Stuck bus almost forces altered finish to first Tour de France stage

  • Article by: JEROME PUGMIRE , AP Sports Writer
  • Updated: June 29, 2013 - 8:58 PM
hide

Marcel Kittel of Germany celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the first stage of the Tour de France

Photo: Laurent Rebours, ASSOCIATED PRESS - AP

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

PORTO VECCHIO, Corsica — The first stage of the 100th Tour de France ended with a bus stuck under an archway at the finish line until minutes before the first riders arrived.

Shortly after the bus was dislodged, German rider Marcel Kittel was first to arrive, after dodging all sorts of mayhem to win Saturday's stage on Corsica.

Kittel beat Russian sprinter Alexander Kristoff in a dash to the line after a major crash wiped out some other competitors. Organizers considered moving the finish line up to avoid the bus, then changed their minds at the last moment after the bus was freed.

About 20 riders fell close to the end, among them two-time former champion Alberto Contador and sprinter Peter Sagan. They got back up, with Contador's shoulder cut and bruised.

British sprinter Mark Cavendish did not crash but was stuck behind those who fell and could not challenge for his 24th stage win. He was hoping to wear the prestigious yellow jersey for the first time in his career.

"I saw the crash happen to my right," said Kittel, who also finished the day with the best sprinter's green jersey. "I knew it was serious. I knew that Mark and Andre (Greipel) were no longer in contention and it was a good chance for us."

But Cavendish and Sagan were nowhere to be seen as the main bunch turned for home, and Kittel held off Kristoff as they dipped for the line.

"I'm lucky I didn't come down," Cavendish said. "What caused the problems was changing the finish. Like, we heard on the radio with literally 5K to go that the sprint was in 2K and then a K later, they were like 'No, it's at the finish.' It's just carnage."

Francaise Des Jeux team manager Marc Madiot was furious.

"The president of the (race jury) didn't do his job," he said. "When we make a mistake we get a fine. Well, he should get a huge fine."

Race events director Jean-Francois Pescheux says circumstances forced a quick decision.

"We would've preferred a nice finish like the one we'd planned. But in exceptional situations, you have to take exceptional decisions," Pescheux said by telephone. "We're not going to stop the riders, and ask (them) what decision we should take."

Organizers considered shortening the stage by two miles after the bus from the Orica Greenedge team got wedged under the structure at the finish, but the bus got moved just in time.

"When a bus arrives near the finish line the driver must ask the permission to cross it," finish line manager Jean-Louis Pages said. "This bus was late. We deflated the tires so we could move it away as the peloton was fast approaching."

Kittel did not even know about the bus, and was lucky enough to avoid the crash to win the flat, 132-mile trek from Porto Vecchio to Bastia in just under 5 hours. Kristoff and third-place Danny van Poppel clocked the same time.

"It feels like I have gold on my shoulders," Kittel said about wearing the famed yellow jersey. "I didn't know about the bus. I'm glad they were able to move it."

Cavendish's Omega Pharma-Quick Step teammate Tony Martin was caught in the fall and later taken to hospital after losing consciousness.

Contador had a bad day, too.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets 6 Bottom 8th Inning
Miami 6
Philadelphia 7 FINAL
Atlanta 0
Boston 3 Top 10th Inning
Tampa Bay 3
Minnesota - WP: P. Hughes 6 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 4
Pittsburgh 4 Top 7th Inning
St. Louis 2
Milwaukee 2 Top 7th Inning
Chicago Cubs 3
Detroit 2 Top 1st Inning
Cleveland 0
Seattle 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Oakland 2
San Francisco 2 Suspended
Colorado 2
Arizona 0 Top 1st Inning
San Diego 0
San Francisco - T. Hudson 4:40 PM
Colorado - F. Morales
Washington - G. Gonzalez 7:10 PM
Los Angeles - R. Hernandez
Texas - C. Lewis 7:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Denver
Utah State 7 FINAL
Tennessee 38
SMU 0 FINAL
(10) Baylor 45
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 30 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Toronto 12 FINAL
Hamilton 13
Edmonton 3:30 PM
Calgary
Indiana 14 1st Qtr 1:38
Chicago 14

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many fantasy football teams do you draft?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close