Despite the thick Cornish ‘mizzle’, the streets of the town were lined with throngs of people hoping to catch a glimpse of the riders as they sped through. There was a lovely community atmosphere as people gathered at the roadside and chatted as they waited, something that few of us have had the opportunity to do very much of over the last 18 months.
The tour, which had to be re-scheduled from last year, started with a 180.8 km stage from Penzance, through Hayle, along a route which also featured St. Just, St. Ives, Carbis Bay, Redruth, Falmouth, Truro, Newquay and St. Austell.
The first stage concluded with an uphill finish in Bodmin, taking in three third-category climbs along the way, and is the toughest opening stage in modern race history.
On the approach to Bodmin, the WorldTour teams fought for control of the peloton, although ultimately it was Van Aert who dominated, crossing the line with at least a bike length between him and the competition.