Tour de Farce as finish to the first stage disrupted by errant team bus

The Orica GreenEdge team bus is trapped under the finishing line of the first stage of the Tour de France

Story highlights

  • Chaos on opening stage of Tour de France in Corsica
  • Team bus becomes trapped under the finishing gantry
  • Crash in the run to the finish claims Mark Cavendish, Peter Sagan and Alberto Contador
  • Marcel Kittel of the Argos Shimano team wins the sprint to claim the yellow jersey

The opening stage of the Tour de France in Corsica Saturday descended into chaos after a team bus became trapped under the finishing gantry in Bastia.

As organizers desperately tried to free the bus, the 213km leg from Porto-Vecchio was initially shortened to finish at the three kilometers to go mark.

With teams trying to bring their star sprinters to the front of the peloton earlier than expected, a big crash saw Britain's Mark Cavendish and Slovakian Peter Sagan and some of the race favorites held up.

At the same time, the bus, belonging to Australian team Orica GreenEdge was finally removed and the original finish line was reinstated.

Cycling for a better future
Cycling for a better future


    Cycling for a better future


Cycling for a better future 03:00
Becoming a Tour de France champ
Becoming a Tour de France champ


    Becoming a Tour de France champ


Becoming a Tour de France champ 03:21
How has cycling recovered?
How has cycling recovered?


    How has cycling recovered?


How has cycling recovered? 03:01
Can cycling beat the cheats?
Can cycling beat the cheats?


    Can cycling beat the cheats?


Can cycling beat the cheats? 03:01

From the depleted pack, Germany's Marcel Kittel won a frantic sprint to claim the stage honors for Argos Shimano -- his first win on the Tour de France.

Read: Doping past haunts centenary edition of Tour

Orica GreenEdge's Matt Goss took a tumble in that sprint to end his hopes with another top contender, Andre Greipel, the victim of a mechanical problem, to leave the way clear for the in-form Kittel to take the first yellow jersey of the 100th edition of the Tour.

He edged out Norway's Alexander Kristoff with Danny Van Poppel of the Vacansoleil team in third place.

The bus incident also affected the race's electronic timing function, but the official Tour de France website announced that because of the incident all the riders would be awarded the same time.

Among the favorites for the overall classification, Team Sky's Chris Froome emerged unscathed, but arch-rival Alberto Contador of the Saxo-Tinkoff team finished with a torn jersey and time trial specialist Tony Martin of Germany suffered a reported broken collarbone.

Read: Cavendish dons Maglia Rosa after Naples win

Cavendish, who was looking to add to his 23 career stage wins in the Tour, was critical of organizers after seeing his hopes dashed in the crash.

"What caused the problems was changing the finish. We heard on the radio with literally five kilometers to go that the sprint was in two kilometers, and then one kilometer later they were like 'No, it's at the original finish.' It's just carnage," he said.

The race continues Sunday with a 156 km second stage in Corsica from Bastia to Ajaccio.

      Sports spotlight

    • AG2R pair Peraud and Romain Bardet (right) thrilled the French fans with their performances on the 2014 Tour de France.

      When will French win Le Tour?

      Whisper it quietly, but after years of foreign domination the prospect of a French winner of the Tour de France is more than just a mere pipe dream.
    • Steve Way leads the in the Commonwealth Games marathon with the favorites massing behind him.

      From 20-a-day man to 26.2 miles

      Seven years ago Steve Way was a 20 per day smoker and weighed a hefty 104 kg, but he led the marathon at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
    • The queen of the selfies

      After just one day of competition, a new sport has emerged at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow: snapping selfies with the Queen.
    • Joanna Rowsell is flanked by Australian duo Annette Edmonson and Amy Cure (right) after the medal presentation for the women's individual pursuit.

      Rowsell stands proud again

      Inspirational cyclist Joanna Rowsell added another gold to her growing collection in the individual pursuit at the Commonwealth Games.
    • GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 23: John Barrowman performs during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

      Gay kiss steals Glasgow show

      At the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, an actor upstaged the Queen by kissing a male dancer.
    • Daniel Carter of the All Blacks in action during the Third Test Match between the New Zealand All Blacks and France at Yarrow Stadium on June 22, 2013 in New Plymouth, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

      Can the All Blacks make history?

      The All Blacks and their fans are focused on one thing, says Dan Carter: becoming the first rugby nation to win back-to-back World Cups.

      Three days with 'The Greatest'

      Photographer Danny Lyon spent three days with Muhammad Ali in 1972 and shares his best photos and memories of the champ.
    • SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 23:  Sidney Crosby #87 of Canada celebrates after scoring his team's second goal in the second period during the Men's Ice Hockey Gold Medal match against Sweden on Day 16 of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 23, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)

      Can ice hockey go global?

      With a growing audience boosted by the drama of ice hockey on show in Sochi at the Winter Olympics, can the sport capitalize on its popularity?
    • The first cover star of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue, Babette March

      Swimsuit legacy: First cover model

      Her paintings may sell for thousands of dollars, but she is best known for a modeling shot 50 years ago that helped launch a business empire.