• Geraint Thomas' pain-wracked expression as he nears the finish of Stage 1 (AFP)Source: AFP
A wet day in Dusseldorf wasn't enough to dampen the party atmosphere as the Tour de France kicked off with a Stage 1 time trial victory and yellow jersey for Geraint Thomas (Team Sky).
2 Jul 2017 - 3:12 AM  UPDATED 2 Jul 2017 - 5:22 AM

The Welshman had come to the Tour as a super-domestique for Chris Froome (Team Sky) but it was his time to shine in the bleak weather that plagued the first stage of the race.

The rain made for wet and slippery roads, with the bends having to be negotiated with care to avoid losing traction and falling. Most managed to stay upright, though others weren't as lucky. 

The biggest casualty of the day was Alejandro Valverde, who went down hard on a corner, sliding hard into the barriers and staying prostrate on the road. The 37-year-old would have been hoping to continue his superb early season form, but ended his Tour de France being taken to hospital with a suspected fracture in his leg.

Valverde out of Tour after Stage 1 TT crash
Alejandro Valverde, a key team-mate of one of the race favourites, Nairo Quintana, is out of the Tour de France after crashing during the opening time trial.

Simon Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac) was lucky to not also hit the deck as he narrowly avoided a crashed motorbike out on course.

Sprinter Dylan Groenewegen (Lotto NL-Jumbo) crashed and slid, but was back up immediately. 

George Bennet (Lotto NL- Jumbo) would have been hoping for similar sensations to his successful run on the Tour of California final stage, where he catapulted himself into the race lead. Unfortunately the Kiwi was another victim of the wet conditions, hitting the tarmac at speed before getting straight back on the bike.

Another casualty was Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) who crashed hard, and may have been fortunate that he was able to continue, given the similarities with Valverde's fall.

Stage 1 Winners
Julian ALAPHILIPPE
Julian
ALAPHILIPPE
Michael MATTHEWS
Michael
MATTHEWS
Primož ROGLIČ
Primož
ROGLIČ
Ide SCHELLING
Ide
SCHELLING

As it happened

Andriy Grivko (Astana) set the early pace in Dusseldorf, but his time was soon overhauled as the bigger names came out to play in the miserable conditions.

Thomas set a scintillating time out on course, with a time of 16 minutes and four seconds besting the mark of former world champion Vasil Kiryienka (Team Sky) by over seven seconds to move into the top spot. 

His time withstood the challenge of the remaining riders, with local favourite Tony Martin (Katusha failing in his attempt to take a win in the Tour's return to Germany, slipping to fourth on the day, eight seconds adrift of Thomas.

Stefan Kung (BMC Racing) went closest to the Welshman's time in his Tour de France debut, finishing just five seconds off the win and showing that he's both a star of the future and the present.  

Froome and Sky establish early lead in battle for yellow

Team Sky had more than just the stage victory and yellow jersey to celebrate after the first stage as Chris Froome also put himself in a very strong position against his general classification rivals.

Froome finished well up on most of the threats to his Tour de France title defense, taking 35 seconds lead on Richie Porte (BMC Racing), with most other favourites even further behind.

Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) kept his general classification hopes in good order with a strong showing, but Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Daniel Martin (QuickStep Floors), Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale), Fabio Aru (Astana), Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) will all know that they start on the back foot in their bid to topple Froome.

Tour Leaders
Julian ALAPHILIPPE
Julian
ALAPHILIPPE
Julian ALAPHILIPPE
Julian
ALAPHILIPPE
Ide SCHELLING
Ide
SCHELLING
Tadej POGAČAR
Tadej
POGAČAR
View Overall Standings