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Returning from a doping ban after testing positive on the 2010 Tour — a title he has been stripped of — the Spaniard grimaced in pain as he crossed the line with his clothing torn and his left shoulder grazed.
"I am fine, I'm OK," Contador said through a translator. "Someone didn't brake in front of me and then there was a crash. I will have to rest now."
As the stage drew to an end, former champion Andy Schleck's RadioShack team pushed to the front as a side wind made it harder for riders, then Contador's Saxo-Tinkoff team pushed up as the sinewy roads started to thin out.
Johnny Hoogerland, who was sent flying off his bike and sustained cuts to his legs on the 2011 Tour after being hit by a Tour car, was sent tumbling after hitting a crash barrier near the end. He was helped back onto his bike and able to continue.
Last year's Giro d'Italia winner, Ryder Hesjedal, was caught in another crash moments later but continued.
With the finish line in sight, and as the nerves jangled, riders were sent flying from their bikes, throwing the stage into chaos.
"It was just a complete disaster," Greipel said.
It proved to be an eventful day from the outset. Before the stage started, French Sports Minister Valerie Fourneyron met with a delegation of riders unhappy about pre-race media reports that they thought focused too heavily on doping stories.
The day before, Lance Armstrong hogged headlines when he told Le Monde he couldn't have won his seven Tours without doping.
Once the race began, tour favorite Chris Froome stopped to get a new rear wheel early on and stopped for a second time to get a new bike.
Sunday's second stage is shorter but features four climbs along the 97-mile ride from Bastia to Ajaccio.
|New England||5:30 PM|
|Miami||80||4th Qtr 2:01|
|LA Lakers||39||3rd Qtr|
|Arizona||2||3rd Prd 18:48|
|St. Louis||3||3rd Prd 14:41|
|Nashville||2||2nd Prd 14:13|
|Minnesota||0||1st Prd 19:22|
|Michigan||66||1st OT 3:26|
|Marist||48||2nd Half 15:32|
|Fordham||32||2nd Half 18:24|
|Quinnipiac||47||2nd Half 17:13|
|Utah||27||1st Half 3:47|
|Connecticut||2||1st Half 17:24|
|California||2||1st Half 18:25|
|North Dakota St||2||1st Half 18:20|
|Coll of Charleston||49||FINAL|
|(4) Notre Dame||92|
|(21) Georgia||72||2nd Half 0:36|
|(24) Oklahoma||23||2nd Half|
|St Johns||26||2nd Half 18:10|
|Delaware||39||2nd Half 16:51|
|Binghamton||25||2nd Half 14:36|
|Vermont||26||2nd Half 18:41|
|William & Mary||31||2nd Half 14:59|
|Boston College||36||2nd Half 18:39|
|(16) North Carolina||39|
|Virginia||52||2nd Half 17:41|
|(2) Connecticut||48||2nd Half|
|Arkansas||30||2nd Half 17:09|
|Virginia Tech||44||2nd Half 18:09|
|Canisius||27||2nd Half 18:37|
|Monmouth||24||2nd Half 15:42|
|Quinnipiac||38||2nd Half 19:00|
|Butler||42||2nd Half 12:50|
|Wichita State||27||2nd Half|
|Evansville||29||2nd Half 17:14|
|(18) Miss State||2:00 PM|
|Villanova||2||1st Half 19:06|
|Georgetown||2||1st Half 17:58|
|North Texas||2||1st Half 17:34|
|Auburn||2||1st Half 16:59|
|(12) Texas A&M||6|
|(11) Arizona State||3||1st Half 15:02|
|Missouri State||0||1st Half 20:00|
|Michigan||4||1st Half 18:32|
|Minnesota||11||1st Half 15:31|
|Wisconsin||2||1st Half 19:24|
|Bradley||0||1st Half 20:00|
|(20) Iowa||3:00 PM|
|(1) South Carolina||3:30 PM|