Tour de France: Mark Cavendish blames late change of finish line for stage-one chaos
Mark Cavendish said changes to the finish of stage one of the Tour de France caused "carnage".
Last Updated: 30/06/13 7:02pm
The finish line was moved to 3km out after the Orica-GreenEDGE team bus became stuck under a timing board with about 20km remaining.
That triggered a frantic fight for position in the peloton and a crash that involved around 25 riders and held dozens more up, including Cavendish and sprint rival Peter Sagan.
However, the line was then moved back to its original position after the bus was freed, and Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) subsequently outsprinted Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) to take on the race leader's yellow jersey.
Cavendish said: "What caused the problems was the change in the finish. We heard on the radios with literally 5km to go that the sprint was in 2km, and then 1km later, they were like, 'No, it is at the finish'. It was just carnage."
Cavendish was not one of the riders who fell, but his Omega Pharma - Quick-Step team-mate Tony Martin suffered concussion, cuts and severe brusing.
Martin 'in a bit of a state'
"I am lucky I didn't come down," Cavendish added. "I was behind. My team-mates are a lot worse off. Tony Martin is in a bit of a state. He is not in a good way."
General classification contender Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) also fell and although he remounted his bike, he crossed the line grimacing and with a ripped jersey.
He said afterwards: "I am OK. Now we will need to see how I feel tomorrow. In the Tour, you never know what is going to happen. There was a rider in front of me who didn't slow down in time and I ended up on the ground."
There was no such concern for Kittel, who claimed the biggest victory in the race and now leads the general, points and best young rider classifications.
He said: "The finish was hectic. Chaotic. There were quite a lot of crashes and then, in the end, we had to do a lead-out that was far from normal. We had to go really early, with one-and-a-half kilometres to go to the finish.
"Unfortunately some of my sprint rivals crashed today and it is always nice to compete against the best and to show that you can also win against them, not only if there is a crash.
"I'm looking forward to the next stages to sprint against Andre [Greipel] and Mark [Cavendish]. To be honest though, I don't want to even think about the next few stages; right now I just want to enjoy the yellow jersey and we'll see what happens tomorrow."