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Lampaert rises above Tour clouds to take yellow jersey

Belgium’s Yves Lampaert took the first yellow jersey, seven seconds ahead of defending champion Tadej Pogacar, as the 109th Tour de France started under clouds both real and metaphorical in Copenhagen.

QuickStep-Alpha Vinyl’s Lampaert won a damp and treacherous 13.2km opening time trial around the Danish capital in a time of 15 minutes 17 seconds to beat fellow Belgian Wout van Aert by five seconds, with Pogacar finishing third to make an early statement in his bid for a third consecutive title.

Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vingegaard conceded nine seconds to Pogacar, while an overdressed Geraint Thomas, who forgot to take his gilet off before the start, finished 18 seconds down on the defending champion.

Impressed

That put the Welshman third within his own team as Adam Yates and Tour debutant Tom Pidcock impressed on their return from Covid-19, finishing two and one seconds ahead of Thomas respectively.

The miserable weather did not put off thousands of fans who turned out for the Tour’s Danish debut but the conditions did sum up the mood of many after news of a major anti-doping investigation landed just hours before start.

Europol and Eurojust issued statements confirming that 14 raids at locations across Europe this week, in addition to one at the hotel of Team Bahrain-Victorious on Thursday, were part of an investigation into “possible doping allegations (against) a cycling team participating in the Tour de France”.

Bahrain-Victorious have denied any wrong-doing and insisted the timing of the investigations into the team, which also included a raid during last year’s Tour, were designed to “damage their reputation”.

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