Tour de France stage 1: Finish line quotes

Contador on his crash, Cavendish, Cummings, Greipel, Kittel, de Jongh and more

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) - Stage winner

"It’s phenomenal. It was my third opportunity, and my first without bad luck. I don’t know what to say. We wanted this. The yellow jersey is iconic. It's good to get recognition for the sponsors and for the Qhubeka charity. I do this for my team and the continent of Africa, to put 5,000 kids on bikes.

"Regardless of who’s there, the Tour de France is the Tour de France. To win a stage is an incredible honour that I’ve never had before. It’s a special emotion.

"I’m so happy. I really wanted to win here today. The lads were incredble. Edvald did the most incredible turn at the end. He rode out of his skin today. I’m so happy to do this for Dimension Data today. There’s no better way to highest the Qhubeka charity.

"It's quite emotional. This is the only jersey in cycling I’ve not worn. I’ve had all three points jerseys, the worlds jerseys and the leaders jerseys in the Giro and the Vuelta and now this. I just wanted to win the stage and to wear this jersey is an honour.

"I’ve built my whole career on this race."

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff)

"I’m bruised all down along my right side from my ankle up but at least I don’t have to go home. Hopefully I can get through the coming days and recover before the mountains. There are some positions where my shoulder gives me some doubts but I want to be optimistic and recover. I was well placed [at the time of the crash]. I came into the corner, there was a traffic island and my front wheel hit it and then I hit the curb with my back."

Steven de Jongh, Tinkoff Team director [on Alberto Contador's crash]

"It’s very unfortunate of course. Bookwalter crashed in front of him and took Alberto out.The first signs are good, he said he was fine, but right now he’s with the doctor and we’ll have more news later," he said. "When you crash you get back on bike and don’t feel pain, but then after the stage you might be in trouble. But hopefully he’ll be fine."

Michael Valgren (Tinkoff)

"There were crosswinds so we were alert and in the front. We were actually top five when it happened. There was a left-right corner and in the right-hand corner there was an island in the middle and I he didn't see that and just touched the rear brake a bit too much and the back slid out from under him.

"He was fine. Of course he lost some skin, but I think he’s pretty alright. We got a quick bike change and got him back pretty easily. But of course it was a big stress at the time.

"You don’t expect that in the front. In the back it happens, but luckily I think he’s pretty alright. His elbow was a bit swollen up, but he should be fine."

Steve Cummings (Dimension Data)

"I think it’s fantastic for him [Cavendish]. He deserves it. He’s a great rider. I’m sure he’ll be delighted. He said coming in he wasn’t sure how he’d be after the track preparation, but I’m sure he’ s delighted now. His trusted guys did their jobs, like Eisel, Renshaw and Boasson Hagen. They did a great job, that unit’s been together so long and they’re still working well."

Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) [on crash in the finishing straight]

"With the old fences the feet are on the road and the people were leaning over. I think that ASO or the Tour de France needs to change something for us, for our safety, to put the new fences, which are not straight, and the people are farther away off the road. I think that there were really bad circumstances but the team did a good job. A disappointing finish."

Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie)

"I lost Angel Tulik to a crash with five kilometres to go but I didn’t panic, which is different to years gone by. Yohann Gene placed me well with a kilometre to go and I got on Greipel’s wheel but the wave of riders coming in from the left set us back a bit. I lost a bit of speed and the sprint was was already started by the time I got back up to speed. There’ll be other sprints, and, despite it all, I was still up there. I’d named Cavendish among my favourites and it was a quality top three today."

Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)

"There was a crash in a corner just after a bit of a crosswind section, and there was a lot of stress because Contador and one of our boys came down in the group.

"I just came up to it fast and went on the left, tried to jump over the curb and clipped my back wheel and punctured. So I kind of had to wait for a wheel and stuff, but that was OK. Luckily Luke [Rowe] was alright. Contador seemed OK. He was pretty cut up, so I’m sure he’ll feel that for awhile.

"Then obviously there was a big crash at the end. I got caught up in that as well, so hopefully that’s all my luck out of the way now on the first stage."

John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin)

"It was a very fast finale. We had a good position and we were all together. There was a big crash right next to us into the right fences and then we lost contact to the front of the bunch which cost us achieving a better result. Overall the focus was to find a good feeling on the bike and to start the tour is a positive way. It was an exciting stage with lot of spectators supporting the riders."

Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep)

"It was a big fight in the last five kilometers. Everyone wanted to be there, even the GC guys fought to get a place at the front. I have to say that my boys were very strong, did a great lead-out and kept me well positioned. Because of that crazy finale, I had to start the sprint from the left side and had to go really early, and that made the difference today, because Mark started his sprint later.

"When you are in the wind and someone is coming from behind, there's no chance to keep up. I am disappointed because it was my goal to win, but I must congratulate Mark; he's one of the fastest guys in the world and it's no shame to lose to him. On the up side, the team worked well, I am satisfied with how my legs felt and we are sure more chances will come in the next 20 days."  

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