Evenepoel uncorks vintage ride in Burgundy time trial

Race-against-the-clock specialist Remco Evenepoel delivered an impressive display of power and precision to win the Tour de France's first time trial, leaving behind all other contenders for the yellow jersey including race leader Tadej Pogacar.

Despite a small problem with his bike close to the finish that cost him a few seconds, the Tour debutant mastered the 25km stage in Burgundy wine country to post his first win at cycling's biggest race in a dominant fashion.

Evenepoel clocked 28min, 52sec to beat Pogacar by 12sec, according to provisional results. Primoz Roglic was third, 34sec off the pace.

Evenepoel stayed in second place in the general classification, 33sec behind Pogacar. Two-time defending champion Jonas Vingegaard was third overall, 1:15 behind.

Evenepoel won the worlds time trial last year and the road race in 2022 but needed surgery this season after breaking a collar bone and shoulder blade in a crash at the Tour of Basque Country.

The two-time world champion and 2022 Spanish Vuelta champion will lead Belgium's men's team in road cycling at the Paris Olympics.

The stage took riders on forest roads and through vineyards on a mostly flat terrain. The short climb of the Côte de Curtil-Vergy after 12km added a dose of pain on the way to the finish in Gevrey-Chambertin.

Tucked in a perfect aerodynamic position, Evenepoel went all out in the descent, reaching the impressive speed of 85kph. He slowed down with about 2.5km left, thinking he had a puncture, but quickly realised everything was fine and resumed his effort.

"I thought I was getting a flat tyre. I panicked a little bit but I only lost four, five seconds there," said Evenepoel.

"However it's a dream come true, it was a big goal for me and for the team. It's crazy, I don't think it has sunk in yet."

Pogacar said: "I'm pretty happy with my performance today. I was cooked on the climb but then I regained some pace.

"I'm more confident after the Giro and I see that I can be better than at the Giro. Last year I lost 1:38 on Jonas (in a time trial), today I gained 25 seconds, for me it's really good but Remco showed he was not the TT world champion by chance."

Australia's Michael Matthews was 26th, 1:55 behind, with Jai Hindley two places back. Hindley is the leading Australian in the classification, in 19th, 6:24 behind Pogacar.

There will be a second time-trial on the final day of the race on July 21, a 34km trek between Monaco and Nice.

Saturday's Stage 8 will take the peloton on a hilly ride to Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises, the home and final resting place of former French President Charles de Gaulle.