TOUR DE FRANCE 2021

French hopes high as Alaphilippe charges forth to win Yellow Jersey on first day

French rider Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck) winner of the first date of the Tour de France, between Brest and Landerneau, 26 June 2021
French rider Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck) winner of the first date of the Tour de France, between Brest and Landerneau, 26 June 2021 christophe petit tesson POOL/AFP

French cyclist Julian Alaphilippe dusted himself off from a fall to claim the first yellow jersey of the Tour de France on Saturday, winning the 197.8km stage from Brest to Landerneau by a clear margin.

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Alaphilippe burst away from the main pack with 2.3km left of a brutal climb up to the Côte de la Fosse aux Loups taking ten bonus seconds at the finish line and ended another 12 seconds ahead of his nearest challenger.

Australia's Michael Matthews was second and is second overall at 16 seconds while Slovenia's Primoz Roglic came third and is in the same position in the overall standings 20 seconds down on the leader.

Crossing the line in his world champion's rainbow jersey Alaphilippe put his thumb in his mouth in honour of his newborn son with his partner Marion Rousse, a former professional cyclist and now commentator

Ineos Grenadiers leader Geraint Thomas and defending champion Tadej Pogacar were just behind this group on a hugely stressful finish with major time gaps at stake that almost certainly led to the second of two mass falls on the day.

In the first crash, caused by a fan brandishing a cardboard banner trying to get on television, German Tony Martin was sent tumbling when he rode straight into the sign amid scenes of chaos with 47km left.

The second was a technical error at high speed as riders jostled for position at the foot of the final slope, a crash that brought down Chris Froome and others, including Marc Haller, Andre Greipel and Ion Izagirre. 

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