Marcel Kittel was the first cyclist to arrive at the Tour de France stage one finish line, though he wasn’t the first person to cross. The first stage of the 100th race ended with a team’s bus stuck under the finish line until minutes before the first riders arrived.
Kittel won Corsica, beating out Russian sprinter Alexander Kristoff in a dash to the line. Along with the bus mishap, a major crash also wiped out some other competitors.
About 20 riders fell close to the end of Stage One. Among them was two-time former Tour de France winner Alberto Contador, along with sprinter Peter Sagan. When they got up, Contador’s shoulder was bruised and cut.
While British sprinter Mark Cavendish didn’t crash out, he was stuck behind the wreck, leaving him unable to challenge for his 24th stage win.
Along with winning Stage One of the Tour de France, Kittell also finished the day with the green jersey, awarded to the best sprinter. He stated of the mayhem:
“I saw the crash happen to my right. I knew it was serious. I knew that Mark and Andre [Greipel] were no longer in contention and it was a good chance for us.”
When the bus got stuck under the line, Tour de France organizers considered shortening the race. However, they changed their minds in the last few minutes as the bus was able to pull free. Kittel added of his Stage One win:
“I’m speechless, so, so happy. This is by far the greatest day in my whole live. It’s by far [my] biggest victory. I hope I can sleep, I’m going to be pretty excited about tomorrow.”
And here’s hoping Marcel Kittel can rest up enough for tomorrow’s Tour de France stage, as he is facing a tough field with racers like Contador, who is returning from a doping ban after he tested positive on the 2010 Tour and was subsequently stripped of his title.
What did you think of the first stage of the Tour de France? Who do you hope will come out on top?
[Image via Denismenchov08]