Alexander Kristoff wins Sprint and the Yellow Jersey at crash marred opening stage
Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) beat Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Cees Bol (Sunweb) in a chaotic bunch sprint
Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) won the opening stage and the yellow jersey at the crashed marred Grand Depart, bringing his total stage wins at the Tour de France to four.
The Norwegian overhauled Mads Pedersen (Trek Segaredo) and Cees Bol (Sunweb) on the line, in a furious and closely fought sprint.
The whole stage was overshadowed with horrendous wet weather and numerous crashes.
The race was neutralized by riders, especially Tony Martin, as the wet slick roads around Nice turned into a skating rink.
A huge number of riders crashed including Nairo Quintana, Caleb Ewan, George Bennett, Tom Dumuolin, Wout Poels, Mikel Landa, and Sam Bennett.
The worst hit were Pavel Sivakov and Julian Alaphilippe who battled to get back into the race. The Ineos Grenadier Sivakov hit the deck twice, and was forced to go back to the medical car for assistance. Alaphilippe fell on the descent, went through two bike changes.
Before the second descent of the Côte de Rimiez, Tony Martin neutralized the race. On the descent Astana decided to take matters in their own hands until Astana's captain Miguel Angel Lopez suffering a jaw-dropping downhill slide that saw him slam face-first into a traffic sign.
Primoz Roglic was seen at the head of the race, urging riders to slow down.
Meanwhile riders including Allaphillippe and Caleb Ewen managed to get back into the peloton.
The race started with a breakaway of three riders Michael Schar (CCC Team), Cyril Gautier (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) and Fabien Grellier (Total-Direct Energie). They stayed away until Michael Schär (CCC Team), Cyril Gautier (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) from the breakaway picked up the pace for the KOM points at the the Cote de Rimiez nd the race was all back together.
After the second descent of the Côte de Rimiez with 20 kms to go Benoit Cosnefroy's (AG2R La Mondiale) attack signaled a return to racing as the sprinters teams took over and the pace increased to over 60kph.
There was another huge crash just inside the 3 kms to go banner, an angry Thibault Pinot was seen remounting his bike with his jersey ripped.
"The neutralized descent was great for me, allowed me to get right back in," said 33-year-old Kristoff, who had been around six minutes adrift after his own tumble.
John Degenkolb from Lotto-Soudal finished outside the time limit.
Tomorrow's Stage two heads straight into the mountains with four significant climbs over 190km with the bigger climbs of the Col de la Colmiane and the Col de Turini used in Paris-Nice. Sunday's stage also starts and ends in Nice but will be run under blue skies and over the Alps in the Nice back country.
VIDEO: 2020 Tour de France Stage 1 Highlights
2020 Tour de France Stage 1 Top 10
1 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates 3:46:23
2 Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
3 Cees Bol (Ned) Team Sunweb
4 Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck-Quickstep
5 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
6 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
7 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling
8 Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
9 Anthony Turgis (Fra) Total Direct Energie
10 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
1 Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) 59
2 Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) 30
3 Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 29
1 Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) 3:46:17
2 Cees Bol (Team Sunweb) +2"
3 Sergio Higuita (EF Pro Cycling) +6"
Polka Dot Jersey
1 Fabien Grellier (Team Total Direct Energie) 2
2 Michael Schär (CCC Team) 2
3 Cyril Gautier (B&B Hotels - Vital Concept p/b KTM) 2