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Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the 2021 Tour de France, which gets underway in the cycling heartland of Brittany with a stage that looks sure to provoke fireworks in the finale. The first man up the Côte de la Fosse aux Loup at the finish will wear the first maillot jaune of the Tour, and the list of contenders is an elite one. Men like world champion Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Michael Matthews (BikeExchange) look sure to be in contention, but the breathless opening day of the Tour has a habit of throwing up surprises.

The peloton rolls out at 12.10 local time, and will reach kilometre zero at 12.30. There are six classified climbs on the rolling 198km stage, starting with the category 4 Côte de Trébéolin after 8.6km and concluding with that short and sharp blast up the Côte de la Fosse aux Loup at the finish.

Stephen Farrand is in Brittany and he has been sampling the atmosphere and speaking with the contenders ahead of this opening stage. His verdict? "It will be great to watch but terrible to ride." Read his full preview here

PFAFFNAU, SWITZERLAND - JUNE 08: Julian Alaphilippe of France and Team Deceuninck - Quick-Step attacks during the 84th Tour de Suisse 2021, Stage 3 a 185km stage from Lachen to Pfaffnau 509m / #UCIworldtour / @tds / #tourdesuisse / on June 08, 2021 in Pfaffnau, Switzerland. (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The UCI have announced that they have granted Alpecin-Fenix permission to wear their special jersey in honour of the late Raymond Poulidor on today's opening stage. The jersey echos the Mercier kit worn by Poulidor in the prime of his career, and now his grandson Mathieu van der Poel will the colours on his Tour de France debut. "It’s something special if you can wear the yellow jersey once in your career and it would be even nicer if my grandfather was still here to see it. I would have loved to be in the Tour start village with him but I’m a bit too late for that to happen," Van der Poel said in his pre-race press conference early on Friday morning. Stephen Farrand has the full story here.

Alpecin-Fenix Mathieu van der Poel Poulidor

(Image credit: Alpecin-Fenix)

Demi Vollering has won La Course by Le Tour de France, beating Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig and Marianne Vos atop the Côte de la Fosse aux Loup. Read the full report here.

LANDERNEAU FRANCE JUNE 26 Demi Vollering of Netherlands and Team SD Worx stage winner celebrates at arrival Marianne Vos of Netherlands and Jumbo Visma Team Grace Brown of Australia and Team BikeExchange during the 8th La Course By Le Tour De France 2021 a 1077km race from Brest to Landerneau Cte De La Fosse Aux Loups 176m LaCourse LeTour TDF2021 UCIWWT on June 26 2021 in Landerneau France Photo by Christophe PetitTesson PoolGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The peloton is gathered on the line for the neutralised start beneath slate grey skies.

The peloton rolls out of Brest for stage 1 of the Tour de France, with world champion Julian Alaphilippe sitting in the front row alongside the Breton Warren Barguil. They will navigate an 11km neutralised zone before hitting kilometre zero in approximately 20 minutes.

There are six climbs on the agenda today:

 

8.6km – Côte de Trébéolin (Category 4: 0.9km at 5.1%)

27.2km – Côte de Rosnoën (Category 4: 3km at 4%)

61.5km – Côte de Locronan (Category 3: 0.9km at 9.3%)

115km – Côte de Stang Ar Garront (Category 4: 2km at 3.4%)

150.7km – Côte de Saint-Rivoal (Category 4: 2.5km at 3.9%)

197.8km – Côte de la Fosse aux Loups (Category 3: 3.1km at 5.6%)

Brest is hosting the Grand Départ for the fourth time, after 1952, 1974 and 2008. That 1952 Tour might be considered in some ways, the first 'modern' Tour, with the introduction of summit finishes for the first time. Fausto Coppi, the man who brought cycling from its acoustic to electric eras, claimed all three, atop Alpe d'Huez, Sestriere and Puy de Dome. In 1974, meanwhile, the Tour went across the Channel for the first time, visiting Plymouth on stage 2. 

-198km

Christian Prudhomme waves the flag from the sunroof of the race director's car and the 2021 Tour de France is officially underway.

There is an immediate flurry of attacks, with Qhubeka-NextHash and B&B Hotels among the early aggressors, but no break has formed as yet.

Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo) has a go in these fast opening kilometres. Plenty of riders are keen to forge their way clear ahead of the day's early climb.

There is a lot of road furniture in these opening kilometres and, predictably, we have the first crash of the Tour inside the first 5km. Fortunately, it doesn't appear to have been of consequence, but it will add to the general nervousness in the peloton.

-192km

Bernard has four riders for company at the head of the race, but their lead over the peloton is just 20 metres or so, and it doesn't look as though they will be given the leeway to escape up the road.

Bernard et al are brought back ahead of the day's first climb. Connor Swift (Arkea-Samsic) is among the men active at the front in these opening kilometres. 

-190km

Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka-NextHash) escapes from the peloton at the base of the Côte de Trébéolin (Category 4: 0.9km at 5.1%). The Belgian starts the climb with a small advantage over the bunch.

-188km

Campenaerts holds off a late charge from Georg Zimmerman (Intermarché-Wanty) to take the first mountains point of the 2021 Tour. The bunch comes back together over the top, but the pace is relentless and the field is lined out.

-185km

Arkéa-Samsic are on home roads and very active in these opening kilometres. Clement Russo forces on the pace but it's proving difficult for would-be attackers to get a foothold.

The roads are twisting and rolling in this early phase and there are some gaps opening here and there in the peloton. Vigilence is the byword at this point.

-183km

Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels) has attacked and opened a small gap over the peloton, and there are couple more riders forging across.

Danny van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty) and Cristian Rodriguez (Team TotalEnergies) bridge across to join Bonnamour at the head of the race, but there are still more riders scrambling to get across.

-181km

And then there were five: Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels p/b KTM), Cristian Rodriguez (Team TotalEnergies), Danny van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty) are joined by Anthony Perez (Cofidis) and Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Connor Swift (Arkea-Samsic) is trying to bridge across alone and this might well be our break of the day, given that local interests are represented, and there is nobody here to worry Deceuninck-QuickStep, Alpecin-Fenix et al unduly.

-179km

The pace abates in the peloton and riders fan across the road. The day's early break has taken shape and there will be a temporary cessation of hostilities in the main field, which will come as a relief to many.

-178km

Break:

Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels p/b KTM), Cristian Rodriguez (Team TotalEnergies), Danny van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty) are joined by Anthony Perez (Cofidis) and Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Chaser at 0:13:

Connor Swift (Arkéa-Samsic)

Peloton at 1:00

-176km

Six riders at the head of the race ahead of the Côte de Rosnoën (Category 4: 3km at 4%) as Swift makes it across to the escapees. They have 2:13 over a peloton content to leave them to it for the time being.

-173km

The six leaders continue to augment their advantage on the Côte de Rosnoën, and the gap now stands at 3:26. Tim Declercq, meanwhile, readies himself to assume pace-making duties at the head of the peloton for Deceuninck-QuickStep.

-170km

Danny van Poppel outsprints Anthony Perez atop the Cote de Rosnoën. 3:45 the gap to the peloton.

Alpecin-Fenix have joined Deceuninck-QuickStep in controlling affairs at the head of the peloton. 

-165km

Peter Sagan has a Bora-Hansgrohe teammate in the break today, but we will surely see the Slovakian in action in the intermediate sprint at Brasparts later on this afternoon - and, of course, in that high-octane finale. "There are a lot of guys in the bunch interested," Sagan said of the first yellow jersey of thee race. "Maybe not the pure sprinters but there are still a lot of guys like Alaphilippe, [Sonny] Colbrelli and others. And maybe even me. It always depends on how the race is going." Stephen Farrand has more from Brest here.

Giro d'Italia 2021 - 104th Edition - 19th stage Abbiategrasso - Alpe di Mera 166 km - 28/05/2021 - Peter Sagan (SVK - Bora - Hansgrohe) - photo Dario Belingheri/BettiniPhoto©2021

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

-160km

Break:

Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels p/b KTM), Cristian Rodriguez (Team TotalEnergies), Danny van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe), Connor Swift (Arkéa-Samsic)

Peloton at 3:28

A change of shoes, apparently, for Mathieu van der Poel, who quickly rejoins the fray. The pace is relatively steady in the peloton and the Dutchman won't expend too much energy as he chases back on.

Primoz Roglic and his Jumbo-Visma team are posted near the head of the peloton, which has slightly reduced its deficit on the six escapees to just under three minutes.

Per race radio, the six escapees covered a brisk 44.6km in the opening hour of racing.

-150km

Break:

Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels p/b KTM), Cristian Rodriguez (Team TotalEnergies), Danny van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty), Anthony Perez (Cofidis) and Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe), Connor Swift (Arkéa-Samsic)

Peloton at 2:54

Alpecin-Fenix and Deceuninck-QuickStep have struck up a working alliance to keep tabs on the break's lead, which stands just under 3 minutes. Ineos are lined up en masse behind them, with Tadej Pogacar and his UAE Team Emirates squad next in line.

-141km

Julian Alaphilippe has made no secret of his ambitions for the opening weekend of this Tour de France. After taking yellow on stage 3 in 2019 and on stage 2 last year, he is looking for the first maillot jaune of the race this afternoon. The world champion liked what he saw in a reconnaissance on Wednesday morning. "I find the finishing climb on stage 1 very hard, because after the steep part, it doesn’t descend and that’s often what hurts the legs the most. I think there are people who’ll be surprised," said Alaphilippe. Read the full story here.

LEUKERBAD SWITZERLAND JUNE 10 Julian Alaphilippe of France and Team Deceuninck QuickStep at start during the 84th Tour de Suisse 2021 Stage 5 a 1752km stage from Gstaad to Leukerbad 1385m UCIworldtour tds tourdesuisse on June 10 2021 in Leukerbad Switzerland Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

-139km

Break:

Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels p/b KTM), Cristian Rodriguez (Team TotalEnergies), Danny van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe), Connor Swift (Arkéa-Samsic)

Peloton at 2:29

The break hit the base of the climb to Locronan, where Roman Polanski's Thomas Hardy adaptation Tess was filmed. THey have a lead of 2:08 over the peloton.

-136km

The break fragments on the cobbles midway up the climb as Schelling winds up the pace. Perez and Van Poppel go with him...

Anthony Perez accelerates viciously nead the top to claim the points ahead of Schelling. That was a most full-throated battled for the points, but one imagines the break will reform over the top.

Perez and Schelling sit up and wait for Rodriguez, Van Poppel, Swift and Bonnamour to get back on. 

-128km

A crash in the peloton as it slows near the feed zone, and Julien Bernard is the man who hits the ground. The Frenchman remounts quickly and he is chasing back on through the race convoy.

-126km

Break:

Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels p/b KTM), Cristian Rodriguez (Team TotalEnergies), Danny van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe), Connor Swift (Arkéa-Samsic)

Peloton at 2:56

The skies are overcast across Brittany this afternoon but there has, mercifully, been no rain thus far. 

-117km

Petr Vakoc (Alpecin-Fenix) and Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep) continue to set the tempo in the peloton on behalf of Van der Poel and Alaphilippe. 2:19 the gap to the six leaders.

-112km

Michael Matthews has yet to win since his return to BikeExchange, but his last victory was on Breton roads at the Bretagne Classic last August, and the Australian is a definite contender for victory both today and tomorrow. "It is difficult to decide which one suits better,” Matthews said. “I'll give it 100 per cent on both of them and we'll see what we come out with, hopefully it’s a victory. But we just don’t know.” Read more here.

BERG NETHERLANDS APRIL 18 Arrival Michael Matthews of Australia and Team BikeExchange during the 55th Amstel Gold Race 2021 Mens Elite a 2167km race from Valkenburg to Berg en Terblijt Amstelgoldrace amstelgoldrace on April 18 2021 in Berg Netherlands Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

-108km

Ineos remain present en masse just behind Vakoc and Declercq at the head of the peloton. With the uphill finale this afternoon, there is no 3km rule in place, and so positioning will be of even greater importante in the closing kilometres.

-104km

Break:

Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels p/b KTM), Cristian Rodriguez (Team TotalEnergies), Danny van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe), Connor Swift (Arkéa-Samsic)

Peloton at 2:10

The first, leaden drops of rain fall over the Tour de France, and this will make a fraught finale all the more complex.

-100km

With 100km remaining, Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels p/b KTM), Cristian Rodriguez (Team TotalEnergies), Danny van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Connor Swift (Arkéa-Samsic) have a lead of just under two minutes on the peloton.

The six leaders are heading towards the day's fourth ascent, the Stang Ar Garront (2km at 3.5%), with a buffer of 1:38 over the peloton. Those drops of rain haven't developed into steady rainfall just yet. 

-88km

Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) sits in the peloton in the colours of Italian champion. He has enjoyed a remarkable run of form in recent weeks and he could even be a contender for the first yellow jersey this evening. "It will be anything but easy, but when you're on the crest of a wave, you have to take advantage of it," Colbrelli told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I rode the finale, and I like it. I have to have a go."

SAINTIMIER SWITZERLAND APRIL 29 Sonny Colbrelli of Italy and Team Bahrain Victorious celebrates at arrival during the 74th Tour De Romandie 2021 Stage 2 a 1657km stage from La Neuveville to SaintImier TDR2021 TDRnonstop UCIworldtour on April 29 2021 in SaintImier Switzerland Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The escapees hit the base of the Côte de Stang Ar Garront (Category 4: 2km at 3.4%) with a lead of 1:37 over the peloton.

Ide Schelling attacks with intent before they've even halfway up the climb and he immediately opens a gap.

A crash in the peloton sees Aurelien Paret Peintre (AG2R-Citroen) and Casper Pedersen (DSM) among the fallers. They spend more time on the ground than anyone else, but both men have remounted and gingerly rejoined the race.  

-81.5km

Schelling's determined attack has seen him open a lead of 45 seconds over his erstwhile companions on the climb, a remarkable effort from the Dutchman. 

Schelling continues to pile on the pressure. He is 1:04 clear of the rest of the break and 2:28 up on the bunch, where Tim Declercq still leads.

Schelling took the point on offer atop the climb but he is fully committed to this solo effort. Back in the bunch, meanwhile, a delegation from Israel Start-Up Nation moves up. Michael Woods, the team's GC leader, is a possible contender this afternoon on a climb that many are suggesting is rather harder in practice than it looks on paper.

-78km

Break:

Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Chasers at 1:22:

Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels p/b KTM), Cristian Rodriguez (Team TotalEnergies), Danny van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Connor Swift (Arkéa-Samsic)

Peloton at 2:41

Schelling is still extending his advantage over the chasers, who are now 1:40 back. The peloton trails at 2:49.

Aurélien Paret-Peintre rejoined the peloton after his crash, though he did require some attention to his knee from the race doctor. Meanwhile, rain is beginning to fall gently once again over the race.

-70km

Break:

Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Chasers at 2:23:

Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels p/b KTM), Cristian Rodriguez (Team TotalEnergies), Danny van Poppel (Intermarché-Wanty), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Connor Swift (Arkéa-Samsic)

Peloton at 2:44

The remnants of the day's break don't look like they'll stay ahead of the peloton much longer. The lone leader Schelling, meanwhile, continues to accrue a hefty advantage over the peloton. 

-66km

Swift, Bonnamour, Rodriguez, Perez and Van Poppel are swept up by the peloton, where UAE Team Emirates are present en masse near the front. 

The day's intermediate sprint comes at Brasparts in a little under 3km, and this will offer our first indication of the contenders for the green jersey. The scramble for positions is evident at the front of the peloton on the approach.

-62.5km

Schelling picks up maximum points at the slightly uphill intermediate sprint, but the real interest will be in the sprint for second place behind him, with the pace ratcheting upwards in the peloton. 

Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) wins the sprint for second ahead of Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Michael Matthews (BikeExchange).

-60km

The injection of urgency for that sprint, meanwhile, has seen Schelling's lead drop to 1:50. Ineos and Jumbo-Visma have now taken up the reins in the peloton.

Intermediate sprint

1          Ide Schelling (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe  20

2          Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal          17

3          Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe    15

4          Michael Matthews (Aus) Team BikeExchange            13

5          Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM  11

6          Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ            10

7          Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Arkea-Samsic  9

8          Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious         8

9          Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal    7

10        Mark Cavendish (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStep          6

11        Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team BikeExchange        5

12        Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe       4

13        Tony Martin (Get) Jumbo-Visma        3

14        Robert Gesink (Ned) Jumbo-Visma    2

15        Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo            1

-54km

The intensity has dropped slightly in the peloton once again, and Schelling takes advantage of the relative lull to open his lead out to 2:27 once again. He will take the king of the mountains jersey if he survives out here as far as the top of the upcoming Côte de Saint-Rivoal, and that will serve almost as a provisional finish line for Schelling.

Tony Martin rides on the front of the bunch once again and the pace rises accordingly . Delegations from Ineos, Groupama-FDJ and Movistar are also present.

-47km

Ide Schelling leads over the top of the Côte de Saint-Rivoal (Category 4: 2.5km at 3.9%), and the Dutchman is on course to wear the polka dot jersey tomorrow. The peloton trails at 1:53.

-45km

A crash in the peloton sees a lot of riders brought down and caught up behind. It appears that Tony Martin rode into a supporter's sign on the roadside and that sparked a pile-up behind him. Wout van Aert was among the riders to go down with a couple more Jumbo-Visma riders. Riders from Movistar and UAE Team Emirates were also caught up in that incident, as was Italian champion Sonny Colbrelli.

Marc Soler was among the many, many fallers. Marc Hirschi is among the many riders getting a bike change. A huge number of riders were caught up in that incident, but, at first glance, it doesn't appear that anybody has been forced out of the race. It will take some time for the peloton to regroup.

Jasha Sutterlin (DSM) is sitting on th roadside getting attention and there are still a couple of Jumbo-Visma riders who haven't restarted.

Ineos and Deceuninck-QuickStep seemed to come through unscathed. Deceuninck-QuickStep were setting the pace, in fact, but they have relented completely to allow the rest of the field to latch back on.

-41km

The lone leader Schelling has a buffer of 1:13 over the front of the peloton but there are, of course, groups splintered all over the road after that crash.

A bloodied and bruised Tony Martin, the first rider to crash, is chasing back on alone and trying to rejoin the waiting peloton.

Wout van Aert is in a group with Caleb Ewan, Miguel Angel Lopez, Sonny Colbrelli and Jack Haig, a little under a minute down on the peloton. 

-39km

Break:

Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Peloton at 1:51

Van Aert group at 2:34

Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar), Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious), Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious), Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal).

Jasha Sutterlin (DSM), a faller in that mass crash, is the first rider to abandon the 2021 Tour de France.

Peter Sagan is chasing back on alone, though he seems utterly unfazed, and he is using the race convoy as best he can to find his way back to the peloton.

-36km

The self-declared neutralisation seems to be at an end as the kilometres tick by. Schelling is still 1:30 clear, and Deceuninck-QuickStep want to set about shaving back that advantage before the finale.

-31km

Deceuninck-QuickStep’s pace-making has sliced Schelling’s lead to 1:00. Meanwhile, riders are continuing to latch back onto the peloton, including Peter Sagan.

Wout van Aert has also succeeded in rejoining the rear of the peloton, where Deceuninck-QuickStep and Alpecin-Fenix are present in numbers at the front. 

-30km

Break:

Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe)

Peloton at 0:50

A bike change for Benoit Cosnefroy, who is chasing back on alone. He blasts past a lone Steven Kruijswijk, who appears to be chasing back after a bike change of his own. Primoz Roglic, meanwhile, is sitting calmly towards the head of the peloton.

Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos) is in a group off the back of the peloton. The Briton must have been caught up in the crash or at least required mechanical assistance, but he should be able to get back on. 

-28km

Schelling's advantage is rapidly dwindling, meanwhile, and the Dutchman won't last much longer out in front. 

-27km

Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe) is swept up by the peloton. The Dutchman's lone adventure looks to have earned him a day in the polka dot jersey.

-25km

Caleb Ewan and Andre Greipel are among a group of riders who have been distanced from the peloton, but they will fight another day on this Tour. 

Deceuninck-QuickStep, Alpecin-Fenix, Groupama-FDJ and Movistar are all postioned near the head of the peloton on this rolling and punchy run-in.

The Ewan-Greipel-Hirschi group has managed to fight its way back up to the rear of the peloton. There are plenty of ripples on the run-in and it would be a surprise if the peloton remains completely intact all the way to the line. The GC men, of course, will hope not to get caught out when riders like Alaphippe and Van der Poel wind up in the finale.

-21km

Ineos are well placed towards the front, including Tao Geoghegan Hart, who had been caught behind a little earlier. 

Tour de France 2021 108th Edition 1st stage Brest Landerneau 1978 km 26062021 Ide Schelling NED Bora Hansgrohe photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

Ide Schelling will wear the polka dot jersey tomorrow. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

-20km

Gruppo compatto as the race enters the final 20km. We can surely expect some attacks before that high-octane climb to the finish in Landerneau.

Another bike change for Benoit Cosnefroy, who is having a most difficult day, and he gives lone chase all over again.

The sun has poked through the clouds and thankfully the threatened rain has not materialised.

-14km

Deceuninck-QuickStep, Groupama-FDJ, Ineos and Alpecin-Fenix occupy the first row of the peloton and the pace is ratcheting upwards on this run-in.

-12km

The pace is high enough to dissuade any would-be attackers for the time being, as Alpecin-Fenix, Deceuninck-QuickStep and Movistar look to pilot Van der Poel, Alaphilippe and Valverde to the line.

-10km

Ineos take over at the head of the peloton and a delegation from Jumbo-Visma move up alongside them. The GC men won't yield an inch on this run-in.

Robert Gesink sets the pace in front, with Wout van Aert - a faller earlier - tucked on his wheel. Ineos and Deceuninck-QuickStep are also present in numbers.

-8km

The scramble for positions continues apace. The bunch is 5km from the base of the climb to the finish, the Côte de la Fosse aux Loups (Category 3: 3.1km a 5.6%).

-7.5km

Another mass crash in the peloton, and that has removed a lot of riders from contention. It took place near the front and there will be GC men losing ground today...

Chris Froome is among the many, many fallers. So too are Marc Haller, Andre Greipel and Ion Izagirre. 

Deceuninck-QuickStep continue to set the pace in front. Julian Alaphilippe came through that incident unscathed, and the main peloton is down to 70 riders or so. It's unclear if any GC riders were caught out in that crash.

-5km

Chris Froome is still sitting on the road, and it is unclear if he can continue. 

Alaphilippe, Van Aert, Roglic, Pogacar and Jack Haig are all among the riders near the head of the race and still in contention this afternoon. Deceuninck-QuickStep lead with EF-Nippo also moving up.

-3km

The reduced peloton hits the base of the  Côte de la Fosse aux Loups. Deceuninck-QuickStep lead into the foot of the climb on behalf of Alaphilippe. Van der Poel is quite a way back for the time being...

Mattia Cattaneo pulls on the front for Deceuninck-QuickStep. Alaphilippe sits in fourth wheel with Van Aert and Colbrelli behind him.

Dries Devenyns accelerates with Alaphilippe on his wheel, and Van Aert just behind him. Van der Poel, Roglic and Matthews are also all present near the front...

-2.3km

Julian Alaphilippe climbs from the saddle and accelerates clear alone. A big, big move from the world champion...

Primoz Roglic gives chase and Pogacar comes with him. Pierre Latour goes over the top of them in pursuit of Alaphilippe...

-1.8km

Alaphilippe has 40m or so on Latour, with the Slovenian pair just behind him. Van der Poel accelerates and bridges across to Roglic and Pogacar...

-1.5km

Alaphilippe is stretching out his advantage over Latour, but he still has a long, long way to go...

-1km

The road levels off slightly and Alaphilippe kicks again. It will take a big, big effort to bring him back. Latour is alone in second, then a very elite group of 20 or so riders, with the rest of the field splintered across the hillside...

Wout van Aert leads this elite chasing group, but they're not going to bring back the rampant Alaphilippe, who is going to claim an emphatic victory...

Pierre Latour is brought back by the chasers, but Alaphilippe has reached parts the others simply could not reach...

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) wins stage 1 of the Tour de France.

Michael Matthews (BikeExchange) wins the sprint for second ahead of Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma).

Alaphilippe was a faller earlier in the day, but he emerges to win the stage and claim the first yellow jersey. Meanwhile, Steven Kruijswijk comes in almost 2 minutes down. They won't be the only GC men to have conceded ground this afternoon.

Chris Froome, incidentally, is back on his bike and riding gingerly up the final climb.

Jack Haig was 4th on the stage, ahead of Wilco Kelderman, Tadej Pogacar, David Gaudu, Sergio Higuita, Bauke Mollema and Geraint Thomas. 

Julian Alaphilippe speaks: "It’s really incredible, honestly. It’s a scenario I imagined and the start of my Tour is success. It’s a super feeling, my team did great work, they took care of me and controlled things. In the final I was caught up in a crash but I was able to stay calm and then I had to finish off the work on the final climb, where we really wanted to make it hard and get rid of the sprinters. When Dries opened the gap I gave the maximum without asking any questions.

"It wasn’t planned to go from that far but when I went I saw I had a small gap and I saw everyone was à bloc so I decided to keep going. In the final kilometre, I saw the gap wasn’t coming down. Every time it’s an emotion I can’t describe.

"It’s a joy for me to win but also to give emotions to those close to me. This is really a special win for me."

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep) wins stage 1 of the 2021 Tour de France

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Result

1 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 04:39:05
2 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team BikeExchange 00:00:08
3 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma 00:00:08
4 Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious 00:00:08
5 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:00:08
6 Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:08
7 David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 00:00:08
8 Sergio Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education-Nippo 00:00:08
9 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 00:00:08
10 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 00:00:08

General classification

1 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 04:38:55
2 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team BikeExchange 00:00:12
3 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma 00:00:14

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep) wins stage 1 of the 2021 Tour de France

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep) wins stage 1 of the 2021 Tour de France

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

There were only 20 riders in that chasing group 8 seconds behind Alaphilippe. Richard Carapaz lost a little ground in the final metres and came home at 13 seconds.

Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar), Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) all lost 1:49.

Richie Porte (Ineos) lost 2:16, Simon Yates lost 3:17 and Alejandro Valverde lost 5:33.

Brandon McNulty lost 6:57 and Michael Woods came in 8:49 down. Chris Froome was 14:37 down, while Sepp Kuss conceded 16:29. 

General classification

1          Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep         4:38:45

2          Michael Matthews (Aus) Team BikeExchange            0:00:12

3          Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma     0:00:14

4          Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain Victorious    0:00:18

5          Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe     

6          Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates      

7          David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ   

8          Sergio Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education-Nippo      

9          Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo          

10        Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers

eam Deceuninck Quicksteps Julian Alaphilippe of France celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the 1st stage of the 108th edition of the Tour de France cycling race 197 km between Brest and Landerneau on June 26 2021 Photo by Christophe Petit Tesson various sources AFP Photo by CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSONAFP via Getty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Team Deceuninck Quicksteps Julian Alaphilippe of France celebrates his overall leaders yellow jersey on the podium at the end of the 1st stage of the 108th edition of the Tour de France cycling race 197 km between Brest and Landerneau on June 26 2021 Photo by Thomas SAMSON POOL AFP Photo by THOMAS SAMSONPOOLAFP via Getty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images)

For the third Tour in succession, Alaphilippe has taken the yellow jersey early in the race. And on today's form, he has a chance to extend his advantage tomorrow at Mur-de-Bretagne.

Team Deceuninck Quicksteps Julian Alaphilippe of France rides ahead during the 1st stage of the 108th edition of the Tour de France cycling race 197 km between Brest and Landerneau on June 26 2021 Photo by Philippe LOPEZ AFP Photo by PHILIPPE LOPEZAFP via Getty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Wout van Aert was a faller but he worked for Roglic in the finale: “Fortunately, I didn’t sustain any damage. I saw Tony [Martin] fall and was unable to brake. Before I knew it, I was in the ditch. I still felt good in the final. I expected Alaphilippe's early attack, but I couldn't follow him. When I knew I couldn't win anymore, I kept the gap as small as possible for Primoz. I was on the limit, it's that simple."

Tour de France 2021 108th Edition 1st stage Brest Landerneau 1978 km 26062021 Wout Van Aert BEL Jumbo Visma photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Geraint Thomas: “It was a solid day, stressful, with a few crashes. Obviously, wiuth that big crash at the end, I had no idea who was in it. It ended up that Richie was in it, which wasn’t great. I was just concentrating on staying on my bike.

“I was too far back on the last climb. I was expecting a lull after the steep bit but it never came. Alaphilippe went so hard for so long, it was full gas all the way up, which made my life a bit harder. But for the first day, I was happy to get through it. But I’m gutted for Richie and Tao to get caught up and lose time.”

Tao Geoghegan Hart lost 5:33 on today's stage, while Richie Porte conceded 2:16.

Team Deceuninck Quicksteps Julian Alaphilippe of France celebrates his overall leaders yellow jersey on the podium at the end of the 1st stage of the 108th edition of the Tour de France cycling race 197 km between Brest and Landerneau on June 26 2021 Photo by christophe petit tesson POOL AFP Photo by CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSONPOOLAFP via Getty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A full report, results and pictures from today's stage are available here. We'll be back with more live coverage tomorrow from stage 2. 

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep) wins stage 1 of the 2021 Tour de France

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

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