/ Cycling

Mark Cavendish crashes in dramatic finish as Marcel Kittel takes opening Tour stage

Updated: Saturday, 05 Jul 2014 18:49 | Comments

Mark Cavendish receives medical assistance after his fall Marcel Kittel of Germany raises his arms as he wins the opening Tour de France stage in Yorkshire The Peloton passing through the village of Muker, Yorkshire
Mark Cavendish receives medical assistance after his fall Marcel Kittel of Germany raises his arms as he wins the opening Tour de France stage in Yorkshire The Peloton passing through the village of Muker, Yorkshire

Mark Cavendish's bid for the yellow jersey ended in a heap as the Manxman tumbled to the tarmac in a dramatic conclusion to the opening stage of the 101st Tour de France in Harrogate.

Cavendish was bidding for a 26th Tour stage win of his career in his mother's home town and a first yellow jersey, but collided with Australian Simon Gerrans in the final 500 metres and was seen clutching his shoulder and midrift as he rolled over the line.

Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) won the 190.5-kilometre opening stage from Leeds to claim the yellow jersey on the opening day for a second successive year.

Ireland's Nicolas Roche finished in 46th place, 14 seconds behind Kittel.

Cavendish was aiming to emulate Tom Simpson, Chris Boardman, Sean Yates, David Millar, Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome by becoming the seventh Briton to wear the fabled maillot jaune.

He was well-positioned entering the final kilometre before Fabian Cancellara launched a surprise attack.

The sprinters' teams regrouped, though, and Kittel powered away to the line ahead of Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp) as Cavendish's dream ended in tatters.

Kittel won four stages - to Cavendish's two - in the 2013 Tour and continued his supremacy in the mad dash for the line.

Defending champion Froome (Team Sky) avoided the trouble to place sixth, but will face a sterner test in Sunday's 201km second stage from York to Sheffield.

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