Chris Froome crashed in the closing kilometers of Stage 1 of the 2018 Tour de France, losing 51 seconds off the lead on what was supposed to be a stark-quiet day of racing.
With roughly five kilometers to go to the finish, Froome was pushed off the road near a canvas barrier and rolled into a ditch, nearly hitting roadside stanchion. And despite a quick recovery, he was unable to catch to the head of a race that was going full-bore in preparation for the sprint.
Chris Froome's harsh crash seen from within the peloton. Fortunately, the reigning champion got back on his bike !— Le Tour de France (@LeTour) July 7, 2018
La chute de Chris Froome vue de l'intérieur du peloton. Le champion en titre est fort heureusement parvenu à reprendre la route ! #TDF2018 pic.twitter.com/9axsaRay1f
Froome was not the only general classification contender to get bit by Stage 1. The perpetually unfortunate Richie Porte went down in a bunch crash before Froome, and also lost 51 seconds. Ditto Adam Yates, who went down a little up the road from Porte.
CRASH. It looks like Richie Porte's gone down and part of the peloton are momentarily held up. Luckily no one appears to be hurt— ITV Cycling (@itvcycling) July 7, 2018
Less that 10km to go
Watch LIVE on @ITV4 now#TDF2018 pic.twitter.com/AMrxwHkM4J
Colombian Nairo Quintana was the biggest loser, suffering a mechanical problem after Froome, Porte, and Yates had regained their bearings. He watched those riders whizz by in a chase group while he waited for help, ultimately finishing one minute, 15 seconds back of the yellow jersey.
Young Colombian rider Fernando Gaviria won the stage and the yellow jersey in the sprint, but the big winners were riders like Romain Bardet, Tom Dumoulin, and Vincenzo Nibali — those riders with dreams of wearing yellow in Paris — who were able to stay upright while their rivals suffered setbacks all along the course.
Just like that, the Tour de France is in chaos.
To that point, Stage 1 had been an ambling, pleasant stroll through Brittany. A three-man breakaway of French riders Yoann Offredo, Jerome Cousin, and Kevin Ledanois competed amongst each other for green and polka-dot jersey points, and held off the peloton until they were finally swallowed up with 10 kilometers to go.
As is often the case in the Tour’s early, deceptively nervy stages, riders started crashing once the pace started to pick up for the sprint. Stage 2 will be another flat stage, which means sudden bouts of carnage are on the menu once again.
Stage 1 results:
1. Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) - 4h 23’ 32”
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) - “
3. Marcel Kittel (Katusha Alpecin) - “
4. Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) - “
5. Cristophe Laporte (Cofidis) - “
6. Dylan Groenewegen (Lotto NL-Jumbo) - “
7. Michael Matthews (Sunweb) - “
8. John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) - “
9. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) - “
10. Rafael Majka (Quick-Step Floors) - “