Marcel Kittel won the first stage of the 2014 Tour de France in Harrogate today. A crash inside the final 300 metres meant Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider Mark Cavendish was unable to realise his dream today of winning Stage 1 of the Tour de France, and with it the chance to wear the race leader’s yellow jersey for the first time in his career.
The crash left Cavendish with a dislocated shoulter and torn ligaments - whether wh will continue in the race will be decided depending on the results of an MRI scan.
Cavendish came down after colliding with Orica-GreenEdge rider Simon Gerrans in a crash that only a handful of riders managed to avoid, with Giant Shimano’s Marcel Kittel going on to take the victory and with it, the race lead and the yellow jersey, just as he did 12 months ago in Corsica.
In terms of drama the final sprint certainly lived up to the rest of a fantastic day in Yorkshire that saw huge crowds lining the roadsides - with the climb of Buttertubs producing scenes more reminiscent of the Alps than a 3rd category climb in Northern England.
After grinding their way around the Yorkshire hills the sprint teams almost had their moment of glory snatched away from them when Fabian Cancellara attacked in the final kilometre - for a moment it looked as if his attack would stick, but he was caught in the final few hundred metres.
Kittel looked to have the race in the bag as Cancellara was caught, and it was while trying to find a way past Simon Gerrans of Orica Greenedge that Cavendish went down - he later acknowledged that the crash was his fault "I tried to find a gap that wasn't there".
Reaction to follow.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.