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Sport

Germany's Kittel takes first stage of Tour de France

© AFP

Video by Dan LEVY

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-06-29

Germany’s Marcel Kittel of the Argos-Shimano team claimed the yellow jersey in the opening stage of the Tour de France on Saturday in a 213-kilometre ride from Corsica’s Porto-Vecchio to Bastia.

Germany's Marcel Kittel of the Argos-Shimano team won the opening stage of the Tour de France on Saturday, a 213-kilometre ride from Porto-Vecchio to Bastia in Corsica.

Kittel stole in front of Norwegian rider Alexander Kristoff right on the line to win a Tour stage for the first time in his career, while Danny Van Poppel of the Vacansoleil team came in third as all riders were awarded the same time.

Kittel became the first rider to wear the yellow jersey in the 100th Tour, which continues on Sunday with a 156 km second stage across Corsica from Bastia to Ajaccio.

The German, 25, also took the green jersey for the best sprinter and the white jersey for the best young rider.

For long spells, the opening stage was largely uneventful, but there was chaos in a closing 30 kilometres marked by a series of crashes on the narrow roads leading in to Bastia and a bizarre incident involving one of the team buses at the finish line.

The bus of the Orica-GreenEdge team got stuck when it hit the gantry over the finish line as the riders approached, leading to suggestions that the line may be brought forward by three kilometres.

The bus was moved out of the way just in time to allow the first stage to conclude as planned, but not before a clutch of riders were hampered by a series of crashes.

The 2013 Tour de France route in 3D
Spain's Alberto Contador, considered by many to be the main challenger to race favourite Chris Froome of Britain, was the highest-profile name to fall on the way in to Bastia, as he went to ground in a mass crash that also took out Slovakia's promising sprinter Peter Sagan.

Froome came through the finish unscathed, but did suffer an inauspicious start to the day when he fell from his bike and appeared totake a knock to the knee as the peloton paraded through Porto-Vecchio at the start of the opening stage.

He was then forced to change bike for the remainder of the day's racing.

(AFP)

Date created : 2013-06-29

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