Saturday June 29th, 2013

Stage 1Porto-Vecchio / Bastia

Start 12h15 GMT 2+

Kittel delivers: yellow jersey from a stage win

Stage summary29.06.2013Stage 1- Porto-Vecchio / Bastia

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 the Tour to ever be contested in Corsica. The race jury was forced to make quick decisions and originally opt to alter the site of the finish... when the peloton was just eight kilometres away. A bus wedged under the finish structure meant it was not going to be possible to have the sprint end where it had long been planned to be and the commissaires declared that the 3km to go banner would mark the end of the opening stage. But then the bus got unstuck, and with just 2km to go in what was the altered stage, it was back to the original plan: the finish was to be at the finish. This incident, and crashes in the final 12km - that included, amongst other, Alberto Contador and Peter Sagan - will be the talking point on a day when Kittel deserves the accolades. He raced. He won. And he had no idea that there was ever an attempt to amend where the site of the finish was. "I heard my directeur sportif shouting but I didn't understand what he was saying," he confessed. "It was too frantic in the finale."

The progress report
The opening stage of the 100th Tour de France began with bright sunshine and clear skies. There were 198 riders at the start of the 213km race from Porto Vecchio to Bastia. The course was categorised as ‘Flat' but the terrain in Corsica is generally undulating and the opening stanza of the stage featured plenty of hills including the only climb with points for the polka-dot jersey, the cat-4 côte de Sottra at 45.5km. The intermediate sprint was in San-Giuliano at 150km. During the 8km neutral zone, Froome (SKY) had a small incident and crashed, prompting little more than a change of bikes. He didn't appear to be injured at all.

Five instigate escape...
The official start was at 12.16pm. And the first attack of the race came from Jérôme Cousin of Europcar; he was joined by: Flecha (VCD), Lobato (EUS), Boom (BEL) and Lemoine (SOJ). After 6km, their advantage was 3'00”. The teams that took responsibility for the pacesetting at the head of the peloton were Omega Pharma-Quickstep, Lotto-Belisol and Argos-Shimano. This is the first time that the race has been contested on the island of Corsica and, as the peloton reached Bonifacio, it's the furthest south that the Tour de France has ever been.
On the first climb, Lemoine attacked and was quickly caught by Flecha, Cousin and Lobato; the Euskaltel rider winning a point and the right to wear the first polka-dot jersey.
The average speed was 41.3km/h for the first hour, 39.8km/h for the second; 42.1km/h for the third; 43.9km/h for the fourth...

Greipel beats his rivals at the intermediate sprint
Flecha and Boom attacked on the approach to the sprint site. The Dutchman claimed maximum points 50” ahead of the peloton that was led by Cannondale, FDJ.fr, Lotto-Belisol and Omega Pharma-Quickstep. Greipel got the jump on his rivals and beat the two other triple stage winners from the 2012 Tour, Cavendish and Sagan. Lobato was caught by the peloton shortly after the sprint. The escape was caught with 37km to go.

GC teams show themselves
With 35km to go, RadioShack momentarily took command of the peloton, then came appearances up front from BMC, Saxo-Tinkoff and Sky. It wasn't until the 20km to go mark that Quickstep again assumed position at the head of the bunch. There was a crash with 12km to go involving Hesjedal, Dennis (GRS), Stannard (SKY) and several other.

Incident of the bus and the finishline
What looked like being a fairly standard sprint finish became a frenzy of last-minute jury rulings to because the bus of the Orica-GreenEdge team got wedged under the finishing structure. With the peloton 8km from the site of the planned finish the commissaires announced that the stage would be contested under the 3km to go banner. With the riders only 2km from that location, the bus was removed and it was back to the original site for the finish. By then there were several crashes that eliminated Sagan (CAN), amongst several others – including Contador (TST) – from the chance of sprinting for the win. The jury declared that everyone in the race would be given the same time as the peloton sped towards the finish.
With the designated sprinters of virtually all teams taken out of the equation in various crashes, it was left to Argos-Shimano to cease their opportunity. They controlled a group of about 50 riders and although Terpstra (OPQ) tried a late attack, and Kristoff (KAT) opened up a fast sprint, it was Kittel (ARG) who won the day, bursting into the lead in the final 100m.
The German earned his first stage win at the Tour and will wear the yellow jersey in stage two.

Stage 1 Porto-Vecchio / Bastia

All about the stage key moments

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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