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Tour de France Stage 1: Marcel Kittel wins in Harrogate - Cavendish crashes metres from line

Yorkshire puts on a fantastic show but Cavendish crash brings unwelcome drama

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.


Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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