Cycling: The start of the Tour de France in Yorkshire could not have been more spectacular. Kate Middleton officially opened the Grand Boucle by cutting the ribbon surrounded by her husband, Prince William, his brother, Prince Harry and race director Christian Prudhomme.
After that it was straight to the point. The reason for this was Jens Voigt (Trek) from Berlin, who broke away from the field together with the French Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) and Benoit Jarrier (Brittany-Seché Environment) and gained a lead of almost three minutes up to the first mountain classification. Jarrier secured the points, which encouraged Voigt to separate from his two competitors on the way to the highest point of the day, Buttertubs Pass, just under 85 kilometers from the finish in Harrogate.
As a result, Voigt continuously increased the lead over the chasing duo. The field was now more than five minutes behind. But by the time Grinton Moor was passed, the last climb of the day, the Berliner's lead had largely disappeared.
However, the experience that the 42-year-old has gained in his career brought him a sweet and cleverly worked-out reward at the start of his 17th Tour de France: the jersey for the best climber and the prize for the most active rider.
On the way up to the last mountain classification, the field also divided. Victims of this split included Joaquim Rodriguez and Chris Horner, who were able to catch up later.
The field contested the final phase of the 200-kilometer opening stage from Leeds to Harrogate together. To the delight of the numerous spectators lined up along the roadside, who turned the day into a cycling festival and saw Team Lotto-Belisol at the front of the field.
The team led by German champion André Greipel set the pace for large parts of the stage. Four kilometers from the finish, Omega Pharma-QuickStep took over the command. Mark Cavendish was aiming for the first yellow jersey of his career by winning where his mother lives. But things turned out differently.
On the one hand, it was Fabian Cancellara (Trek) who forced the field to react with a late attack. On the other hand, it was also his own fault. The moment Cancellara was caught and John Degenkolb (Giant Shimano) opened the sprint for Marcel Kittel, Cavendish leaned against Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) and fell.
On the other side Peter Sagan (Cannondale) then increased the number of strokes, but he was not up to the start of Kittel. Third place went to Ramunas Navardauskas (Gramin-Sharp).
As in the previous year, Arnstadt's Marcel Kittel took over the first yellow jersey in the Tour de France in the overall standings. In addition to the lead in the overall standings, he can also look forward to the green jersey for the man with the best points. Together with the dotted jersey of the best in the mountains, the three most important jerseys of the Tour de France are now in German hands.