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Stage 1 Tour de France 2014 report: Kittel wins, Cav crashes

5th July 2014

Spectators at Harewood House for the Tour de France

The first stage of the 2014 Tour de France in Yorkshire was a roaring success. Huge crowds (perhaps 230,000 people) assembled in Leeds to watch the riders roll out of town, and they were met at Harewood by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. 

Bike parking at Harewood  Press and photographers at Harewood

The publicity caravan precedes the race by 2 hours or so. Among the vehicles was a van promoting Yorkshire tea. The TV helicopters circled overhead.

Yorkshire tea publicity van  Helicopter at Harewood

After leaving the grounds of Harewood, the flag went down and the racing began, and almost immediately a breakaway group took off. The members were Jens Voigt, Nicolas Edet, and Benoit Jarrier.

Many of the spectators from Harewood cycled back to Harrogate for the finish.

Cycling back to Harrogate from Harewood

The breakaway's lead went out to just over 3 minutes. After the intermediate sprint at Newbiggin, Voigt dropped his breakaway companions, and soloed until caught just after the last climb, Côte de Grinton Moor.

As the peloton neared the finish, Omega Pharma kept up the pace at the front for Mark Cavendish. Cancellara attacked in the last kilometre, but couldn't sustain his small lead. As he was caught, there wasn't enough space for Cavendish, Gerrans, and Coquard, and Cavendish and Gerrans fell. Cavendish dislocated his shoulder, and damaged ligaments, which would put him out of the Tour. 

Kittel beat Sagan to the line, to take the stage victory, and the yellow jersey.

This video shows something of the day at Harewood, cycling back to Harrogate, and the riders coming through with 2km to the finish in Harrogate:

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