Mike Teunissen of the Netherlands, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, finishes stage 2 of the Tour de France time trial from Brussels Royal Palace to Brussels Atomium, July 7 2019. Picture: REUTERS/CHRISTIAN HARTMANN
Mike Teunissen of the Netherlands, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, finishes stage 2 of the Tour de France time trial from Brussels Royal Palace to Brussels Atomium, July 7 2019. Picture: REUTERS/CHRISTIAN HARTMANN

Brussels — Dutchman Mike Teunissen clung on to the yellow jersey for another day as his Jumbo-Visna team powered to victory in the Tour de France’s second stage on Sunday, a 27.6km team time trial on the streets of Brussels.

It had looked as though Team Ineos, with defending Tour champion Geraint Thomas leading them home, had done enough to lay down an ominous marker, but Jumbo-Visna, the last team to start, obliterated their rivals with a show of power.

With the extra motivation of keeping Teunissen, the first Dutchman to don the yellow jersey since 1989, in the overall lead, the eight Jumbo-Visna riders hammered around the city streets to beat the British outfit by 20sec.

Three of their riders were dropped but Teunissen and teammates Steven Kruijswijk, George Bennett, Wout van Aert and Tony Martin roared across the line next to the city’s iconic Atomium landmark in 28min 58sec.

“Yesterday it was a dream come true, and it’s the case today again,” 26-year-old Teunissen, who surprisingly won Saturday’s bunch sprint, said. “We went hard from the start. Everybody kept their pace. We heard we were the fastest. It gave us a lot of morale. We were flying.”

While it was hard for the Ineos team to lose the time trial at the death, it was still a productive day for Thomas and co-leader Egan Bernal, who put chunks of time between themselves and some of their general classification (GC) rivals.

Frenchman Romain Bardet (AG2R-Mondiale) lost 59sec on the Ineos duo although he will still feel he can claw that damage back when the road goes up.

Australian Richie Porte will be disappointed after his Trek-Segafredo team finished 58sec slower than Ineos. Others will be happy to have limited their losses, however.

Jakob Fuglsang, who suffered a heavy crash on Saturday, lost only 21sec on Thomas and Bernal as his Astana team produced a solid time trial while former Tour champion Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain) lost only 16sec. French hope Thibaut Pinot might be best pleased though after his Groupama FDJ team lost only 12sec to Ineos.

After two days in Belgium the race moves into France on Monday with a 215km trek from Binche to Epernay when Teunissen  will be confident of retaining the overall lead. Jumbo-Visna riders occupy the top five places in the GC.

Reuters