Chris Froome crashed in a chaotic finale to the opening stage of the Tour de France as Colombian Fernando Gaviria won the stage in Fontenay-le-Comte.
Froome was forced off the edge of the road a little over five kilometres from the end, and crossed the line almost a minute after Gaviria.
Fellow contender Nairo Quintana also lost time after suffering a mechanical close to the end.
Fernando Gaviria benefited from Chris Froome’s crash in a chaotic finale to the opening stage of the Tour de France
The Colombian kept his focus and rode well to impressively win the stage in Fontenay-le-Comte on his Tour de France debut
Froome was forced off the edge of the road a little over five kilometres from the end and finished almost a minute behind
The British rider had to carry his bicycle back on to the road after falling into a ditch in the last kilometers of the race
For 190km, this was a fairly sedate stage from Noirmoutier-en-l’Ile but it that all changed a little over 10km from the end.
First French sprinter Arnaud Demare saw his hopes of a stage win ended in a tumble, then Team Sky’s Egan Bernal, the youngest rider in the race at 21, slid off the side of the road in another incident.
Froome was the next to go, sent hurtling into a field as the road turned to the left. The defending champion was quickly back on his bike but he could not get back on to the main group as the sprint trains put down the power at the front.
The riders had to deal with scorching temperatures as they competed in the 105th Tour de France on Saturday afternoon
Hundreds of fans lined the streets to cheer on the riders in Fontenay-le-Comte as they flew past them
The riders competed in the first stage of the Tour which is a a 201km from Noirmoutier-En-L’ile to Fontenay-le-Comte
A helicopter can be spotted in the distance following the riders as they work they way over a bridge in Fontenay-le-Comte
As Froome chased back, he passed a helpless Quintana waiting for help with a mechanical, just another general classification hopeful to be caught up in the chaos as the peloton split into pieces.
Up ahead, Colombian sprinter Gaviria held off world champion Peter Sagan on the rise to the line to take victory, becoming the first rider to win his debut stage in the Tour since Fabian Cancellara in 2004.
Froome finished in a group that also included Mitchelton-Scott’s Adam Yates and BMC’s Richie Porte 51 seconds after Gaviria, while Quintana came home alongside compatriot Bernal, 75 seconds down.
That leaves them already well down on those general classification hopefuls who avoided trouble, with Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates), Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors), Mikel Landa and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) all in the front group, as was Froome’s team-mate Geraint Thomas.
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