Gaviria pulls on the Yellow jersey after chaotic stage one Sprint Victory
Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) pulled on the Yellow Jersey after powering to a convincing sprint win ahead of Peter Sagan and Marcel Kittel. GC favorites Froome, Quintana and others loose time after crashing in the final kilometres
With 10 kms to go, the high pace and pinch points set off a chain of three crashes which involved a number of favorites including sprint ace Arnaud Demare (FDJ).
Team Sky had a rough ride, Egan Bernal and Wout Powels crashed out and then it was the turn of leader Chris Froome, who flew over a barrier, recovering, but loosing around 40 seconds along with dozens of delayed riders.
Nario Quintana who was also delayed, suffered a puncture and lost even more time.
Quick-Step Floors controlled the race and delivered Gavira to front for a chaotic sprint, powering to a convincing win ahead of Peter Sagan and Marcel Kittel.
VIDEO: 2018 Tour de France Stage 1 Highlights
A trio of French riders Yoann Offredo, Jérôme Cousin and local Kévin Ledanois went away in the day's breakaway as the flag dropped.
The peloton seemed more than happy and let them go for the 200 km flat stage. The trio built up a lead of over 4 minutes, which slowly came down.
Behind USA's Lawson Craddock (EF Drapac) crashed in the feed zone and looks like he could have dislocated his shoulder or even worse fractured his collarbone. He continued to ride at the back of the peloton.
With around 30kms to go the breakaway trio reached the first KOM climb of the Col de Vix, with local Kévin Ledanois taking maximum points and with that the Polka Dot jersey.
With 27 kms to go the break imploded with just 48 seconds lead. With 18 kms to go Oliver Naeson attacked off the front of the peloton.
Yoann Offredo and Jérôme Cousin took the bonus points with 13 kms to go as Oliver Naeson took the final bonus point, they were caught by a charging peloton with just 9 kms to go.
GC favorites Jakob Fulsang and Rafal Majka finished in the top 10.
Gaviria and the team will not defend the jersey "It is incredible to take the Yellow Jersey because it is a jersey that everybody wants to have and to have it today it's unbelievable, it is indescribable," he explained. "We are happy to have the jersey even if it's for only a couple of days, but we will try to keep it for as long as possible."
2018 Tour de France Top 10
1 GAVIRIA Fernando Quick-Step Floors 4:23:32
2 SAGAN Peter BORA - hansgrohe ,,
3 KITTEL Marcel Team Katusha - Alpecin ,,
4 KRISTOFF Alexander UAE-Team Emirates ,,
5 LAPORTE Christophe Cofidis, Solutions Crédits ,,
6 GROENEWEGEN Dylan Team LottoNL-Jumbo ,,
7 MATTHEWS Michael Team Sunweb ,,
8 DEGENKOLB John Trek - Segafredo ,,
9 FUGLSANG Jakob Astana Pro Team ,,
10 MAJKA Rafal BORA - hansgrohe
Chris Froome battled back to limit his losses after a crash and a chaotic finish to stage one at the Tour de France
What had been a straightforward day quickly turned into a hectic dash for home, with Froome being edged off the road and into a field with around six kilometres remaining.
The defending champion was able to quickly remount and join a large chasing group of riders after the peloton had split in a large crash 11km from home.
Froome eventually crossed the line 51 seconds back on stage winner Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors), with the stage decided in a nervous bunch kick.
Geraint Thomas led the team home, digging deep to finish 14th and firmly amongst the lead group in Fontenay-le-Comte.
Back at the bus Froome said: “I saw a lot of crashes out there today. It’s just one of those things. We always knew the first few days were going to be tricky and going to be sketchy. It’s part of the game unfortunately."
“We were right at the front part of the peloton in the top third. There wasn’t too much more the guys could have done. It was getting quite chaotic with some of the sprinters there, but that’s bike racing. I’m just grateful I’m not injured in any way and there’s a lot of road to cover before Paris obviously.”