Tour De France 2018: Fernando Gaviria Wins Sprint, Chris Froome Crashes

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJuly 7, 2018

Colombia's Fernando Gaviria celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the first stage of the 105th edition of the Tour de France cycling race between Noirmoutier-en-l'ile and Fontenay-le Comte, western France, on July 7, 2018. (Photo by Philippe LOPEZ / AFP)        (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Fernando Gaviria sprinted to victory on Saturday in the 2018 Tour de France's opening stage.

At the end of the 201-kilometre ride to Fontenay-le-Comte, it was the Colombian who came home ahead of Peter Sagan and Marcel Kittel in a dash to the line.

Team Sky's Chris Froome, meanwhile, suffered a fall late in the stage and finished 48 seconds off the lead; his long-term rival Nairo Quintana was even further back.

The 2018 race got underway from Noirmoutier-en-l'lle and will finish in Paris in three weeks' time. Froome is seeking to defend his title from 12 months ago and become the fifth man to win this Grand Tour five times.


Stage Result

1. Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors)

2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe)

3. Marcel Kittel (Katusha Alpecin)


For the result in full, visit the Tour website.


Stage 1 Recap

The Team Sky Twitter account provided the profile for the stage, which was always going to suit the sprinters:

Team Sky @TeamSky

#TDF2018 stage 1 profile: 🚲 201 km 🚩 10:00 UK 🏁 14:50 UK ⛰️ 1x Cat 4 📺 Live on Eurosport/ITV4 (9.30am) ☀ Weather #GoTeamSky https://t.co/L89jdsFmfi

As is always the case, the Grand Depart was full of excitement ahead of Day 1.

The event's Twitter page posted the moment the 2018 Tour officially got underway, and three Frenchmen shot off in the breakaway to give the home fans reason to cheer:

Le Tour de France @LeTour

🚩 KM 0 🚩 @CousinJerom @OffredoYoann @KevinLedanois 🚴‍♂️🚴‍♂️🚴‍♂️💨 #TDF2018 https://t.co/E25aMV3FRC

Given there was just one Category 4 climb to negotiate, there was no urgency from the peloton to reel them in, with the pack settling in for what was poised to be a straightforward day of riding.

The breakaway riders' advantage stabilised at around four minutes, but the main group slowly started to reel them in well before the halfway point to set the race up for a sprint finish.

Cycling author Felix Lowe outlined how important it is in the race for the green jersey—awarded to the best sprinterto get a win on the board early on:

Felix Lowe @saddleblaze

Taking first blood is key for the sprinters - it's all about momentum. #TDF2018 2012: Sagan wins - ends up with 3 2013: Kittel (4) 2014: Kittel (4) 2015: Greipel (4) 2016: Cavendish (4) 2017: Kittel (5) 2018: ? (?)

The breakaway group were seemingly well aware that they were going to be caught, and some took the opportunity to enjoy themselves:

Le Tour de France @LeTour

😎 @KevinLedanois 😎 #TDF2018 https://t.co/InTN8MpIlc

Just when a routine sprint seemed on the cards, there was drama further back; Froome was squeezed off the road and was fortunate he had a soft landing. He was able to get back on his bike to reduce his losses.

As noted by the Inner Ring, Froome would've been relieved some of his big rivals were also off the front, including Quintana, who picked up a puncture:

the Inner Ring @inrng

Richie Porte, Adam Yates, Chris Froome arrive about 50 seconds later. Quintana still chasing

When the sprint finally arrived Tour debutant Gaviria was set up fantastically by his team-mates. He had more than enough to hold off Sagan and don the iconic yellow jersey at the end of a dramatic first day.