Samuel Petrequin and John Leicester Associated Press Published 5:56 PM EDT Jul 6, 2019 Brussels — Apart from the celebrations of Eddy Merckx’s first victory at the Tour de France half a century ago, nothing went according to plans on the race opening day. In cycling-mad Belgium, defending champion Geraint Thomas was caught in a crash Saturday and toppled over his handlebars in the finale of the first stage. The race leader’s yellow jersey ended on the shoulders of a relatively unknown rider who switched from zealous teammate to ace sprinter. After the pile-up tore the peloton apart and played havoc with sprinters’ teams, Mike Teunissen posted the biggest win of his career with an unexpected yet remarkable stage win at the expense of former world champion Peter Sagan, the king of sprints in recent years at the Tour. Caleb Ewan, an up-and-coming sprinter, took third place on the finish line in Brussels. The first days of the Tour are always tense and marred by race incidents, and this year’s race is not going to be any different. “The finale was not dangerous,” Teunissen said after an impressive burst of power in the final meters that allowed him to pip… Read full this story
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