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Cycling News and Opinion
July 5, 2014

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Messy End to Tour's First Stage

Over the rising and falling roads of stage one's final meters, Omega Pharma-Quick Step was putting out watts as if this were the final day of the Tour. Katusha tried to bring their train next to the Tony Martin-led Omegas and had to give up. And tucked in the Omega train was Mark Cavendish, winner of 25 Tour stages. More than that, today's finish was in Harrogate, the city Cavendish's mother was born in.

Cavendish wanted this stage. In the stage's final few hundred meters Cavendish launched himself. He tried to go through a nonexistent hole and leaned on Orica-GreenEdge's Simon Gerrans as he tried to squeeze through. Gerrans leaned back and they both went down hard.

Gerrans has no memory of the crash itself but Cavendish was admirably generous and non-defensive about his move and the crash, taking the blame, "It was my fault...I'll personally apologize to Simon Gerrans as soon as I get the chance. In reality, I tried to find a gap that wasn't there."

Mark Cavendish

Mark Cavendish nurses a dislocated collarbone after crashing in stage one's final meters. Photo ©Sirotti

Up ahead, Marcel Kittel of Giant Shimano was winning a drag race with Cannondale's Peter Sagan. Sagan said, "I may have started my sprint a bit too early, but in any case, Kittel was too strong for me. He beat me by a bike length."

Sagan was already looking at tomorrow's map and profile. "Today I have the white jersey [young rider's jersey], and tomorrow the yellow? Whatever happens, I'm mainly here to win the green jersey, that's all." Sagan has already won the Tour's points classification twice, in 2012 and 2013.

Kittel ended up the stage winner, GC leader and Points Classification leader. This is Kittel's second consecutive Tour first-stage win.

After a trip to the hospital Cavendish was found to have a dislocated collarbone. His team will decide Sunday morning whether or not he'll start stage two.

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories