International Sport > Cycling > FROOME LOSES TIME AS GAVIRIA WINS OPENING STAGE OF TOUR

FROOME LOSES TIME AS GAVIRIA WINS OPENING STAGE OF TOUR

Chris Froome's bid to claim yet another Tour de France title got off to an inauspicious start as the reigning champion crashed towards the end of the opening stage and lost almost a minute.

Team Sky rider Froome - cleared to compete earlier this week after the UCI (International Cycling Union) closed anti-doping proceedings against him - came off his bike inside the final 10 kilometres of Saturday's ride from Noirmoutier-en-l'Ile to Fontenay-le-Comte.

Although he was unhurt and able to swiftly resume riding, the Briton finished 51 seconds off the pace as Quick-Step Floors rookie Fernando Gaviria out-paced Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Marcel Kittel (Katusha Alpecin) to triumph.

Froome was not the only big name to lose valuable time on an opening stage that predictably featured a bunch sprint, with a three-man breakaway failing to stick.

Richie Porte of BMC and Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) were also involved in crashes and finished alongside Froome, while Movistar's Nairo Quintana suffered a puncture and dropped a minute and 15 seconds.

There were no such problems for Quintana's fellow Colombian Gaviria, though, as the Tour newcomer showed why he had been ranked as a favourite for stage glory.

FABULOUS FERNANDO OFF TO PERFECT START

Despite the fact he had never raced in the Tour before, Gaviria was many people's tip to emerge victorious at the end of a flat 201km route.

And he lived up to his billing to become the first rookie winner of the opening stage since 2004, demonstrating superb acceleration to get the better of Sagan and Kittel, two of the most renowned sprinters in the field.

Mark Cavendish - who sits second in the list of all-time stage victories behind Eddy Merckx - was unable to contend on this occasion.

STAGE 1 RESULTS

1. Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) 4:23:32
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) +00:00
3. Marcel Kittel (Katusha Alpecin) +00:00
4. Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) +00:00
5. Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) +00:00

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification
1. Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) 4:23:32
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) +00:00
3. Marcel Kittel (Katusha Alpecin) +00:00

Points
1. Jerome Cousin (Direct Energie)
2. Kevin Ledanois (Fortuneo-Samsic)
3. Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Groupe Gobert)

UP NEXT ...
The sprinters will once again be the focus of much attention on stage two, a flat 182.5km trip from Mouilleron-Saint-Germain to La Roche-sur-Yon.

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TRIO POSE MAIN THREAT TO FAVOURITE FROOME SAGAN WINS STAGE FIVE
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
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