 kilometer before the finish. Georg Zimmermann collected three points on top of this second category climb and is currently third in the KOM classification.

The end of the stage led to a battle between the GC favourites. The peloton exploded on the Côte de Pike, with its top 12 kilometer before the finish. South African rider Louis Meintjes crossed the line in 21st position, 33 seconds behind the winner and 20 seconds later than the first group led by Tadej Pogacar.

"It was a day full emotions, I was proud to represent the team in the front to start the Tour. After two years of absence, I had goosebumps to race in front of such a crowd. With a maximal advantage of two minutes, the hopes for a stage victory were excluded. We had to enjoy and show our intentions from the first day. We want to race aggressively in this Tour."

"I took a shot on the polkadot jersey by sprinting for the five points on top of the Côte de Vivero. I knew the road continued uphill for 300 meter, so I was surprised when I saw that the line was positioned earlier. There was no room to pass Powless. It is a pity to miss the jersey with such a small margin because I had the legs to do it. But I remember the positives about this day, it was only the first stage and my feeling is excellent. I stayed for a long time with Louis Meintjes to help him accompanying the favourites as long as possible."

"We thought it was important to take a good start in this Tour de France and that this first stage was a good opportunity. Our group was sharp from the start, with Lilian Calmejane in the breakaway. Unfortunately, the leading group didn't receive a lot of freedom. Afterwards, we wanted to survive with as many men as possible in support of Biniam Girmay, Louis Meintjes and Georg Zimmermann. It is of course a pity that Georg finished so close to the KOM jersey, but I remember that we were in the mix and that the group races actively. All riders reached the finish line without any problems and Louis Meintjes managed to limit the time loss in the explosive final."

General Classification


GDPR Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner