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Tour de France 2016, Stage 1 results: Mark Cavendish in yellow, Alberto Contador crashes

Mark Cavendish won a bunch sprint and will wear the yellow jersey when the Tour de France rolls on Sunday. Alberto Contador took a scary spill midway through Stage 1, but was able to ride on and finish with the peloton.

Mark Cavendish won a bunch sprint at Utah Beach to take Stage 1 of the 2016 Tour de France. He will enter Stage 2 with the yellow jersey on his back — a rare instance when a pure sprinter finds himself atop the general classification.

The pure flat stage began at Mont Saint-Michel. The Normandy coastline could have ravaged the peloton with winds, but the proceeding were relatively incident- and echelon-free for the bulk of the race. One big exception occurred 107 kilometers in the race, when Alberto Contador took a spill on the outside of a bend and got badly scraped up along his right side, tearing his kit.

Contador got up and rode on. The peloton kindly slowed down to wait for him as he got patched up by a doctor from a team car. Hopefully for the 33-year-old, the crash looked worse than it actually was.

The stage was led by Alex Howes of Cannondale-Drapac and Anthony Delaplace of Fortuneo-Vital Concept for much of the day, first as part of a larger breakaway with Jan Bárta, Paul Voss and Leigh Howard, then as a duo with 57 kilometers to go. The peloton ate away at their lead, allowing Howes and Delaplace to hold an ill-fated 30-second gap for much of the final 30 kilometers before bridging with 4.5 kilometers left. After 183 kilometers in the lead, Howes and Delaplace rejoined the peloton.

As the peloton swallowed up the breakaway, leadout trains began to form. Marcel Kittel appeared to be well positioned, as riders crashed behind them, but Cavendish outdueled him to the line. Cavendish was long thought to be slowing down in his advancing age, but he looked spry on Stage 1.

Rather than do its typical individual time trial as a prologue, the Tour gave viewers a trip through beautiful Normandy instead. The stage was a success, provided a certain Spanish champion ultimately comes back unscathed.

Stage results:

1. Mark Cavendish

2. Marcel Kittel

3. Peter Sagan

4. André Greipel

5. Edward Theuns

6. Christophe Laporte

7. Bryan Coquard

8. Alexander Kristoff

9. Daniel McLay

10. 6 riders + 3"

Complete classifications and schedule