nb_cid nb_clickOther -tt-nb this.style.behavior='url(#default#homepage)';this.setHomePage('http://www.aol.com/?mtmhp=txtlnkusaolp00000051 network-banner-empty mtmhpBanner
14
Search AOL Mail
AOL Mail
Video
Video
AOL Favorites
Favorites
Menu

After Cavendish falls, Kittel wins 1st Tour stage

Tour De France: By The Numbers


By JAMEY KEATEN

HARROGATE, England (AP) -- Marcel Kittel of Germany won the first stage of the Tour de France for a second straight year after a late crash brought down British rival Mark Cavendish in the presence of royals on Saturday.

Kittel, who earned four Tour stages last year, won the 190.5-kilometer (118-mile) run in mainly bucolic Yorkshire countryside from Leeds to Harrogate. The German raised his arms skyward and cried after he edged Peter Sagan of Slovakia in second, and Ramunas Navardauskas of Lithuania in third.

"I am incredibly proud of this victory," Kittel, a Team Giant-Shimano rider who also won two Giro d'Italia stages in May, said through a translator. "It happened pretty easily. It was like coming out of a tunnel. I was able to accelerate like never before.

"It's really awesome. Deja vu, yeah."

The two top favorites for victory in the three-week race, Alberto Contador and Chris Froome, finished safely in the trailing pack that clocked the same time as Kittel: 4 hours, 44 minutes.

With fewer than 400 meters to go, and the speedsters rushing ahead, Cavendish veered slightly to his left and bumped Australia's Simon Gerrans. The two crashed alone, with Cavendish landing hard on his right shoulder.

Cavendish got up gingerly and cruised over the finish line - cradling his right arm. X-rays revealed he separated his right shoulder, the tour said in a statement.

His Omega Pharma QuickStep team spokesman Alessandro Tegner did not immediately comment about whether Cavendish would remain in the race.

According to Patrick Lefevere, Cavendish's team manager, Gerrans slowed down in front of him, and he couldn't get out of the way. "(Cavendish) was so sure that he would win that he probably made a mistake. He wanted to get out, he pushed, Gerrans pushed back, and they crashed," Lefevere said.

Many British fans were hoping for a win by Cavendish, a native of the Isle of Man, whose mother is from Harrogate. Prime Minister David Cameron, Princes William and Harry, and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, were on hand among throngs of British fans who lined the route - a testament to the cycling craze in the U.K.

England hosts the first three stages of this 101st Tour before riders enter France on Tuesday. In all, the 198 riders are to cover 3,664 kilometers (2,277 miles) of road before the July 27 finish in Paris. Stage 2 on Sunday covers 201 kilometers from York to Sheffield, in southern Yorkshire.

Cavendish previously said that winning the first Tour stage was his main goal this year. He was hoping to capture his first yellow jersey and his 26th Tour stage win.

"It's sad because he (Cavendish) was racing in front of the home country," Sagan said.

Added Kittel: "I hope he gets well soon. I'm looking forward to seeing him on the race tomorrow ... it's not nice to have Mark crash. Nobody wants that."

A second German excelled on the English roads: Veteran Jens Voigt took the polka-dot jersey as the race's best climber, after getting out early on a three-man breakaway that first cleared three low-grade hills including Buttertubs pass. At 42, the Trek Factory Racing rider is the oldest competitor this year: This is his 17th Tour, equaling the record.

The nervous first day included more mishaps. Untold tens of thousands of fans turned out in such big numbers that a train service shuttle between the start and finish towns was crammed, and some had to wait for 90 minutes or even longer to get aboard - or gave up altogether.

Yorkshire, the largest county in England, has paid richly for the right to host the Tour. The peloton sped by abbeys in ruins and sights like 14th century Bolton Castle, near Leyburn, before finishing in Harrogate, known for its spas.

Nearly three dozen countries are represented at this Tour, led by France with 44 riders. It's the second time cycling's greatest race has begun in Britain, though the Tour also crossed the English Channel for stages in 1974 and 1994.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
rockymtnhikerCo July 05 2014 at 1:19 PM

I'm from Colorful Colorado,ride mtn and road bike,in my younger years,i LOVED the challenge of our high country passes.I admire these honest riders who DON"T cheat like scumbag lance.My favorite stages to watch are the mtn rides,they are the most grueling.Those euro passes are not as high as Colorado's mtn rodes,but they are steeper,so I have heard. I don't keep up as much as I once did,but I still love the sport

Flag Reply +2 rate up
lthrnck68 July 05 2014 at 6:49 PM

He might be in disgrace, but Lance made the sport watchable. Didn't even know it had started.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
ga7smi July 05 2014 at 11:53 AM

tour de france - in england - anything for money

Flag Reply +1 rate up
bad_karma1 July 05 2014 at 11:57 AM

Hope they all got there ejuice from lance

Flag Reply +1 rate up
rockymtnhikerCo July 05 2014 at 1:23 PM

And I really miss the old Red Zinger stage races here in Colorado,and the Coors Classic Stage races.I don't drink Coors,but ET does,the little lush. LOL

Flag Reply +1 rate up
MEL BENNETT July 05 2014 at 6:53 PM

Better Drug test him, all winners seem to be drugged up

Flag Reply 0 rate up
ga7smi July 05 2014 at 7:05 PM

if these guys had to actually ride a few races they wouldn't be crashing all the time

Flag Reply 0 rate up
lov2elkhnt July 05 2014 at 8:52 PM

Oh wow, tell ya what, when you run a totally drug free blood dope enhanced free bike race and prove it's not dirty in any of it's riders, then announce it. Otherwise? Zzzzzzzzzz

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Velocity105 July 05 2014 at 10:11 PM

I wonder if Armstrong is enjoying watching the Tour on his Emerson conventional TV that his mother bought him?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
blueeyessing July 06 2014 at 12:45 AM

Are all of the participants being drug tested on a daily basis? After Lance and others along the way, probably so. May the best (and cleanest) man win. Good luck.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
aol~~ 1209600

Voting...

More From Our Partners