Tour de France: Alaphilippe delights home fans as Froome crashes on chaotic first stage

By Sports Desk June 26, 2021 1414

Chris Froome's Tour de France hopes were left in tatters on the four-time champion's return to the race as he was caught up in the second of two major crashes on stage one, which saw Julian Alaphilippe lay down an early marker with victory.

The 197.8 kilometre ride from Brest to Landerneau had already been disrupted by a massive crash in the peloton at the 152km mark.

A collision between Tony Martin and a spectator's placard sent riders careering to the tarmac and saw the front of the race neutralised to allow the peloton to catch up.

Breakaway rider Ide Schelling, whose efforts on the climbs ensured he took the polka dot jersey at the end of the stage, was eventually reeled in, but there was more drama to come with 7.5km left.

Froome, making his first appearance at the Tour since 2018 for Israel Start-Up Nation, was left on the ground after another crash that came about in less controversial circumstances, with Greg Van Avermaet and Richie Porte also involved.

Those fortunate to avoid the carnage were left with the opportunity to pick up huge amounts of time on other general classification contenders and world champion Alaphilippe grasped that chance with both hands, the Deceuninck–Quick-Step rider attacking with 2.2km to go and making the move stick.

The Frenchman crossed the line to delight the home fans, ensuring he will swap the rainbow jersey for the yellow jersey with his sixth stage win at the Tour.

Froome, who was seemingly finding it difficult to stand following his crash, succeeded in getting back on bike and riding to the finish at a pedestrian pace.

Even if he can recover, Froome's chances of claiming a fifth title this year are surely already gone.


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Last modified on Saturday, 26 June 2021 16:58
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