Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) survived a final 10 kilometres of complete chaos to win the opening stage of the Tour de France and claim the first yellow jersey of the race. Kittel was one of the few pure sprinters to survive carnage that no one could have imagined.

All was calm with around 20km to go, but then news came through that the Orica-GreenEdge bus had got itself stuck under the finish line gantry. The pictures then showed it well and truly wedged and the organisation had to do something.

They decided to move the finish line to the three kilometre to go point – only that was placed right on a chicane, something the riders wouldn’t necessarily have known.

When the bunch heard the news they sped up as a sense of panic seemed to overcome them. Then there was a crash at the front of the peloton taking out Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and delaying Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) who at least stayed upright.

The bunch was instantly split to pieces. With just minutes to spare the Orica bus had managed to free itself and the finish was moved back to its original position. The riders – at least those ones still at the head of the race – must have been utterly confused.

The cameras then flashed to André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) stood at the side of the road with a mechanical. It was turning in to last man standing as riders at the front constantly looked over their shoulders to see if their sprinter was with them.

Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) was the final sprinter to take himself out of the running with a crash in the final kilometre. Kittel, however, had done everything right, positioning himself perfectly and timing his sprint to perfection to take his maiden Tour stage.

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) came home in second, with youngest rider in the race, Danny Van Poppel (Vacansoleil-DCM) in third. David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) crossed the line in fourth to finish as top British rider – a fact that no-one could have predicted prior to the stage.

Before everyone had crossed the line, the organisers said that all riders would be given the same finishing time.

Tomorrow, the riders will tackle a hilly 154km route from Bastia to Ajaccio. Full stage two preview >>

  



Results

Tour de France 2013, stage one: Porto Vecchio to Bastia, 212km


1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano in 4-56-52

2. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha

3. Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM

4. David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Sharp

5. Matteo Trentino (Ita) Omega Pharma-QuickStep

6. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale

7. Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto-Belisol

8. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto-Belisol

9. Jose Rojas (Spa) Movistar

10. Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM all same time

Other

41. Chris Froome (GBr) Sky

58. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-QuickStep

62. Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Sky

165. Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky

183. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky all same time

Overall classification after stage one

1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano in 4-56-52

2. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha

3. Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM

4. David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Sharp

5. Matteo Trentino (Ita) Omega Pharma-QuickStep

6. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale

7. Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto-Belisol

8. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto-Belisol

9. Jose Rojas (Spa) Movistar

10. Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM all same time

Other

41. Chris Froome (GBr) Sky

58. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-QuickStep

62. Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Sky

165. Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky

183. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky all same time





Peloton roll along in Corsica





Chris Froome





Orica-GreenEdge bus gets stuck under finish line gantry





Tony Gallopin and Tony Martin caught in a crash





Marcel Kittel celebrates his first Tour stage win





Crash damage for Peter Sagan





Marcel Kittel in the yellow jersey

Related links



Stage one photo gallery



Tour de France 2013: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index



Tour de France 2013: The Big Preview