Saturday June 29th, 2013

Stage 1Porto-Vecchio / Bastia

Start 12h15 GMT 2+

Key moments

video29.06.2013 in 23:00Summary - Stage 1 (Porto-Vecchio > Bastia)

video29/06/2013 

Summary - Stage 1 (Porto-Vecchio > Bastia)

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Stage summary29.06.2013 in 17:40Kittel delivers: yellow jersey from a stage win

The first stage of the 100th Tour de France was designed to end with a sprint. That's how it panned out but it was anything but a standard finish in Bastia. Ultimately it was a sprinter with a great reputation, Marcel Kittel, who lived up to expectations and claimed the win and the first yellow jersey of the 2013. "This is the greatest day of my life,"he declared at the finish. "This is absolutely something that's outstanding."That was his appraisal after a manic end to the first stage of...

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interview29.06.2013 in 18:32Vacansoleil the leading team...

The Dutch team Vacansoleil-DCM is the first to lead the team standings at the end of a stage that Juan Antonio Flecha helped to animate. The Spaniard was part of the five-man break that lasted for 175km but it was the performance of the youngest rider in the race, 19-year-old Danny van Poppel – who finished third in the stage – that helped elevate the team his father is a directeur sportif of to first in the rankings. Kris Boeckmans was 10th while the 27th place from Sergey Lagutin...

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interview29.06.2013 in 18:12Marcel Kittel - «It's like gold on my shoulders!»

When picking possible winners for what promised to be a sprint stage, Marcel Kittel's name came up often. He was sick in the opening days of his first Tour de France last year and abandoned without having had a chance to do what he does best. But he made up for it today by surviving the chaos on the run in to Bastia, following the right wheels in the frenzy of the final kilometres and launching a blistering sprint that netted him first in the stage, the yellow jersey, green jersey and white...

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Sporting stakes29.06.2013 in 09:53Sprinters chasing the yellow jersey

For the third time since 2008 the first day of the Tour de France does not start with a time trial. The 100th edition begins with a day when the profile suggests a sprinter could earn himself not just the stage win but also the yellow jersey.

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Newsflashes

17:31Three jerseys for Kittel

Marcel Kittel not only won the stage today, he takes the yellow jersey as leader of the general classification, as well as the green jersey and the white jersey.

17:29Still waiting for confirmation of results...

We know the stage winner and the runner-up but it appears that the bus incident has damaged the timing transponders as there is an unprecented delay in the posting of results. We'll post the top five as soon as it's confirmed.

The top three is:

1. Marcel Kittel (GER) ARG

2. Alexander Kristoff (NOR) KAT

3. Danny van Poppel (NED) VCD

17:20Kittel ahead of Kristoff

The confusion brought about by the incident with the bus is causing a delay in delivering results. The finish line had temporarily been shifted forward by 3km but then, at the last minute, it was altered and the sprint took place as intended: where the finish was planned.

Marcel Kittel came up the left side of the road to overhaul Alexander Kristoffof Katusha.

17:17The top five in stage one

Marcel Kittel claimed his first stage win in the Tour de France at the end of a day when crashes and an incident with a team bus made the finish rather confusing.

(We are awaiting confirmation of the result and will post the top five as soon as we can.)

17:13Kittel takes the win and the yellow jersey

Marcel Kittel is the first winner of the 2013 Tour de France.

17:13Four from Argos

There are about 50 riders in the group that's contesting the stage win. Four at the front were from Argos but Terpstra of Omega Pharma is off the front with a late attack.

17:113km to go

The peloton now inside the final three kilometres. They have raced under the banner that was to be the finish and Argos is now in control at the front. Both Greipel and Sagan are no in the running for a stage win after incidents in the closing 5km.

17:10All riders will get same time

Greipel and Sagan are out of the equation but we can report that, because of the confusion, every rider will be awarded the same time in stage one.

17:09Finish at the real finish

The bus has been removed from under the finish structure, which means that the finish is back in the original location.

17:09Sagan a rider caught in crash

Sagan is one of the riders who has been taken out in a crash with about 2km to go.

17:08No line for sprint

There is a banner above the site of the finish but there is no line on the road at what was meant to be the 3km to go mark but is now the site of the finish of stage one of the 100th Tour de France.

Timing devices are in place at the 3km to go mark.

17:06Bus crash changes finish...

Hesjedal and Dennis have rejoined the peloton just as the Cannondale team is in charge of the lead.

A bus wedged under the finish structure has spoiled the finish of the stage to Bastia and the sprint will now happen where other timing devices were installed, 3km from the finish.

17:05Finish: 3km shorter than planned

There has been an incident at the site of the finish with the Orica-GreenEdge team bus getting stuck in the finish structure. It means that the finish of today's stage will be three kilometres earlier than planned. It means we have just 5km to go in the stage.

This is an unprecented last-minute adjustment but the announcement has been made by the race jury and, we hope, is being relayed to the riders by their directeurs sportif.

17:01Crash in peloton

There is a second crash for the day. Stannard is the Sky rider involved, two Garmin guys have been caught up - Ryder Hesjedal and Rohan Dennis... but they are riding again.

16:57Hoogerland crashes

The recently crowned Dutch champion, Johnny Hoogerland is back in the Tour after a year away. He has, however, just crashed on the right side of the road. He stood up quickly and didn't appear too badly injured.

16:55U-Turn with 2km to go...

The peloton is 18km from the finish in Bastia and it looks like the GC teams are content to let the sprinters' formations take command of the pacesetting even if the likes of BMC and RadioShack still have a presence up front.

The riders will all have studied the roadbook and will know that there is quite a sharp right hand turn at the 2km to go mark. The road surface is smooth, new bitumen but it is effectively a U-turn to switch the direction from riding in a northerly directly to a...

16:5020km to go

BMC, Orica, RadioShack and Omega Pharma are the teams at the front of the bunch as it passes under the 20km to go banner.

16:43Geraint Thomas at the front

Geraint Thomas is back in Sky's Tour team after a year away so that he could focus on winning the team pursuit gold medal at the Olympics. He did that and now he's leading the peloton towards Bastia. There are 25km to go and the bunch is still all together.

16:40Sky takes charge

As soon as one team is mentioned as leaders of the peloton, another group takes command. First it was RadioShack, then Saxo-Tinkoff and now it's Sky's turn to dictate the pace.

Saxo did their work at the time when it was a tailwind and the bunch was a long line of riders. With Sky at the front the peloton is much more grouped together.

16:38Now it's Saxo-Tinkoff's turn...!

As the peloton reaches right turn we see a number of Saxo riders at the front of a long line of riders. It's Kreuziger currently setting the pace with a new aero helmet from Specialized and there are others near the lead checking to see if there have been any splits in the peloton.

16:35RadioShack take command

There are six RadioShack riders now at the front of the peloton. Schleck is the last in the line of this group and, matching their efforts are a couple of riders from BMC which has shown its team colours at the head of the bunch for the first time today.

16:32Escape over...

Flecha, Boom, Lemoine and Cousin have been swallowed up by a peloton hungry for a sprint finish. We now see Jens Voigt at the head of of the bunch which is now at the 174km mark.

16:31Madiot: ??Let him get the measure of the Tour de France?

The manager of FDJ.fr recently offered some comments on the race to France Télévisions. Marc Madiot was asked what he thought Nacer Bouhanni's chances in today's stage. “Tomorrow and the day after tomorrow there will be much more difficult roads so for the moment we come into the race in a calm manner.

“It will get faster gradually and then finish quickly as is often the case in stages such as this. Nacer is starting his first Tour so he's there mainly to get the measure of the...

16:29Capture imminent...

The four escapees are now just 30" ahead of the peloton. There are 38km to go in the stage.

16:24Belkin's debut as a sponsor

The team formerly known as Blanco has become Belkin effective as of last week. Today, however, is the first time the green outfit has been seen in competition. The sponsor signed up with the Dutch squad for a minimum commitment of two-and-a-half years.

It has the 2007 under-23 TT world champion Lars Boom in the escape that is currently 1'00" ahead of the peloton.

16:21Sprint and GC teams leading peloton

There are still four men ahead of the bunch and the team at the front of chase is like it has been for most of the day: Omega Pharma-Quickstep is there with more numbers than any other outfit. But now there are riders from RadioShack and Garmin almost moving forward.

It's a mix of teams at the head of the peloton: some for sprint specialists, others to keep their general classification rider out of harms way.

16:18Average for the 4th hour...

The average speed for the fourth hour is 43.9km/h. The average for the first four hours combined: 41.8km/h.

16:12McEwen's appraisal of Cavendish

"I can't ever recall ever seeing Cav blow in a sprint," the triple green jersey winner, Robbie McEwen told LeTour.fr about the winner of 23 Tour stages, Mark Cavendish."Some guys really tire, and they start pedalling squares… I've never seen Cavendish do that. I've seen him get beaten, where he maybe thinks he's blown and has backed off but I've never seen him blow in a sprint. And when he gets beaten, it's by a very narrow margin or he's 37 th and out of it because something's...

16:01Lobato caught by peloton

There are now just four men ahead of the peloton: Flecha, Boom, Lemoine and Cousin. One of the Spaniards in the move, Lobato, has been reeled in by the peloton which is now at the 152km mark, 1'20" behind Flecha's quartet.

15:59Full results of intermediate sprint

1. Boom 20pts

2. Flecha 17pts

3. Lemoine 15pts

4. Cousin 13pts

5. Lobato 11pts

6. Greipel 10pts - at 48"

7. Cavendish 9pts

8. Sagan 8pts

9. Boeckmans 7pts

10. Goss 6pts

11. Bouhanni 5pts

12. Sabatini 4pts

13. Steegmans 3pts

14. Chavanel 2pts

15. Hiver 1pts

15:57Greipel claims sixth place

Greipel has beaten Sagan and Cavendish for sixth place at the intermediate sprint. (Full results to follow shortly.)

15:55First five pick up points...

The allocation of points for the first five riders over the line at the intermediate sprint is as follows...

1. Boom (BEL) 20pts

2. Flecha (VCD) 17pts

3. Lemoine (SOJ) 15pts

4. Cousin (EUC) 13pts

5. Lobato (EUS) 11pts

15:49Here comes Cannondale

The winner of the green jersey last year has just shown himself near the front of the bunch for the first time today. Peter Sagan has arrived at the head of the peloton with about 7km to go before the intermediate sprint. There are 10 points on offer for the sixth placed rider...

The escapees should claim the lions' share of the points in San Giuliano (at 150km).

15:47Omega Pharma doing the most work...

Of the teams at the front of the peloton, it's the squad of Mark Cavendish that is doing the most work recently. In the last 10 minutes, Omega Pharma-Quickstep has spent 80 per cent of the time in the wind.

They are 2'30" behind the five escapees who are just 5km from the site of the intermediate sprint.

15:43Peloton speeding up...

The maximum advantage of the break today has been 4'20" (when the peloton was around the 130km mark).

The peloton is now 10km from the site of the intermediate sprint and is 2'55" behind Flecha, Lobato, Boom, Lemoine and Cousin.

15:41Froome still on a spare bike

The runner-up from last year's Tour de France, Chris Froome, had a little accident in the neutral zone today. He swapped a bike before the peloton arrived at the site of the official start. His original bike is still on the roof of the team car...

He is the leader of the Sky team for the Tour de France and, for this race alone, has six bikes at his disposal: four road bikes, and two time trial bikes.

15:34Voting is now open on LeTour.fr

Each day of the Tour de France, there will be a poll for readers of the race's official site - LeTour.fr. Today's question is:

Of these sprinters, who is most likely to win the opening stage?

- Cavendish

- Sagan

- Greipel

- Kittel

- Bouhanni

Let us know what you think. See the homepage of the Tour's official site.

15:3180km to go: 4'15" advantage

We'll soon find out which teams are interested in setting their sprinter up for a dash for points. The leaders have an advantage of 4'15" over the peloton that continues to be led by Cavendish's team.

The intermediate sprint is at the 63km mark and, going on how these primes were contested in 2012, the lead-out work will start to unfold about five kilometres before the site of the PMU-sponsored race within a race...

15:20McEwen's points classification appraisal continues...

"I think 'Gossie' is in the same position as last year's Tour," said Robbie McEwen about his Aussie compatriot, Matt Goss, who finished third in the points classification last year.

McEwen retired from racing last year. He is now a consultant for the Orica-GreenEdge team of Goss.

"What I'd really like to see is Gossie win a stage. Being realistic, the stages that suit him best are the tougher ones – those that really burn the legs or drop the likes of Cavendish and Greipel,...

15:18Average speed for 3rd hour

The average speed for the third hour is 42.1km/h. The average since the start of the stage: 41.1km/h.

15:09Up goes the advantage: maximum gain achieved

As the peloton arrives in Ghisonaccia at the 96km mark, it is 3'40" behind the five escapees. This is the maximum advantage of the break so far today.

15:04Cousin caught by four

And, once again, we have five riders in the lead. Cousin has been reeled in by Flecha and his mates who, for a while, seemed intent on getting caught. The peloton just wasn't interested in allowing that to happen.

After a momentary easing of the chase we now see Omega Pharma-Quickstep at the front of the bunch.

15:02Sprint teams stop their chasing

With 100km to go in the stage, the teams of the sprinters - ie. Omega Pharma, Argos and Lotto - have stopped setting the pace of the peloton. Cousin's advantage is now 3'20" on the bunch that is now led by riders from Movistar.

14:59Fast, then slow... repeat!

Cousin (EUC) leads Lemoine (SOJ) by 15" while Lobato (EUS), Boom (BEL) and Flecha (VCD) are at 35". The trio seemed intend of surrendering their advantage but there were a number of riders in the peloton who were answering the call of nature and, although the advantage of the escapees was down to 40", the passive pace of the bunch has prompted the riders at the front of the stage to join forces once again.

It's a case of go fast... take it easy... go fast... take it easy...

The...

14:53Cousin leads peloton by 1'00"

Cousin is 15" ahead of his former escape companions - Flecha, Lobato, Boom and Lemoine - and 1'00" ahead of the peloton.

14:50Waiting for capture...

The five leaders are now almost within sight of the peloton. Cousin is insisting with the attack he started but the other four are looking behind to see how long it will be before the bunch swallows them up...

14:46Advantage down to 1'00"

Flecha's quintet is 1'00" ahead of the peloton which has just arrived in the feedzone at the 100km mark.

14:44Hydraulic brakes make their Tour debut

Today is the first time that a new form of braking has been employed on a bike used in the Tour de France. It's a different system to the traditional cable-actived mechanism and one rider to opt for this option from SRAM is Mark Cavendish (OPQ).

14:39Two debutants in the lead...

Of the five in the lead of the first stage (3'00" ahead of the peloton), two are riding the Tour for the first time: Lobato who will wear the polka-dot jersey tomorrow, and Cousin who instigated the break.

Flecha is the most experienced; he has won a stage (in 2003) and this is his 10th start.

Boom is riding the Tour for the third time. He started in 2010 (finishing 130) and 2011 (but did not finish).

Lemoine is also riding his third Tour; he was 144th in 2009 and 136th...

14:31McEwen's appraisal of Greipel...

When LeTour.fr spoke with Robbie McEwen earlier this year, we asked him for his appraisal of the top five in the points classification in 2012. André Greipel won three stages and was ranked second. Here is what McEwen had to say about the German. "He's definitely a danger for green because he's consistent and he's climbing quite well, without losing any of his speed.

"I think he'll be a bigger contender for green this year. He does struggle in the mountains, as a sprinter...

14:24McEwen comments on Sagan...

"After last year and given what Peter Sagan has shown this year he's the favourite to win the green jersey," the triple points classification winner Robbie McEwen told LeTour.fr earlier this year. "He's the favourite, not so much because he's been winning bunch sprints – he's not a pure sprinter, which he'll admit himself – but I'm thinking more about the nature of this year's course....

"Knowing that Corsica is not a flat place and the sprints seem to be really spaced...

14:21Average speed for 2nd hour

The second hour of racing was done at an average speed of 39.8km/h. The average for the first two hours combined is 40.6km/h.

14:19Maximum advantage so far today

The peloton is at the 79km mark and is now 3'15" behind Flecha, Lemoine, Cousin, Lobato and Boom. This is the maximum gain of the break so far today.

14:16Three former champions in the peloton

The defending champion of the Tour de France, Sir Bradley Wiggins, is absent because of a knee injury but there are three former winners of the race in the peloton of 198 riders: Alberto Contador (1st in 2007 and 2009), Andy Schleck (the official winner of the 2010 edition), and Cadel Evans (1st in 2011).

Of this trio, only the Spaniard has won a race so far in 2013, stage one of the Tour de San Luis in Argentina on 25 January.

Evans finished third overall in the first Grand...

14:11Peloton not interested in capture...

Even though the leading five momentarily signalled their intentions to cease their escape, the peloton also slowed down. The advantage dropped to just 40" but now the five leaders are riding tempo again and they are 2'20" ahead.

14:09Evans changes bikes...

Cadel Evans (BMC) has recently stopped to change a bike. He was on his own and riding back to the peloton... but now a team-mate has dropped back to pace him to the bunch.

14:05Who will attack next?

That's effectively the end of the attack. At the 71km mark, the bunch is about to capture Flecha, Lobato, Lemoine, Boom and Cousin who attacked in the first kilometre of the stage.

14:03Advantage drops to 1'30"

We can safely assume that the leading five are now waiting for the peloton that is just 1'30" behind. There are 142km left to go in the stage.

14:00Discussion taking place at the front...

The five escapees haven't been able to gain any more of an advantage than 3'10" and it seems like Juan Antonio Flecha (VCD) is about to raise the white flag and surrender. He has recently been seen speaking with Lemoine (SOJ) and Lobato (EUS) and there were a few shoulder shrugs and a head shakes that seemed to suggest: 'Fellas, this isn't going to happen today...'

The five continue to ride together but they don't seem too interested in trying to increase their advantage at the...

13:56Greipel waiting for team car...

While one rider from Lotto-Belisol sets the pace at the front of the peloton, his team-mate André Greipel is drifting off the back of the bunch as he waits for the team car. The German champion who won three stages in last year's Tour is one of the favourites for the win should today's stage finish with a bunch sprint.

13:54Boom likes the first stage...

When Lars Boom (BEL) first contested the Tour de France, it was in 2010 when the Grand Départ was in his native country, Holland. He finished 31st in the prologe on the streets of Rotterdam and, the next day, he was on the attack. It means that, two times out of three he has been in The Escape of stage one of the Tour.

13:48Returning to Porto Vecchio...

The riders have just reached the 150km to go mark which means they have recently ridden through the town that hosted the start today. The loop out of Porto Vecchio and back is something that rarely happens on the Tour de France but it provided spectators with a second chance to sight the peloton. Now it's onward to Bastia in the north of the island.

13:42Advantage drops to 2'00"

The peloton refuses to give the escapees any leeway today. The latest check has Lobato's quintet ahead by just 2'00".

13:36O'Grady's 17th participation

Today marks the start of Stuart O'Grady's 17th successive Tour de France. This tally equals record for the most participations which was achieved by George Hincapie last year. (For the record, today is Hincapie's 40th birthday.)

13:29Comments from Bouhanni...

According to last year's French champion, Nacer Bouhanni, “There is a 99 per cent chance that there will be a sprint finish in stage one”. The 22-year-old sprinter has won four times already in 2013 and he will be the protected rider from FDJ.fr today. But he's not getting carried away with the prospect of what could happen in Bastia. “It's useless to think up possible scenarios,” he said in the press conference two days ago. “This will be my first stage in the Tour de France, my...

13:26Peloton at 3'00"

At the 45.5km mark, peloton is 3'00" behind Lobato's quintet which has reformed after a brief bout of attack to see who would be the King of the Hill today.

13:25Lobato to visit podium today...

Juan José Lobato (EUS) will visit the podium for the first time in the Tour de France. He is the winner of the one point on offer at the cote de Sotta and tomorrow he will wear the polka-dot jersey. This is his first appearance in the Tour.

13:23Lemoine attacks

As the leaders approach the site of the first climbing point of the 100th Tour, Lemoine (SOJ) has gone on the attack. He has been caught and passed by Cousin and Boom but Lobato beat them all to the line. He will wear the polka-dot jersey in stage two.

13:21Sieberg delivers the bottles...

Marcel Sieberg (LTB) has just arrived at the front of the bunch to deliver bottles to his team-mates who have been sharing the workload with Omega Pharma-Quickstep and Argos-Shimano.

13:18Average speed for the first hour

The escapees have covered 41.3km in the first hour of racing in stage one of the 2013 Tour de France. They are 2'25" ahead of the peloton.

13:18Feeding now authorised...

Race Radio has just announced that riders can now collect bottles and feedbags from the team cars. Usually this is not allowed until the 50km mark but, as it's warm today, the jury has made the decision - as it often does - to opening 'feeding' early.

13:15Katusha assemble at rear of peloton

With the sprinters' teams still setting the pace of the chase (and the peloton 2'50" behind the escapees), we can report that the rear of the peloton is coloured red and white with almost all of the Katusha team at the back of the pack.

13:13Cavendish: Seven possible sprint stages...

Like every year, the green jersey is an obvious goal for Mark Cavendish and the Manxman believes that it will be won with points from the stage wins more than intermediate sprints. “It has always been my tactic to win the green jersey, but I can not go on the attack in the mountains.”

The 2011 world champion recognises that the route for the 2013 is a hilly one but there are still chances for a sprinter like to win. “There may be seven real sprints if we get things our way,”...

13:10Cavendish wants yellow but not anxiety...

“The yellow jersey is something special,” said the 2011 points classification winner, Mark Cavendish when asked if he thought he could win the opening stage of the 2013 race. “I have never worn it, but I wore the jerseys of three Grand Tour points categories and the leader's jerseys in the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España but the yellow jersey is the only major that I'm missing.

“[The yellow jersey] is not just an iconic symbol of cycling but an iconic symbol of sport in...

13:05Sojasun's attacking rider today...

Eight times out of 19 stages last year there was at least one Sojasun rider in the escape group. Today the representative from the French wildcard team is Cyril Lemoine. He has contested the Tour de France twice before, in 2009 when he finished 144th overall, and in 2012 when he was 136th. He was not, however, one of the attacking riders from his team in last year's race...

12:58Former world champion in escape group...

Of the five men who are currently 2'40" ahead of the peloton, one has won multiple world titles... in cyclo-cross. Lars Boom has won the junior, under-23 and elite world championship in that discipline. The Belkin rider has also been a time trial world champion, in the under-23 category (in 2007).

12:51Peloton in Bonifacio

This is the first day that the Tour de France has ever been raced on the island of Corsica. The peloton has covered 21.5km and is now making its way through Bonifacio which is the southern-most town in Corsica.

It means that the bunch is currently as far south as the Tour de France has ever been.

12:48Lead drops to 2'05"

The sprinters' teams aren't taking any chances today; rather than allow the five escapees to steadily build their advantage, Omega Pharma, Argos and Lotto have men at the front keeping the escapees honest. The five were, at one point, 3'10" ahead but now it has dropped to just 2'05".

12:43First climbing classification leaders of recent Tours

The leaders are 2'40" ahead at the 16km mark. The only categorised climb today is at 45.5km. There is one point on offer at the top. Here's a little history on the early leaders of the race for the polka-dot jersey...

Michael Morkov was regularly in escapes during his first (and only) Tour de France, the 2012 race. He was on the attack on day one last year and accumulated three points for the climbing classification. He was the first to wear the polka-dot jersey in the 99th...

12:35Keeping the leaders in check...

As Astarloza (EUS) gets a new wheel after a puncture, we can report that the pace of the peloton has picked up a little and, after having a maximum deficit of 3'10" to the five escapees, the advantage has dropped to 2'50" at the 11km mark.

12:31Sprint teams leading peloton

There are riders from three teams at the front of the peloton that is now 3'00" behind the five escapees. Omega Pharma-Quickstep, Lotto-Belisol and Argos-Shimano are taking responsibility for setting the pace.

12:2735 riders eligible for the white jersey

The youth classification is open to riders born after 1 January 1988, which just happens to be the birthday of the under-23 world champion from 2009, Romain Sicard (EUS). The French rider will make his debut in the Tour today. Along with him there are 34 others eligible for the white jersey, including the van Poppel brothers, Boy and Danny... the latter of whom is the youngest in the peloton for the 100th Tour de France. Danny van Poppel was born on 27 July 1993; he is the son of the winner...

12:25Names and nations of the escape group

The escape for the opening stage began almost as soon as the flag was waved to signal the official start. The rider who instigated the attack was Jerome Cousin from Europcar. The men who are now 2'15" ahead of the bunch are: Jerome Cousin (FRA) EUC; Juan José Lobato (ESP) EUS; Lars Boom (NED) BEL; Juan Antonio Flecha (ESP) VCD; and Cyril Lemoine (FRA) SOJ.

12:22Lead up to 1'25"

The five escapees are 1'25" ahead of the peloton at the 2.5km mark. Of the escapees, only Flecha of Vacansoleil has previously won a stage of the Tour de France.

12:21The leading quintet

The five men in the lead of the stage are: Cousin (EUC), Lobato (EUS), Boom (BEL), Flecha (VCD) and Lemoine (SOJ).

12:19Five in the lead

There are five men on the attack early today. We don't yet have the names of those involved but can report that they are 35" ahead of the peloton.

12:17Racing in stage one!

The official start time for stage one is 12.16pm. There are six riders on the attack including men from Vacansoleil, Belkin, Sojasun and Euskaltel.

12:16Intermediate sprint at 150km

As the peloton nears the site of the official start, we remind you that there is just one intermediate sprint per stage. Today's race points will be contested in San-Giuliano at the 150km mark.

The points allocation is as follows: 1st - 20pts; 2nd - 17pts; 3rd - 15pts; 4th - 13pts; 5th - 11pts; 6th 10pts; 7th - 9pts; 8th - 8pts; 9th - 7pts; 10th - 6pts; 11th - 5pts; 12th - 4pts; 13th - 3pts; 14th - 2pts; 15th - 1pt

12:12One climb for stage one...

The opening stanza of the 213km route from Porto-Vecchio to Bastia is on undulating terrain. There is, however, only one lowly ranked hill for the opening stage: the côte de Sotta at 45.5km. It is rated category-four meaning that there is only one point on offer. Whoever gets to the top of this 1.1km long hill will wear the polka-dot jersey in stage two.

12:10Cavendish comes forward...

On the approach to the official start, there are four riders from the Omega Pharma-Quickstep team at the front of the bunch. Included in this quartet is one of the favourites for the win today, the new British champion Mark Cavendish.

12:08Flat for Froome...

The rider with the number-one 'dossard', Chris Froome has stopped to get a new rear wheel after a mechanical incident in the neutral zone. It happened after only five kilometres of riding.

He's stopped for a second time to get a new bike... and now he's riding again with several team-mates from Sky.

12:0534 nations represented in Le Tour 2013

The 198 riders in the 100th edition of the Tour de France represent 34 nations. The breakdown is as follows:
42 from France
27 from Spain
18 from Italy
17 from the Netherlands
12 from Belgium
11 from Australia
10 from Germany
6 from USA and Great Britain
4 from Kazakhstan
3 from Belorussia, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Russia and Switzerland
2 from Colombia, Ireland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Portugal, Slovakia and Slovenia
1...

12:02Rolling in the neutral zone

Voilà, the peloton is off. Christian Prudhomme's car is at the front of the bunch and the cyclist are now riding together in the 8km neutral zone. The officials start is expect to be in about 15 minutes. Right now we see Argos-Shimano at the front of the peloton but the mood seems relatively relaxed and jovial as they ride away from the harbour in Porto Vecchio.

11:58The peloton assembles at the start

All the riders are now at the site of the start. There are 198 riders in the race, nine from each of the 22 teams. The ribbon has been cut and the race is about to start. It's 24 degrees for the start and it's expected to reach 35 degrees during the stage. There is only a light breeze early today; at the finish the wind is blowing off the water and will hit the riders from the left-hand side on the finishing straight.

11:55The ribbon is ready...

The race director Christian Prudhomme and other dignitaries have gathered near the site of the 'Départ fictif' for the official opening ceremony. There is a white ribbon that will soon be cut to signal the start of the 2013 Tour de France. For the moment, the only rider we can see is Arthur Vichot, the new French champion who has come forward from the peloton to partake in the formal ceremony.

The time for the actual start is expected to be around 12.15pm.

11:50"100" written in the sky

There are eight Alpha jets currently flying in tight formation over the harbour in Porto Vecchio. It's sky-writing in style with pilots spelling out "100" in red, white and blue. It reminds us that summer has arrived in time for the Grand Départ of the 100th Tour de France. Blue skies provide the backdrop for this remarkable display of precision flying.

11:46Welcome to the live coverage of the 100th Tour de France!

The wait is finally over and the 100th edition of the race is about to begin. The first 213km of the 3,404km 2013 Tour de France will be ridden today as the peloton makes its way from south to north on the island of Corsica. The sun is shining and warm conditions greet the 198 riders at the start of the stage in Porto Vecchio.
The scheduled start for stage one is midday; riders will then have an eight-kilometre neutral zone to quell the nerves and prepare for what is bound to be a fast...

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Jersey wearers after the stage 21

Classifications after the stage 21

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These five riders have won sprint stages of the 100th Tour de France. Of these five, who do you think will win in Paris?

  • Marcel Kittel14.93%
  • Simon Gerrans1.08%
  • Mark Cavendish54.21%
  • André Greipel5.5%
  • Peter Sagan24.28%
14123 votes

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