Fernando Gaviria (Quickstep-Floors) sprinted to victory on stage 1 of the Tour de France securing the first yellow jersey of the race. World Champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) finished in 2nd place and Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) was 3rd.
A beautiful sunny day welcomed the start of the 105th edition of Le Tour de France, as the peloton left the Normandy region on a 201km journey, finishing in Fontenay-de-Conte. It was a day for the sprinters and a rare chance for a fast man to pull on the coveted yellow jersey.
From the start, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and Quickstep-Floors took control of the race, setting the pace behind a 3-rider breakaway. Jay Thomson, in his debut Tour de France, was in his element leading the main field for the majority of the stage.
As the finale approached, the nerves started to rise and eventually boiled over, with a few crashes and mechanical’s taking place over the final kilometers. Defending champion, Chris Froome (Team Sky) went down, but so too did a number of his GC rivals, with Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Richie Porte (BMC Racing) and Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) all losing time together with Froome in the end.
At the head of proceedings though, our African Team had steered clear of the trouble and were primed with 5km to go, for the final sprint showdown. Our sprint train was just not able to link up effectively though, through the numerous roundabouts that made the in run-in to the line rather tricky. Quickstep-Floors led from the front and delivered their Colombian to the best position for the sprint, which was the difference at the end of the day.
Edvald Boasson Hagen rolled across the line as our highest placed rider on the stage, in 19th position. The rest of our African Team all got in safely too, after a very nervy stage today at the Tour de France.
Jay Thomson – Rider
It was not the result we wanted but it’s also not the end of the world. Tomorrow is another sprint day and we will try again. Today was the first stage of twenty-one, so it’s not all lost in the water. We’ll try again tomorrow, we’ll work hard for a result that we deserve. Other than that, today was an amazing day. I had to tell myself to stop smiling, just seeing the crowds and how many people were watching the race, it was unreal.