Tour de France

Tour de France: Mass crashes causes chaos in opening stage

Opening stage marred by a huge pileup with 43km to go and a second one at 6km to go.

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Two massive crashes splintered the peloton and blocked the road late in the opening stage of the Tour de France on Saturday.

First, about 60 riders hit the deck as the speeding peloton hit 43km to go of the “Grand Départ” through Brittany.

Television cameras captured Tony Martin colliding with a placard held out by a roadside fan.

A number of Martin’s Jumbo-Visma teammates were caught at the front of the crash, and the tightly coiled peloton all piled in behind, bringing the race to a near-standstill.

Riders from UAE Emirates, Movistar, Ineos Grenadiers and a number of other top teams were delayed in the aftermath.

Those who made it through the crash unscathed rode at a steady pace to neutralize the race as those held up got back to their feet and medics attended the scene.

It seems that pre-race contenders Primož Roglič, Richie Porte and Enric Mas all came down before getting back on their bikes as the bunch slowly regrouped.

Martin was later spotted back on his bike, though nursing cuts and road rash across his arms and legs.

Then, a second massive crash at about 6km to go caused even more carnage as the race was in full-flight for the finish. This time, there was no waiting. Most of the dozens of riders who were brought down finished, including Marc Soler (Movistar), who was later found to have broken both elbows.

So many riders were injured that the Tour’s official medical communication did not list them all, instead just noting the 21 most seriously hurt.