Marcel Kittel won Stage 1 of the 2013 Tour de France, but that's hardly the big story from Saturday's race. The Tour got underway in about the most ridiculous way possible, thanks to a bus that got lodged under a banner at the finish line.
With just five kilometers remaining in the race, the bus still had not been moved. In a desperate attempt to keep the finish line of Stage 1 the originally planned finish line, the bus backed up and was driven off the road just in time for the riders to complete the entire course.
Because there is a photo finish camera set up at the three kilometers to go mark, the riders were told that the race would end at that point. However, just before the peloton reached that point, the bus was cleared off the course. Because of the (temporarily) advanced finish line, the riders picked up the pace earlier than normal, eventually resulting in a crash that claimed top sprinters Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan. Another top sprinter, Andre Griepel, suffered a mechanical failure late in the stage.
Without the top sprinters to contend with, Kittel, one of the best remaining sprinters at the front of the field, beat Alexander Kristoff to the line to capture his first career stage win in the Tour de France. He will also hold the white and green jerseys for best young rider and points for at least one day.
Race officials declared that all of the riders who went down in the melee that claimed Cavendish and Sagan would be given the same time as the finishing riders despite their crashing outside the three kilometers to go mark, due to the confusion caused by the bus at the finish line.
Here is the listing of the top 10 (full standings here):
|1.||Marcel Kittel||Team Argos-Shimano||04h 56' 52''|
|2.||Alexander Kristoff||Katusha Team||04h 56' 52''||+ 00' 00''|
|3.||Danny Van Poppel||Vacansoleil-DCM||04h 56' 52''||+ 00' 00''|
|4.||David Millar||Garmin-Sharp||04h 56' 52''||+ 00' 00''|
|5.||Matteo Trenton||Omega Pharma-Quick Step||04h 56' 52''||+ 00' 00''|
|6.||Samuel Dumoulin||AG2R La Mondiale||04h 56' 52''||+ 00' 00''|
|7.||Gregory Henderson||Lotto-Belisol||04h 56' 52''||+ 00' 00''|
|8.||Jurgen Roelandts||Lotto-Belisol||04h 56' 52''||+ 00' 00''|
|9.||José Joaquin Rojas||Movistar Team||04h 56' 52''||+ 00' 00''|
|10.||Kris Boeckman||Vacansoleil-DCM||04h 56' 52''||+ 00' 00''|