AP/PA Images Winner, winner: France's Julian Alaphilippe wears the yellow jersey of the overall leader on the podium.
no home comforts

Alaphilippe emerges from crash carnage with Tour de France lead

The Frenchman dusted himself off from a fall to claim the first yellow jersey.

FRENCHMAN JULIAN ALAPHILIPPE dusted himself off from a fall to claim the first yellow jersey of the Tour de France on Saturday, winning stage one by a clear margin on a crash-marred opening day.

World champion Alaphilippe shot up the early section of the final 3km climb, taking 10 bonus seconds at the finish line and ended another 12 seconds ahead of his nearest challenger.

Australia’s Michael Matthews was second and is second overall at 16 seconds while Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic came third and is in the same position in the overall standings 20sec down on the leader.

Crossing the line in his world champion’s rainbow jersey, Alaphilippe put his thumb in his mouth in honour of his newborn son with his partner Marion Rousse, a former professional cyclist and now commentator

Ineos Grenadiers leader Geraint Thomas and defending champion Tadej Pogacar were just behind this group on a hugely stressful finish with major time gaps at stake that almost certainly led to the second of two mass falls on the day.

The first was caused by a fan brandishing a cardboard banner trying to get on television, the second by a technical error at high speed as riders jostled for position at the foot of the final slope.

Alaphilippe is no stranger to the yellow jersey having spent much of the 2019 Tour in the lead before finishing fifth overall.

© – AFP, 2021

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