Thomas puts time into Tour rivals as Teunissen extends race lead

Team Ineos at stage two of the Tour de France 2019

Geraint Thomas’ Ineos were riding in their first Tour team time trial – they failed to win one as Team Sky

Geraint Thomas gained time on his rivals for the overall Tour de France victory by finishing second on stage two’s team time trial with Team Ineos.

The British-based team were first out and completed the 27.6km race around Brussels in 29 minutes 18 seconds.

Jumbo-Visma won the stage by 20 seconds, so surprise stage one winner Mike Teunissen extends his race lead.

But defending champion Thomas’ team was quicker than Adam Yates, Jakob Fuglsang and Thibaut Pinot.

Yates, who rides for Mitchelton-Scott, and Astana’s Fuglsang, both finished 21 seconds slower than Ineos, who also have Egan Bernal – joint team leader with Thomas – chasing the overall win, while Pinot’s Groupama FDJ lost 12 seconds.

Ineos who never won a team time trial stage at the Tour in their former guise as Team Sky tweeted: “It wasn’t to be for the stage victory but this has to go down as a great day at the Tour de France 2019.

“We finish second in the TTT [team time trial], taking time out of a number of GC [general classification] rivals in Brussels.”

‘We joked that might happen’

Thomas, a time trial specialist, led the eight-man Ineos team down the start ramp and they set what proved to be a hugely competitive time to propel their Colombian rider Bernal up to seventh in the general classification (GC), on the same time as the Welshman who climbed 103 places to eighth.

“I lost 20 seconds to [Steven] Kruijswijk, who’s a threat as well, but with all the rest of the GC contenders we gained time, which is good,” Thomas said.

“As a team, it shows we’re in a really good place. It was just a shame to be hanging around all day to be beaten by the last team, but we joked this morning that might happen.”

It was also a good day for Britain’s Alex Dowsett, who won a record-equalling sixth national time trial title in May.

The 30-year-old helped the unfancied Swiss team Katusha-Alpecin finish fifth as he moved up to 23rd in the GC standings.

Vincenzo Nibali, the most successful Grand Tour rider in this year’s race, having won the 2014 Tour, two Giro d’Italia titles and one Vuelta a Espana, lost 16 seconds on Thomas and Bernal after his Bahrain-Merida team finished ninth.

The 34-year-old Italian, who finished second in the Giro d’Italia in June, could yet challenge in his favoured terrain when the race hits the Pyrenees and Alps in the second and third weeks.

It was also a disappointing day for Australia’s Richie Porte as his Trek-Segafredo team finished 18th of the 22 teams, one minute and 18 seconds behind Jumbo-Visma, leaving him almost a minute behind his main rivals for the yellow jersey.

Stage two result

1. Jumbo-Visma 28mins 57secs

2. Ineos +20secs

3. Deceuninck-Quick Step +21secs

4. Sunweb +26secs

5. Katusha-Alpecin Same time

6. EF Education First +28secs

7. CCC +31secs

8. Groupama-FDJ +32secs

9. Bahrain-Merida +36secs

10. Astana +41secs

General classification after stage two

1. Michael Teunissen (Ned/Jumbo-Visma) 4hrs 51mins 34secs

2. Wout van Aert (Bel/Jumbo-Visma) +10secs

3. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned/Jumbo-Visma) Same time

4. Tony Martin (Ger/Jumbo-Visma)

5. George Bennett (NZ/Jumbo-Visma)

6. Gianni Moscon (Ita/Ineos) +30secs

7. Egan Bernal (Col/Ineos) Same time

8. Geraint Thomas (GB/Ineos)

9. Dylan van Baarle (Ned/Ineos)

10. Elia Viviani (Ita/Deceuninck-Quick Step) +31secs

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