Romain Bardet has launched himself into the forefront of the 2024 Tour de France with a spectacular victory in the opening stage, marking a historic start as the race commences in Italy for the very first time. The 206-kilometre route from Florence to Rimini presented a gruelling challenge with seven classified climbs and scorching temperatures reaching up to 36 degrees Celsius, testing the mettle of all contenders.

The day’s action began with an early breakaway that included DSM-Firmenich PostNL’s Frank van den Broek, who would later prove crucial in Bardet’s triumphant ride. As the race progressed through the Tuscan landscape, Bardet seized the opportunity to bridge across to the leading group with a strategic move on the Coté de San Leo, about 48.7 kilometres from the finish. This decisive acceleration split the pack and set the stage for the thrilling finale.

Joined by van den Broek, Bardet demonstrated exceptional synergy and determination as they tackled the challenging terrain and maintained their lead amidst relentless pursuit from the peloton. The duo’s collaboration was pivotal in withstanding the pressure exerted by chasing teams, notably Visma-Lease A Bike and Lidl-Trek, who attempted to reel them in during the final stages.

“We knew it would be hard in the last 15km, but we gained more confidence as we pushed further,” Bardet reflected after the race. “Frank and I communicated effectively, and we understood that our only option was to give it our all.”

The final kilometres saw Bardet and van den Broek clinging to a slim lead as they approached the Lungomare Giuseppe di Vittorio in Rimini. Despite the peloton closing in, their unwavering determination and strategic play enabled them to secure a memorable one-two finish, with Bardet crossing the line first to claim not only the stage victory but also the coveted yellow jersey.

“It’s hard to describe. I couldn’t really dream to achieve something like this,” Bardet expressed with emotion. “Today, we raced as a team and gave everything. Frank played a crucial role, and I owe this victory to our collective effort.”

Van den Broek, making his Tour de France debut, echoed Bardet’s sentiments, describing the day as an unforgettable experience. “We executed our plan perfectly. Romain made the jump when it mattered most, and I did my part to support him,” he said. “The final stretch was gruelling, but we remained focused on our goal.”

Team DSM-Firmenich PostNL’s coach Matt Winston praised the team’s strategic approach and resilience throughout the stage. “We were active from the start and committed to our plan,” Winston noted. “Frank’s performance was outstanding, especially considering it’s his first Tour. His contribution alongside Bardet’s leadership was instrumental in securing this victory.”

The opening stage also saw notable performances and challenges across the peloton. Defending champion Jonas Vingegaard successfully navigated the demanding course, showcasing resilience following his recovery from injury earlier in the year. Meanwhile, Belgian rider Wout van Aert impressed with a third-place finish, highlighting his return to form after overcoming setbacks earlier in the season.

In contrast, British sprinter Mark Cavendish faced a tough day on the saddle, struggling on the climbs and enduring physical strain in the challenging conditions. Despite setbacks, Cavendish and his team displayed determination, ultimately finishing within the time limit.

29/06/2024 - Tour de France 2024 - Étape 1 - Florence / Rimini (206 km) - BARDET Romain (TEAM DSM-FIRMENICH POSTNL)

2024 Tour de France Stage 1 result

Results powered by FirstCycling.com

All Photo Credits: ASO – Billy Cuesters & Charly Lopez