World champion Julian Alaphilippe won the crash-marred opening stage of the Tour de France to snatch the race leader’s yellow jersey on Saturday.
Alaphilippe surged ahead of the main pack in the final steep climb leading to the finish in Landerneau.
The Tour got under way from the western port city of Brest, returning to its traditional slot in the calendar after last year’s edition was pushed back to September because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Two big crashes marred the opening stage in the western Brittany region. The first one was caused by a fan who brandished a cardboard sign and leant into the path of veteran rider Tony Martin, who fell off his bike and took many others down in his slipstream. The second pile-up involved dozens of competitors riding at full speed near the finish.
Thankfully there seemed to be no major injuries and all of the major General Classification contenters made it through. UAE Team Emirates' defending champion Tadej Pogacar came home just behind Alaphilippe with the bunch eight seconds back, alongside contenders Primos Roglic, David Gaudu and Geraint Thomas..
Tour de France stage 1 results
1 Julian Alaphilippe, Deceuninck-Quick-Step 4:39.052
2 Michael Matthews, Team Bikeexchange +8s
3 Primos Roglic, Jumbo-Visma same time
4 Jack Haig, Bahrain Victorious st
5 Wilco Kelderman, Bora-Hansgrohe st
6 Tadej Pogacar, UAE Team Emirates st
7 David Gaudu, Groupama st
8 Sergio Andres Higuita, EF Education- Nippo st
9 Bauke Mollema, Trek-Segafredo st
10 Geraint Thomas, Ineos Grenadiers st