Fontenay-le-Compte (France), July 7 (IANS) Colombian cyclist Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step) clinched the yellow jersey on Saturday with a victory in the action-packed inaugural stage of this year’s 105th edition of the Tour de France road race.
Separate issues hindered two of the Tour’s favorites; Chris Froome of Britain (Team Sky) fell 51 seconds behind the leader after a crash, while Nairo Quintana of Colombia (Movistar) dropped one minute and 12 seconds back after suffering a punctured tire just three kilometers shy of the finish, reports Efe.
The first stage featured a flat, 201-kilometer (155 mile) ride down the Atlantic coast of the Pays de la Loire from Noirmoutier-en-l’Ile to Fontenay-le-Comte.
Making his Tour debut, Gaviria completed the stage in four hours, 23 minutes and 32 seconds, a time shared by all the top 10 finishers in the opening stage, including Slovakia’s Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Germany’s Marcel Kittel (Team Katusha Alpecin) and Norway’s Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates).
“This is incredible, it’s a jersey that everyone wants to have, and to get it today is indescribable and we’re really happy to wear it,” Gaviria told the Tour’s in-house media company fresh off the race.
The Colombian managed to keep a cool head during a last 10 km marked by a series of crashes, including one that brought the rear end of the peloton to a messy halt as riders scrambled to get back on their bicycles.
Earlier in the race, a fall left United States rider Lawson Craddock (EF Education First-Drapac) with a bloodied cheek that required medical attention.
Stage 2 will set the riders on a 182.5 km course from Mouilleron-Saint-Germain to La Roche-sur-Yon.