5 Jul 2015

Australian wins Tour de France opener

1:19 pm on 5 July 2015

A heatwave was no sweat for Tour de France stage one winner Rohan Dennis as the Australian blasted round the 13.8-kilometre individual time trial like greased lightning.

Rohan Dennis on the podium

Rohan Dennis on the podium Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The BMC Racing Team rider outclassed some of the pre-stage favourites to claim the yellow jersey, clocking an astonishing 55.446 kph average speed -- a new Tour record.

While others flagged in the ferocious heat and humidity in Utrecht, Dennis found it very much to his liking on his way to a time of 14 minutes 56 seconds.

"Growing up in Adelaide everyone knows that when it comes to the Tour Down Under it's always going to be a hot week," he told reporters in the Dutch city where huge crowds braved temperatures in the mid 30s Celsius.

"I've been specific about my training, training between 2 and 5pm and that allowed me to get used to the heat.

"I've been training in 35 and 40 degrees to adapt. That was the plan of my team and my coach, so as not to come in blind."

Germany's Tony Martin finished five seconds behind in second place.

Spain's Alberto Contador, bidding to complete a Giro/Tour double, finished nearly a minute behind Dennis but lost no significant time to his main General Classification rivals.

Golden Bay's Jack Bauer was the highest placed of the two New Zealanders in the field with a time of 16 minutes and 7 seconds for Team Cannondale-Garmin.

His compatriot Greg Henderson was 11 seconds back for Lotto-Soudal.

Greg Henderson, Tour de France, 2015.

Greg Henderson, Tour de France, 2015. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The first black African to ride the Tour de France, Daniel Teklehaimanot, was given the honour of being the first of the 198 riders to set off.

The 26-year-old is part of debut-making team MTN Qhubeka, the first African pro-cycling outfit to line up in the world's greatest race.

The Eritrean, one of 17 children, is not just making up the numbers in a team after winning the king of the mountains jersey at the recent Criterium du Dauphine.

He didn't quite produce the ride he would have liked clocking 16 minutes 30 seconds.