Frank van den Broek and Romain Bardet celebrate their 1-2 finish on stage 1 of the 2024 Tour de France. Both their arms are spread wide as they gesture to each other. Bardet is slightly ahead, and both have big smiles.

TdF stage 1 report: Bardet takes the first yellow jersey for France on tumultuous opening day

A brutal stage 1 resulted in victory for Romain Bardet in his final Tour de France as Mark Cavendish endured a battle with sickness and the time cut.

Kit Nicholson
by Kit Nicholson 29.06.2024 Photography by
Cor Vos
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The Tour de France is underway, and the opening stage from Firenze to the coastal town of Rimini had no shortage of drama. One of the bigger stories of the day was the struggle of Mark Cavendish whose storied quest for stage win 35 looked under threat already as the Manxman suffered with sickness through the hot and hilly terrain, but in the end, the day belonged to Romain Bardet and DSM-Firmenich PostNL.

The Frenchman put in a bold attack from the bunch a little over 50 km from the line, and soon bridged up to his teammate Frank van den Broek in the remains of the breakaway. The pair then embarked on a two-up time trial to the finish where they enjoyed a memorable one-two five seconds ahead of the reduced peloton, also taking the first yellow jersey of the Tour – for France.

Stage 1 top 10


Christophe Laporte and Jonas Vingegaard wearing ice vests on the podium at sign-on before stage 1 of the 2024 Tour de France.
It was hot, really hot. All eight of Visma-Lease a Bike’s riders headed to sign-on wearing ice vests which they opened only briefly to show off their jerseys. It was not a measure taken by everyone, and some would pay a heavy price for the heat later in the day.

Quotes of the day

It was just pure cycling. We are just two mates on the bike riding as fast as we can and going through pain. We knew it would be hard in the last 15 km, but we got more confident as we went further and further. You keep looking back and see the peloton coming but you don’t really have time to think about anything. It’s a total effort. It brings so much more because it was the only way we could do it today. I say we because he won as much as me today.”

Romain Bardet said of his and Frank van den Broek’s efforts in the post-stage press conference, still in his shiny new yellow jersey.

It wasn’t an absolutely perfect day for DSM-firmenich PostNL as their bus never made it out of Florence, and then Fabio Jakobsen struggled almost as much as Cav, but as far as plans for the stage go, they couldn’t have asked for much more. Especially with their young debutant in such a pivotal role.

At the end of the Giro, me and Romain, we sat up until one in the morning talking about how we come into the Tour, how we approach the Tour, and we said we wanted to hit the ground running. Romain prepared for this first weekend. We really thought, yeah, we think we can take yellow, maybe today, maybe tomorrow, but we’re going to go all in for it. He went home, put the hard work in, and I think today was unbelievable.”

DSM sport director Matt Winston told media at the finish.
Romain Bardet wearing the yellow jersey on the podium after winning stage 1 of the 2024 Tour de France.
A first time for the last time.

It looked close to becoming one at times, especially when UAE Team Emirates starting smashing the pace on the climbs, but in the end all that was left were the leftovers. Crucially, all stayed safe on the sometimes narrow twisty lanes and multiple descents, and Visma-Lease a Bike’s leaders passed their first significant test, including Tour debutant Matteo Jorgenson in support of Jonas Vingegaard.

It was different [than what we expected] for sure. We expected UAE to really take it on for Tadej, but the race was quite hard – everyone lost a lot of guys early and we had to make a play. Wout is feeling good and I’m super happy to hear that. He was really confident in himself. I’m glad we started riding – we’re here to win races. I don’t know what UAE’s plan was – but it seemed like they lost some guys too early and realized they didn’t have enough to control the rest of the stage. That happens.”

Jorgenson said after stage 1 having finished safely in the lead group with Van Aert (3rd) and Vingegaard (16th).

Brief analysis

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