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Tour de France Stage 1: Mark Cavendish takes stage and yellow jersey

Contador loses skin in crash earlier in the stage but doesn’t lose time

Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data) has won stage one of the 2016 Tour de France, a 188km stage from Mont-Saint-Michel to Utah Beach, Sainte-Marie-du-Mont. The Manxman takes the yellow jersey for the first time in his career having edged out Marcel Kittel (Etixx-Quick Step) with world champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) finishing third.

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It was widely expected that the exposed route would see the race affected by crosswinds. While there were occasional injections of pace when opportunities presented themselves, the peloton approached the closing kilometres pretty much intact.

The last two breakaway riders, Anthony Delaplace (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) and Alex Howes (Cannondale-Drapac), were caught with around 4km to go and despite a major crash in the finishing straight, the majority of the main sprinters were able to contest the finish. Cavendish timed his effort perfectly, coming round Sagan with just 100m to go.

Cavendish said: “It was a big goal for Dimension Data to win a stage at the Tour de France. To add the yellow jersey is a reward for our sponsors and for the Qhubeka charity. I did it for my team, for the ‘kids on bicycle' campaign. I can't believe it. Regardless of who was there, the Tour de France is the Tour de France. To win a stage is incredible. I'm very emotional about it. It's going to be a special day tomorrow to ride a stage in yellow. There was no better place to achieve this than Utah Beach where soldiers died for us.”

Earlier in the day, Alberto Contador was one of several riders who crashed on a corner with 80km to go, landing on his right side and tearing his jersey and shorts. Team Sky’s Luke Rowe also went down in the incident, while Geraint Thomas was caught up in it and needed a wheel change. All three eventually made their way back to the peloton.

Paul Voss (Bora-Argon 18) secured the polka dot jersey for tomorrow after leading over the Cote d'Avraches and the Cote des Falaises de Champeux.

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