Michal Kwiatkowski says it all...
Düsseldorf - Düsseldorf
Tour de France - 1 July 2017
Tour de France – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 23:15 on 1 July 2017. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Confirmation of the victory - and yellow jersey - for Geraint Thomas of Team Sky. He wins today's ITT in a time of 16:04 - five seconds quicker than Stefan Kung (BMC) and seven seconds better than his team-mate Vasil Kiryienka.
Chris Froome sets a time of 16:16 which sets him up nicely for the rest of the race: he hasn't won this stage - that prize goes to Geraint Thomas, his team-mate - but he's well up on all his rivals today.
Not a bad effort from Pierre Latour, who comes home at 16:29. Excellent from the French national TT champion. Just one man out there now... Froome.
We haven't seen anything of Alberto Contador - but here he is on the home straight, and it's practically the same time as Aru: 16:57. So the Spaniard will be well down on Thomas on GC tonight... and then Quintana comes, and he's five seconds quicker than his rival, Contador.
Here's Fabio Aru and he's close to the 17-minute mark so he will concede the best part of a minute today. And he's almost caught by Stefan Kung of BMC, who comes home in 16:09 - just five seconds slower than Thomas. There's a sigh of relief from the Welshman in the finish zone. He's looking good for the yellow jersey.
Froome was 9 seconds down at the first check. A solid start for the defending champion.
Quintana is 26 seconds down on Martin at the first check so it's a question of damage limitation for the Colombian.
Good ride from Stefan Kung who is just one second down on Martin's target time at the first intermediate check. It's not yet in the bag for Thomas.
So, it's still Thomas in the hot seat ahead of Kiryienka +7, Martin +8, Trentin +10 and Kwiatkowski +15.
Big effort from Marcel Kittel who posts the seventh best time at the finish at 16 seconds. He'll be favourite now to take the yellow jersey tomorrow - provided he wins the stage and picks up the 10-second bonus.
Martin was one second up at the first check after 8km but appeared to fade over the return leg of this ITT. And it's all smiles for Thomas in the winner's enclosure.
It's not going to be a victory for Tony Martin, who comes home eight seconds down on Thomas it seems...
We're hearing that Primoz Roglic also took a tumble - at least the third LottoNL-Jumbo rider to crash today. They're clearly running their slick tyres on a wet weather day.
Chris Froome is under way! The last rider to leave the start ramp for this sodden ITT. Will he push it or, like Richie Porte, play it safe?
Nairo Quintana rolls down the ramp - just as news comes in that his Movistar team-mate Alejandro Valverde is out of the Tour following that crash.
Off goes Alberto, wearing shin-high grey compression socks...
Fabio Aru of Astana gets his ITT going. Just Kung, Contador, Quintana, Latour and Froome after him. Cummings, Demare and Meintjes have just all left...
And here's Porte finishing his time trial - and he's a huge 49 seconds down on Thomas. We missed most of his run because of the fall-out from the Valverde incident. Also, Primoz Roglic is apparently on course too. Only 10 riders left to start now...
Richie Porte came through the first check 22 seconds down on Kwiatkowski's target time - so the Australian is throwing no caution to the wind (or rain). Still, best lose time but stay up than push things and crash badly. Just ask Valverde. We still have no news on the Spaniard.
Tony Martin, the world time trial champion, rolls down the ramp. He's the big favourite for today - but anything can happen in such foul weather.
This would be a terrible blow to the race if Valverde was forced out so early in the race - and what a set-back for Movistar and Nairo Quintana, too. Let's keep our fingers crossed, but it looked bad for the Spaniard.
CRASH: And a bad one. It's Alejandro Valverde who hits the deck on the same corner that did for Tony Gallopin - but it's his impact with the barriers that did the damage. The Movistar veteran is still prone after bashing his knee badly. His race may be over.
Dan Martin (QuickStep Floors) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) are both eight seconds down at the first check, which isn't bad in these conditions.
Fifth best time for Josh van Emden of LottoNL-Jumbo. The Dutchman won the decisive ITT in the Giro but didn't have enough speed today in this wet weather. Thomas stays in the lead ahead of Kiryienka, Trentin and Kwiatkowski.
Alejandro Valverde the next rider to roll down the ramp. He's had a wonderful season to date, although he wasn't his usual sprightly self in the Dauphine.
Richie Porte (BMC) is on the course. The Australian goes into this Tour as many people's big favourite for yellow following his stellar start to the season. He has a tendency to flirt with bad luck - so he will need not to shoot himself in the foot today...
With the rain pounding down, Bardet comes home 51 seconds down on Kiryienka - but who's that behind him? It's Geraint Thomas of Team Sky, who almost catches his minute-man and has zipped into the lead with stealth. We had no cameras on the Welshman, but he's only gone and bettered Kiryienka's time by seven seconds. Three Sky riders in the top four now.
ANOTHER CRASH: This time it's Tony Gallopin of Lotto Soudal who loses control on a wet corner, slides, slips, then ramps into a barrier. Not a good start to the Frenchman's Tour. Such a fine line to get the right amount of speed into these corners.
Fulgsang playing it safe: he's 46 seconds down at the finish and so will be behind quite a few of his GC rivals tomorrow. Van Avermaet follows soon after, 34 seconds down on the leader Kiryienka.
Here comes Simon Yates of Orica-Scott. We didn't see the British rider get his time trial under way earlier, nor have the cameras lingered on him during his effort. It's a solid time for the 24-year-old, who comes home 29 seconds down. He caught compatriot Mark Cavendish on the home straight, too.
Philippe Gilbert sets the 10th best time some 22 seconds down on Vasil Kiryienka. The Sky rider still leads with his time of 16:11 ahead of Trentin +3, Kwiatkowski +8, Arndt +9 and Grivko +10.
Here's a reply of that Bennett crash earlier...
First of the big GC favourites now as Romain Bardet (Ag2R-La Mondiale) rolls down the ramp. The Frenchman was runner-up last season.
Jonathan Castroviejo came home 13 seconds down on Kiryienka for the seventh best provisional time.
After his crash, Bennett came through the first intermediate check 1:04 down on Kwiatkowski. The New Zealander is going to be starting this Tour very much off the back foot.
The big-name riders are leaving thick and fast now: the latest is the Olympic gold medallist, Greg van Avermaet of BMC.
Down the ramp rolls Jakob Fuglsang of Denmark - the winner of the Criterium du Dauphine who just recently signed a new two-year contract with Astana. It remains to be seen if Fuglsang or Fabio Aru is going to be the team's main man this July - perhaps they will let the road hierarchy decide.
CRASH: George Bennett goes down hard on a white line after a tight bend. These slippery roads are really picking off their victims - and the New Zealander is the second LottoNL-Jumbo to hit the deck after Groenewegen. Bennett needs a bike change after it slams into the barriers - and the mechanic himself almost slips over when pushing Bennett off.
Down the ramp rolls Mark Cavendish of Dimension Data. The British rider has won 30 stages on the Tour and trails Eddy Merckx's all time record by just four wins... He won four stages last year, so perhaps we'll see a changing of the guard this July? It's going to be tough, though: Cavendish has missed most of the season to glandular fever.
Spanish national champion Jonathan Castroviejo is five seconds down on Michal Kwiatkowski's target time at the first check.
An update on Bevin's crash...
Crashes today include Paddy Bevin of Cannondale, Dylan Groenewegen of LottoNL-Jumbo, Nico Roche of BMC and Scott Thwaites of Dimension Data. There have been more than that, though, and there will be more, I'm sure.
Andrew Talansky of Cannondale-Drapac set a time of 16:53, that's 42 seconds in arrears. The American missed last year's Tour to give the Vuelta a pop. This isn't really his territory, so we will see more of him come the mountains.
That man Kwiatkowski crosses the line to complete his ITT - and it's good, very good, but not enough. The Pole is eight seconds behind his team-mate Kiryienka and five seconds behind Trentin. It's third place for Kwiatkowski.
Talking of Kwiatkowski, the Pole is on course now for Team Sky - and he's being followed by his team-mate Chris Froome in the team car. The defending champion is clearly doing a recce of the course ahead of his own effort, in just over an hour's time.
We have 12 national time trial champions riding in this year's Tour: Jack Bauer (New Zealand), Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland), Tsgabu Grmay (Ethiopia), Darly Impey (South Africa), Jarlinson Pantano (Colombia), Jonathan Castroviejo (Spain), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway), Ignatas Konovalovas (Lithuania), Marcus Burghardt (Germany), Steve Cummings (Britain), Stefan Kung (Switzerland) and Pierre Latour (France).
Germany's John Degenkolb rolls down the ramp to cheers from the home crowd. He's never won a stage on the Tour and will be looking to put in a solid time today ahead of those sprint stages coming up. Degenkolb is one of 16 German riders in this year's Tour. Oh, and forgive out dated icon: Trek-Segafredo have also switched to a white jersey for the Tour, so they won't be riding in their usual red and black.
Apologies for the black Sky jersey icon: the team has switched to a limited edition white jersey for this Tour, but our designers clearly didn't get the memo. Kiryienka was fastest at the opening check by four seconds and then that lead came down just the one second over the second half of the race of truth.
Vasil Kiryienka of Team Sky - a former world ITT champion - is pushing hard as he swings onto the home straight, and it could be the best time for the Belarusian. He's overtaken his minute-man and here he comes... and yes, it's the best time by three seconds. It's worth adding that he slipped a bit earlier on at the start, which would have given him the jitters - especially after he crashed in the ITT in May's Giro.
Matteo Trentin: "It's the first time in my life that I've set the best time in a time trial - I can't believe it. My shape is really good. I've used this stage to pull my body into the red zone ahead of the sprint stages. We are in for it tomorrow [with Marcel Kittel]."
But not for that much longer! Italy's Matteo Trentin (Quick-Step Floors) comes home to take the lead by six seconds over Arndt. Trentin was three seconds quicker than Grivko's target time at the first check, and then kept it up to the finish. A great effort from the experienced Italian, who tomorrow will be part of Marcel Kittel's lead-out train.
Here comes Peter Sagan on the home straight... and he's missed out on the fastest time by nine seconds. So, Nikias Arndt keeps hold of the provisional yellow jersey for a while longer.
Sagan goes through the first check point just four seconds down on Grivko, so the world champion (on the road, not in ITT) is going well.
Peter Sagan rolls down the ramp - and it will be interesting to see how the showman from Slovakia fares today. A solid time and he may be able to take the yellow jersey early next week thanks to some wins and bonus seconds...
Thibaut Pinot comes home in a time of 16:54 which is 34 seconds slower than the current leader, Nikias Arndt of Team Sunweb. The Frenchman not taking any chances out there today.
We're hearing the Britain's Scott Thwaites of Dimension Data hit the deck during his ride and came home with a fair bit of road rash. Not the best start to his debut Tour, it seems.
Rafal Majka of Bora-Hansgrohe comes home and it's a fairly solid time for the Polish climber who, this year, and free from the shackles of supporting former team-mate Alberto Contador, has a chance to ride for GC. Majka comes home 31 seconds down on the leader, Nikias Arndt.
Frenchman Thibault Pinot rolls down the ramp - he's the first big name GC rider to enter the fray, although having ridden the Giro in May, the FDJ climber is apparently not targeting the maillot jaune this year and instead will go for stages and, perhaps, the polka dot jersey.
It's worth adding that Arndt was four seconds down on Grivko at the first check but then found five seconds in his legs over the second half.
We have a new leader: Germany's Nikias Arndt (Team Sunweb) shaves one second off Grivko's target time. That's a nice present for the home fans, who are braving the rain out there to watch the world's biggest bike race come to town.
CRASH: Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) slips over onto his backside and slides along the road into the barriers. Not the greatest start for the Dutchman, who has been tipped to win a maiden Tour stage win in one of the sprints...
Here's the moment Andrey Grivko set the best time...
Belgium's Thomas de Gendt is the latest rider to come home - and the Lotto Soudal man ships an entire minute to provisional leader Grivko. He has bigger fish to fry, mind. Namely a stage win in the mountains or the polka dot jersey, perhaps...
One of the big favourites today is Tony Martin, the German rider who helped out designing the course. He's world champion in this discipline, and the obvious choice for the win today - although the weather may throw a cat among the pigeons.
We failed to mention that it is Elie Gesbert's birthday today: the first rider down the ramp this afternoon turns 22 today. What a birthday present being the man to get this Tour started.
CRASH: We didn't see it, but Nathan Brown - one of four Cannondale riders making their Tour debut - hit the deck on one of the tight corners. He'll be the first of many, we expect.
Just to give you a market, Grivko's time was over two minutes quicker than Bouhanni's time. The Frenchman is slowest so far - clearly keeping himself fresh for tomorrow's first sprint.
Monster time for Andrey Grivko of Astana, who sets the first proper benchmark today. The Ukraine rider really gave it some welly out there, going hell for leather on the home straight to beat Colbrelli's target time by 15 seconds. Grivko had 12 seconds on the Italian and Tim Wellens of Lotto Soudal at the first check, and then took a further few seconds on the second part of the ITT. New target time: 16:21 (with both Wellens and Colbrelli +15 back).
Some notable start times today: Peter Sagan at 15:31, Vasil Kiryienka at 15:42, Michal Kwiatkowski at 16:04, Jonathan Castroviejo at 16:24, Mark Cavendish at 16:39, Greg van Avermaet at 16:44, Romain Bardet at 16:46, Geraint Thomas at 16:47, Jos van Emden at 16:54, Richie Porte at 17:06, Primoz Roglic at 17:16, Tony Martin at 17:20, Marcel Kittel at 17:22, Steve Cummings at 17:23, Fabio Aru at 17:27, Alberto Contador at 17:29, Nairo Quintana at 17:30 and Chris Froome at 15:32.
The riders are coming home in quick succession now: and it's that man Colbrelli who has the lead. His time of 16:36 is 34 seconds quicker than Nathan Brown of Cannondale-Drapac and 48 seconds quicker than Gesbert.
Just a reminder that the first check point today comes after 8.1km at Konigsallee. Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Merida) currently has the best time there: 9:39 - some 22 seconds quicker than Gesbert.
We have a target time: Gesbert completes the 14km course to set a time of 17:24.
It's worth mentioning that Elie Gesbert almost made a right hash of his first Tour - what a heartbreaking start that would have been to the 2017 Tour.
Bouhanni takes that U-bend before the bridge extremely gingerly - no surprise: it's raining heavily and there's a painted red section that looks really, really slippery. I guarantee that at least one rider will hit the deck there today...
The riders are rolling down the ramp thick and fast now, with sprinter Nacer Bouhanni of Cofidis the biggest name so far to enter the fray. He'll just hope to stay upright so he can contend for the opening sprint tomorrow...
Not the most auspicious start of the race, what with this rain and fog...
We're off! French rookie Elie Gesbert gets the 104th edition of the Tour under way as he rolls down the ramp. What an honour for the 22 year old making his Grand Tour debut... he's the youngest rider in the race.
Here's what the riders have in store today: some very long straights, two crossings of the river Rhine, a technical loop off one of the bridges, 10 tight 90-degree bends, one even tighter 300-degree bends onto the first bridge...
Riders are going off at one-minute intervals today - starting Elie Gesbert of Team Fortuneo-Oscaro at 14:15 BST, so just 10 minutes from now... The last rider down the ramp will be defending champion Chris Froome of Team Sky, at 17:32, so it's a fair wait until we catch a glimpse of the triple Tour champion in action.
So, after all a long wait and after all the sizzling build up, here we are for the 104th edition of the Grande Boucle and... it's raining. Things have eased up a little since this morning - when it was really cats and dogs - but the wet conditions are going to make it difficult for the riders out there, with with around eight or nine slippery bends to negotiate on this fast but occasionally technical, and almost pan-flat course.
Bonjour le Tour! Hello and welcome to our live coverage of stage 1 of the 2017 Tour de France - kicking off with a 14km time trial in Dusseldorf in Germany.