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Tour de France 2014: Stage 1

Hello and welcome to the Tour de France. You can join us for every stage of the race over the next three weeks.

We are in Leeds for the start of stage 1 of the race.

There's just under an hour until the start of the stage and the crowds here are huge. The organisers are estimating that roughly a million fans will be on the road for each stage and today we have 191km from Leeds to Harrogate.

Cycling is kinda big here in the UK! #tdf http://t.co/BaX1HfCCrX

@richie_porte Sat, 5th Jul 2014 10:15:07

The team buses have arrived, the riders have begun to sign on and the royal family are even here to see the start of the stage. Clouds and gentle breeze but conditions are pretty good for the opening stage. You can watch our video preview of today' stage right here.

RT @Roman86_K: Good luck in @letour to my teammates from @tinkoff_saxo ...Fight for #yellow #Tinkoff4TDF

Koen de Kort says... "The Griton Moor climb and the run into the finish line are quite difficult, but nothing a strong sprinter won't be able to survive so I'm still expecting a bunch sprint finish. Cavendish will be out to take the yellow, but we'll do all we can to help Marcel Kittel."

And today is certainly, on paper at least, a stage for the sprinters with Kittel, Griepel, Demare, Kristoff, and home favourite Mark Cavendish all hoping to pull on the first maillot jaune in this year's race.

And you can find our text preview, map and profile for today's stage, right here. On stage riders are signing on the biggest cheers coming for Cavendish and of course Team Sky, who are here to defend Chris Froome's 2013 title. After the build up and all the press conferences over the last few stages it's time for the talking to stop and the racing to begin. Well almost, we still have around 30 minutes until the start of today's stage.

Wow. Don't think I've ever seen crowds like this before. This is going to be some stage.

@SRichardsonCW Sat, 5th Jul 2014 10:18:30

Belkin will have two in race video cameras on stage one. http://t.co/Gdb8KiU6Py

@stephenfarrand Sat, 5th Jul 2014 10:27:20

For the full run down on riders and teams in the race, you can check out the start list for this year's race,

.

Another weather update, it's cloudy at the finish but there's little wind and it's dry.

And we've saved you the effort and time by picking out the top ten contenders for this year's race. You can read the story, watch our video, here.

The majority of the peloton have signed on but made their way back to the team buses. The line is occupied by the media circus that follows the Tour. Right now Kristoff is signing on. The Milan San Remo champion is a decent dark horse for the stage win today.

Stuart O'Grady makes an appearance at the start #TDF #TDF14 http://t.co/zQfZu6oLZT

@SadhbhOS Sat, 5th Jul 2014 10:42:05

Andre Greipel is certainly a contender for today's stage. The German always brings his best for the Tour and he has one of the best leadouts in the race. Here's what he had to say at his press conference:

 

“I think I have really good condition and I feel good. I am looking forward to the start now,” he said. “All the time there is a lot of good sprinters here. We have a really classy field of sprinters here. All the lead-out trains are really close to each other, it’s like track sprinting. At the end, the team makes the difference, not the sprinter.

“Of course we’re going to try and be in the mix for the bunch sprints. I have the support of the team. It’s me who has the victories but the whole team is part of it. We are not counting my victories we are not counting the victories of the team.”

Greipel's compatriot Marcel Kittel pulled on the first Tour de France yellow jersey last year's and he won four stages in the race. We caught up with him before the race. The message: he's here to win. Watch the video interview him here.

Mark Cavendish is now signing on at the moment and is thanking the fans for turning out. There have been six Brits in yellow before and  he's looking to make history as the first British rider to wear yellow, in Britain.

Extraordinary scenes in Leeds for the Tour start. 10 mins to go, and crowds around start line are 10 deep, with surrounding balconies packed

@EllisBacon Sat, 5th Jul 2014 10:50:01

Cavendish has played down his chances slightly but this is certainly the stage he's built a lot of his season around. His approach in public at least is different to that from the one he took into the Olympic Games in 2012, when the GB team, the GB media pretty much told everyone how the race would unfold.

But Cavendish certainly comes here with his best leadout,  with Martin, Renshaw, Trentin and Petacchi all featuring.

The sun is out and the riders are now on the start line. The race time has been changed and 11:05 the race will roll out.

Kittel and Griepel catch up on the line, there's even time for a quick hug but both riders will be putting friendship aside once the flag drops.

There's a long neutralized zone of 17.5km as the riders head to Harewood House and they're off. Mark Cavendish at the front of the race, with Contador next to him and Froome there of course too.

Prudhomme and Verity are standing up in the race car and waving to the huge, huge crowds by the side of the roads. Andy Schleck moves up and gives Froome a pat on the back.

The pace is gentle through the neutralized zone as riders soak up the atmosphere. Contador and Froome remain at the front as at the back, French champion Demare catches up with riders from IAM Cycling.

It's bright sunshine now for the peloton as they continue to roll along.

Cavendish is joined by Renshaw on the front of the peloton with Tony Martin also there. Contador has a couple of teammates with him, you can't miss that kit, while Froome has dropped back slightly.

Ahead of the race inCycle TV caught up with Froome to talk about pressure, the race route, and his chances of defending his Tour de France crown. Depending on how you read the record books, Froome is looking to before the first rider since Indurain to win back-to-back Tours. Watch the video interview, here.

Mark Cavendish is still on the front with Tony Martin as the peloton rolls through this neutralized zone but it's not long until the racing starts.

Close the Harewood House now and the peloton have slowed down as they await the official start to stage 1 of this year's Tour de France.

And the riders have stopped. A ribbon cutting will now take place.

The French national anthem blasts out and the riders wait as members of the Royal Family look on.

Froome is chatting to William and Kate, Contador too. The Red Arrows fly over head and Rui Costa has made an appearance near the front as well.

And the royal couple cut the ribbon, there's a ripple of applause and the riders begin to put their helmets on.

And the riders have set off once more. The action will start in a few minutes.

 Susan stepping in to kick the race off officially. The km 0 marker is approaching!

Off they go! And we have the first attacks!

 

Who else but Jens Voigt? He has two riders with him, we will try and catch those names.

 

His companions are Edet (Cofidis) and Jarrier (Bretagne).

 

186km remaining from 190km

Well, that went fast, the three already have a gap of 1:36.

 

Two minutes now, and still fans along the way. Not so many as here, but they are there.

 

The peloton has obviously decided to let this group go. Perhaps a little honour for the 42-year-old Voigt in his last Tour?

 

Just for comparison, Edet is 26 and Jarrier is 25.

 

Two Europcars dangling at the back of the field, evidently looking for the team car.

 

Nope, their captain Pierre Rolland had fallen back (we know not why) and the other two are obediently bringing him back up to the field.

 

Ji Cheng, the first Chinese rider to ever be in the race, is now at the head of the chasing field. Giant-Shimano and Lotto Belisol seem to be sharing the honours of being at the front.

Hm, seems to us that maybe those two teams have sprinters who might like to win today?

 

Edet is, as we said, 26 years old. He has been with Cofidis since turing pro in 2011. No question as to why he is in this early break, he wants to be the first to wear the polka-dot jersey for the best climber. He claimed that honour in last year’s Vuelta a Espana.

By the way, this is not his first big appearance in the first stage of the Tour. In 2012 he won the combativity award in stage one.

By the way, this is not his first big appearance in the first stage of the Tour. In 2012 he won the combativity award in stage one.

The race will soon pass the interestingly named "Cow and Calf Rocks".

 

Garmin seems to have gathered at the back of the peloton. Which is not always the best place to be, actually....

 

166km remaining from 190km

With 166 km still to go, the gap has climbed to 2:47.

 

Jarrier joined Bretagne last year. He has had a good season so far, winning a stage and finishing second overall at the Tour de Normandie, and third at the Route de Vitre.

The field is letting this group go, but not letting them go very far. The gap has come down again to about 2:30.

 

Having said that, of course the gap is now at 3:00.

 

The stage today is anything but flat. There are three ranked climbs (category 4 and 3), with the first one coming at km 68. But with 60 km between the last climb and the finish line, a bunch sprint finish is expected.

A mechanical for Arnaud Demare, French national champion.

 

What can we say about Jens Voigt? He has been around since the creation of the bicycle and procycling will cease to exist when he retires. Ok, maybe not, but it will certainly be a little less exciting.

“Jensie” turned pro in 1997 with ZVVZ-Giant-AIS, and has since ridden for Credit Agricole, CSC/Saxo Bank, and since 2011, Trek under its various team names. This is his 17th Tour de France, and he has won stages in 2001 and 2006.

Edet got dropped by his two companions, a mechanical we understand. That left Voigt looking around in search of the Frenchman.

We now hear that Edet had to change his bike.

 

Voigt has never ridden the Vuelta a Espana, and was in the Giro d’Italia three times, with one stage win.

145km remaining from 190km

The gap has crept up to 3:10. 

Meanwhile a Tinkoff-Saxo rider is modelling a new Bottle Vest. He has five bottles on his back, presumably it is easier than stuffing them in the jersey.

The first climb of the 2014 Tour is coming up, the Cote de Cray, as letour.fr calls it. It is category 4, a 1.6km long climb with an average gradient of 7.1%.

What else has Voigt won? He twice took the title at the Deutschland Tour, and made the Criterium International “his” race, winning there five times, including three years in a row.

There are a lot of wide open spaces along the route here, with ridges. And that means the wind can play a role. So far we haven't seen echelons or other evidence that it is affecting the race, but we still have 134 km to go.

 

An AG2R rider has hit the round, Mikael Cherel. He possibly made contact with a fan. Team Sky is on the spot to help him out, which is nice.

 

The oldest rider and the youngest rider are both on the same team: Trek. Oldest of course is Voigt, and the youngest is Danny van Poppel, who will turn 21 the end of this month.

 

A field of yellow sheep! No, it is not a mistake. Apparently they have been painted so in honour of the Tour.

 

Hard to believe how many fans are along this entire course. What an incredible turn out!

 

Andre Greipel at the back of the field. Perhaps he too had a mechanical?

 

Handing things back over to Dan.

 

Afternoon. We're stil having problems publishing content on the main site but our mobile version is working. You can find that right here.

Cookson on his son's role at Team Sky, Zorzoli and Froome's TUE http://t.co/wk7BUma7zq

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sat, 5th Jul 2014 13:31:20

The three leaders have 3:10 seconds at the moment, with 124km remaining. The trio are currently climbing and racing through perfect conditions.

All three leaders are on the Côte de Cray with Voigt leading at the moment. The crowds, as we've come to expect are huge.

Voigt opens the sprint but it's Edet who goes next but Jarrier takes the single point on offer.

In less than 10km we have the intermediate sprint while at the back of the bunch Joaquim Rodriguez sits with a teammate.

The peloton are now climbing with Team Sky monitoring the race from the front. So far, so good for the British team.

2km until the sprint, with the first three riders set to take the top points available. However the sprint for fourth should be hotly contested by the riders behind. Wil the likes of Cavendish and Kittel go for it or will they hold off for the sprint into Harrogate?

Voigt jumps early and takes 20 points and he's not waiting for the rest of the break. It looks like Jarrier was second, with Edet third. The gap to the peloton is at 3'42.

Here comes the sprint from the peloton. Coquard takes fourth while Greipel marks out Sagan to take fifth ahead of the Cannondale rider. Cavendish is next over the line. Kittle didn't sprint.

Garmin-Sharp has fielded a young team for this year’s Tour de France, which includes two debutants. Alex Howes is one of those who is riding his first Tour de France. Cyclingnews caught up with the American at the start in Leeds to see how he was feeling.

“It’s pretty exciting. It’s not exactly just another bike race. It’s a big deal. I’m super happy to be here,” he told Cyclingnews.

The Tour is also Howes’ first Grand Tour appearance and he’d like to make it a good one. “Goal number one is to help Andrew. It’s going to be really critical over these first few days and after that, I’d love to get a picture on the Champs Elysees.

“We’ve come here to support Talansky, he showed at the Dauphiné that he can be a contender. We’ll see how far he can go. We’re not going to put a specific number on it, we’re not shooting for a specific place. It’s a young team, we have a couple of years to build on this and we want to see what we can do against the big guys.”

Voigt is still pushing on and the two chasers are struggling to match him.

And the lead goes out to 4'46 and the peloton ride through the feedzone with Lotto and Giant Shimano setting the tempo. 104km to go.

Voigt has 30 seconds on the chasers and five minutes on the peloton.

Stunning countryside as the peloton roll along towards Harrogate but the pace is increasing now as Voigt continues to push out on his own. He now has one minute on the two chasers with the bunch at 5'10.

The lone leader now has 1;46 on the chasers. We caught up with Voigt before the start of the race and shot this video.

Edet and Jarrier are sitting up now so that leaves Voigt on his own. The stage win is probably too big of an ask but the KOM jersey is possible.

The English crowds are cheering on Voigt, he's certainly popular with cycling fans.

Voigt has reached the second climb of the day the Côte de Buttertubs, a third cat pass. He'll take the points at the top and move into the lead in the KOM competition. Back in the bunch and Cannondale have joined Lotto on the front of the bunch.

Voigt is near the top of the climb now and he's still pushing on ahead of the field with crowds all around him. It's akin to an Alpine pass with people on both sides as the German winds his way up to the summit.

Jarrier hasn't been caught yet and he's now working his wayy to the summit, which Voigt will reach in 300m.

There are so many people on the roads that the peloton have been forced to briefly stop. Rodriguez is still at the back and appears to be suffering.

Just over 20km to go until the next climb, the Côte de Griton Moor. Voigt still has four minutes with Edet and then Jarrier. Horner is coming back through the cars.

Unbelieveable crowds, but what stands out is how well behaved they all are. Standing well back #TDF

@SadhbhOS Sat, 5th Jul 2014 14:48:07

That last climb caused a few splits due to the narrow roads and sudden loss in pace and there's a brief bit of work for Garmin-Sharp who are forced to move Andrew Talansky back to the front again. The American team are built around Talansky this year and have one major ambition.

Remember you can find out complete set of videos from this year's Tour de France, right here.

77km remaining from 190km

77km to go and Lotto have moved up and taken a minute off Voigt's lead. It looks like quite a few riders struggled to hold contact with the peloton on that last climb and there are splits all over the place. Jarrier has been caught meanwhile.

77km remaining from 190km

77km to go and Lotto have moved up and taken a minute off Voigt's lead. It looks like quite a few riders struggled to hold contact with the peloton on that last climb and there are splits all over the place. Jarrier has been caught meanwhile.

It's all coming back together but the sight of Rodriguez having problems may spur some teams to keep the pace high. He says he's here for stages and training but he was third here last year and can't be ruled out this early in the race.

Ted King, the lone rep for Cannondale, slips in behind the Lotto train but still comes through to take a turn now and then. Voigt has 3'21 with 74km to go.

The bunch are on a long but narrow and technical descent at the moment and a number of the GC men have moved up.

Who are you tipping for the win today, let us know on Twitter.

There are still splits in the field, hence why Lotto are still working so hard. It looks like a number of sprinters and Rodriguez have missed the split.

There's Contador and van Garderen, right near the front and where they should be. On the right Team Sky are keeping Froome out of trouble. Voigt has 2'43 on the peloton.

And Rodriguez is over a minute down on the peloton.

There's no sign of Omega near the front of the peloton, or Mark Cavendish. Is he dropped?

I dont think Cavendish is there and I think he and his team are trying to chase the peloton, hence my Lotto are racing along at the moment.

Race radio crackles through and Cavendish's number isn't listed as one of the riders in the Rodriguez group. He must be in the peloton, which as certainly swelled in numbers.

@dnlbenson Gotta be Cav. @marcelkittel is an absolute monster and @AndreGreipel is a machine, but this is the UK. 'Twil be @MarkCavendish

@LukeHollomon Sat, 5th Jul 2014 15:08:43

And Côte de Griton Moor is next and Voigt is climbing again. He's really starting to suffer and the gap to the bunch is at 2'11.

If Voigt gets to the top of the climb first, and he should, then he'll wear the KOM jersey for tomorrow's stage.

minor panic over, Cav back in bunch we think - not listed among those in back group

@willfoth Sat, 5th Jul 2014 15:13:29

Tinkoff have now moved to the front of the peloton with Alberto Contador nearly tucked in. The bunch are on the final categorised climb of the day.

Pinot has been dropped and Chris Horner too it seems.

Voigt has just 1km to go before he reaches the summit of the Côte de Griton Moor.

Again the bunch are forced to stop on the climb and it keeps happening at the back of the bunch and that's what is causing the little splits.

The Trek Factory rider is first over the summit and will wear the KOM jersey tomorrow but he has only 44 seconds over the bunch.

There are a couple of Sky riders off the back at the moment but Froome isnt' one of them.

Just 15 seconds for Voigt now with Lotto still on the front of the peloton.

Vasil Kiryienka is one of the Sky riders suffering off the back of the bunch, Zandio is the other.

Greipel is up for this one today. He's put his team to work very early and he's near the front and making sure that he's keeping out of trouble. There's still a long way to go in the stage though.

With the break now caught it means that we could face more attacks. Horner's group are now 44 seconds down on the bunch.

Into the final 50km and the Horner/Rodriguez group are coming back, the gap down to 25 seconds.

It's been such a frantic chase for this second group but the main field has slowed as Lotto tap out a steady pace.

And the Rodriguez group have made contact with the back of the field.

And Cavendish has moved his team to the front of the peloton, just behind the Lotto train.

RT @mcewenrobbie: looks like a 2 - 3% false flat drag in the last 600m on the stage profile. #powersprint

@joelindsey Sat, 5th Jul 2014 15:41:16

As the pace dips gently a few more riders move to the back of the bunch to call up their team cars. We're into the final 45km of racing with Lotto still setting the pace.

Petacchi is apparently in another group and still off the back of the bunch. If that's the case then Omega will need to alter their lead out for Cavendish. The British rider is near the front at the moment and has the rest of the Omega team with him. There's a lot more tension in the field though and that's only going to increase from here until the finish.

What the likes of Cavendish, Greipel and Kittel have to watch out for are the riders who think they can mix it with the best sprinters. They'll take more risks and can cause problems.

(CyclingNews) Belkin hunting for a sponsor as well as success during the Tour de France http://t.co/dGrN9KfC45 #ProCycling

@ProCyclingNow Sat, 5th Jul 2014 15:55:06

Both Omega and Lotto continue to set the pace, while Giant take a back seat for now. Cannondale are a little further back but it's all pointing towards a bunch sprint between the fastest men in the world.

Froome and Thomas both of Team Sky are near the front. The Australian can even muster a smile so the pace isn't to high at the moment.

HERE's our great feature with @BaukeMollema of @TeamBelkin - http://t.co/HKsqQ7NzM4 RT if you think Bauke is set for a big 2014!

@inCycleTV Sat, 5th Jul 2014 16:01:43

27km remaining from 190km

Into the final 27km racing. Tony Martin moves up too and has Cavendish close by as the Omega Pharma team settle themselves for the sprint that wil decide not just the stage but who wil wear the first yellow jersey in the race.

Garmin bring Talansky up with Vansummeren put to work. Nibali, Contador, Froome, and Rui Costa are all doing the right thing and staying close to the front.

Just 20km to go and there are a few uncategorised climbs before the finish. The roads have narrowed and there's almost a crash on one of the corners.

It's still a moderate pace though and the road briefly widens as we race towards Harrogate.

Lars Boom may have fallen as he's now back with the medical car as Omega take up the front and start to set the pace.

The pace drops once more as more and more teams look to organise their leadout. Richie Porte is on the far right as Greipel comes from quite far back to move into fourth wheel. He does look really strong and Sagan is on his wheel.

Into the final 15km for the first stage in this year's Tour de France.

And Katusha have also moved up with Kristoff at the end of the train. IAM are also there, and Cannondale. Everthing seems to think that they can win today.

Contador isnt' taking any chances and he's got his entire team on the front now. Movistar have done the same with Valverde but the road is going to narrow again soon.

Almost a crash as an Astana rider just avoids a traffic island right at the front of the bunch and more and more risks are being taken on the outside as more and more riders try and move up.

And here come Giant for the first time today.

Terpstra is near the front but he's on his own as Greipel slips back and we've just 10km to go.

Rui Costa is there too but it's chaos now as the leadout teams try and impose themselves on their rivals. Katusha and Astana are currently in control.

Cavendish is in the left and at the back of his train. Sagan rides by him but there's still a long way to go.

Into the final 8km of racing.

Lotto with Hansen on the front take control as Omega try and pull into contention too.

Cannondale hug the middle of the road but Giant are waiting in the wings.

It's still Hansen on the front of the bunch.

Just 5km of racing left now.

Hansen is doing a great job for Lotto but here come Cannondale and Katusha again.

Omega are boxed in as Giant look to get organised.

And Omega smash through.

They looked boxed in but Martin has surged forward and now Cavendish's team are leading the race.

And he has all his team on the front with 3.5km to go.

Renshaw has Cavendish on his wheel.

Lotto are second, then it's a collection of sprinters and trains.

But it's Omega Pharma on the front with 2.8km to go.

And here come Giant on the other side.

It's Terpstra's turn to set the pace

Giant are coming back though.

Into the final 2km.

Cavendish has all the support though and he's welll placed but here come Cofidis.

And Giant but Omegea lead with Martin setting the pace.

They're on the final rise before the line.

And there's an attack from Cancellara.

Cancellara has a gap.

1km to go  and Martin has to chase Cancellara.

800 to go.

Cancellara could do this.

And there's a crash.

And Cavendish crashes. .and so does Gerrans.

And Kittel is coming through to take the win and he does it.

Kittel has taken the win, Cancellara caught just before the line. Sagan was second or third with a Garmin rider in the mix too.

Cavendish and Gerrans seemed to make contact with a Europcar rider but Cavendish looks in trouble and he's holding is collarbone.

It was Navardauskas who took thrid.

Cavendish is on his bike and riding over the finish but he looks to be in a lot of pain.

Sagan came through the gap, Gerrans tried to take Sagan's wheel and Cavendish and Gerrans seem to have run out road. Gerrans can't be blamed though as he had Coquard on his left.

But a superb win for Kittel. He kept out of trouble and had enough to hold on at the end. A strong attack from Cancellara almost spoilt the sprinters' party though.

Result
1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano 4:44:07
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
3 Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp
4 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar
5 Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo
6 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky
7 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha
8 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
9 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team
10 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica GreenEdge

General classification after stage 1
1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano 4:44:07
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale 0:00:00
3 Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp 0:00:00
4 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar 0:00:00
5 Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:00
6 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:00
7 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha 0:00:00
8 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:00
9 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:00
10 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica GreenEdge 0:00:00

Still no news on Mark Cavendish but as soon as we have more information we'll let you know.

Meanwhile you can find our report, race images, and brief results, right here.

RT @planetcycling: Patrick Lefevere to #eurosport : "Nothing broken for @MarkCavendish " #goodnews #TDF2014

@JohnMacLeary Sat, 5th Jul 2014 17:52:24

@BMCProTeam boys doing a great job today. Making my life a Lot easier.

@tejay_van Sat, 5th Jul 2014 17:51:11

Andrew Talansky will get same time as winner. He flatted with 3kms to go, within the permitted zone. Check http://t.co/0dvv7TpRKo

@Vaughters Sat, 5th Jul 2014 18:02:58

Thanks for joining us today. You can find our complete results, race photos, and report, right here.

We will be back tomorrow will full live coverage from stage 2 of the Tour de France.

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