Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) won the first stage of the 2013 Tour de France to take the coveted yellow jersey but the opening day of the race will be remembered for the bizarre sequence of events which unfolded prior to the finish.
Late arriving in Bastia, the Orica-GreenEDGE team bus wedged itself under the finish line gantry with the peloton less than 20km from the expected bunch sprint, prompting the race organisers to move the finish three kilometres down the road.
However, the original finish line was reinstated when the bus eventually freed itself and reversed off the course, resulting in confusion in the peloton which Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) said contributed to a huge crash which ended the victory chances of a number of sprinters – the Manx Missile included.
Kittel avoided the carnage, however, and stayed upright to contest the finish, beating Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and Danny Von Poppel (Vacansoleil-DCM) to the line on what the German later called “the greatest day of my life”.
Open the photo gallery above to see how a chaotic day at the Tour de France unfolded.