Kittel wins confusing Stage 1 of 2013 Tour de France
Bastia, Corsica (Sports Network) - Marcel Kittel of Germany won the opening stage of the 2013 Tour de France, outsprinting Norway's Alexander Kristoff to the finish line.
Where the race would actually finish came into question late on Saturday after a team bus was caught under the structure at the line. Tour officials quickly moved the finish to the 3-kilometer mark, but restored the original line once the bus was removed.
Because of the confusion, all riders were awarded the same finishing time for the stage.
However, the leader's yellow jersey will be worn by Kittel, who won a Tour stage for the first time.
Kittel completed the 213-kilometer stage on the island of Corsica in a time of 4 hours, 56 minutes and 52 seconds.
"There was a big fight for the stage win, -- as we knew that the winner would also have yellow -- and everyone tried to stay in front so there was a lot of chaos, but I'm very happy that my team worked so well to keep me out of trouble and keep me in a good position and to keep me safe," said Kittel. "It's perfect to have the yellow jersey. It's like gold on shoulders and I'm so, so happy that I can wear it today."
It's the 100th edition of the Tour de France and the race is devoid of a defending champion. Britain's Bradley Wiggins is skipping the event because of a knee injury.
Former champions Alberto Contador of Spain, Andy Schleck of Luxembourg and Cadel Evans of Australia are competing this year. Contador won in 2007 and 2009, while Schleck was awarded the 2010 title after Contador was stripped for a doping offense and Evans won the 2011 crown.
Contador missed last year's event because of his doping ban and on Saturday was caught up in a crash with just over three kilometers remaining. He was able to finish, despite a torn jersey, and was placed 163rd among the 198 riders.
A couple of sprint favorites, Britain's Mark Cavendish and Slovakia's Peter Sagan, were behind the final crash. Cavendish was 58th on Saturday and Sagan 155th.
Since the crash occurred prior to the three-kilometer mark, the times would have been well off the winner's pace. However, the decision to give everyone the same time because of the confusing finish had already been determined.
06/29 13:32:57 ET