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Fans in Great Britain turned out in huge numbers to watch the race travel through the hills northwest of Leeds. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)
Fans in Great Britain turned out in huge numbers to watch the race travel through the hills northwest of Leeds. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)

Tour de France, Stage 1: Avoiding A Crash

5. luglio 2014

BMC Racing Team's Greg Van Avermaet successfully steered clear of a crash near the finish that took down several riders on the way to a 13th place result in Saturday's opening stage of the Tour de France.

'Had To Brake Full Gas'
With fewer than 200 meters to go in the 190.5-kilometer race, Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Simon Gerrans (ORICA-GreenEDGE) tangled, taking Julien Simon (Cofidis Solutions Crédits) down with them. Sprinting just behind them, Van Avermaet said was lucky to escape the pile-up. "I had to brake full gas. I almost crashed," he said. "Then my race was over. It was a little bit disappointing." Marcel Kittel (Team Giant-Shimano) won the opening stage for the second straight year ahead of Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling) and Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp). After Van Avermaet, Tejay van Garderen was the next across the line for the BMC Racing Team, in 32nd place. "Tejay was always in the front and in a good position," BMC Racing Team Sport Director Yvon Ledanois said. "Marcus Burghardt and Michael Schär did a good to help him. Tomorrow is a big day. Today was easy for the team." Van Avermaet said he will try again in Sunday's 201-km stage from York to Sheffield. "I think it's a good stage for me," he said. "Today was already pretty hard. It was a nervous race and that fits me best, so I hope to do a good result tomorrow."

Listen to complete comments from Ledanois and Van Avermaet on the BMC Racing Team's special Tour de France Audio Line.

View photos from the race in the BMC Racing Team's Flickr gallery.

Watch behind-the-scenes videos on the BMC Racing Team's YouTube channel.