Gaviria makes history

Tour de France 2018 | Stage 1 | Noirmoutier-en-l'Île > Fontenay-le-Comte

Fernando Gaviria of Quick Step became the first Colombian to win a bunch sprint of the Tour de France and the second Colombian to take the yellow jersey, fifteen years after Victor Hugo Peña, as he outclassed Peter Sagan in Fontenay-le-Comte. The finish was reached at the fastest expected speed but not without damage for the favourites as Chris Froome, Richie Porte, Adam Yates and Nairo Quintana lost a significant amount of time in crashes and mechanicals.

176 riders took the start of the 105th Tour de France at 11.10am in Noirmoutier-en-l’Île. Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Jérôme Cousin (Direct Energie) and Kevin Ledanois (Fortuneo-Samsic) rode away from the gun. Their maximum advantage was four minutes at km 20 before the peloton got organized with sprinters’ teams Quick Step, LottoNL-Jumbo, Dimension Data and Groupama-FDJ keeping the distance around three minutes. At half way into the race, the time gap was 2’30’’. Lawson Craddock (EF-Drapac) crashed in the feed zone and struggled to make it back to the pack.

Gaviria first of the bunch at the intermediate sprint

Fernando Gaviria (Quick Step) interestingly won the sprint of the peloton at the intermediate sprint of La Tranche-sur-Mer (km 119.5), behind Cousin, Ledanois and Offredo. The leading trio managed to stay at the front before the only King of the Mountain price up for grab at Vix with 28km to go. Ledanois smartly outsprinted his two rivals to take the first polka dot jersey this year. As the peloton was only 30 seconds adrift, Offredo attacked again 23km before the end. Only Cousin managed to bridge the gap. It gave him the opportunity to take three seconds at the bonus point of Maillezais with 13.5km to go while Oliver Naesen (AG2R-La Mondiale) has attacked from the peloton to grab one second and position his team higher in the convoy in the next stage.

Froome, Porte, Yates and Quintana with a deficit

Offredo was designated the most aggressive rider of the day but he was caught by the peloton along with Cousin with 10km to go. Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) was the first big name to crash but there was more to come with Chris Froome (Sky), Richie Porte (BMC) and Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) being other victims in the last 5km. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) had a mechanical with 3.4km to go. They couldn’t make it back to the pack before the finish where Gaviria benefited from a perfect lead out by Quick Step to win the bunch gallop against Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe).

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