Britain's Cavendish Takes Lead in First Stage of Tour de France | NECN
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Britain's Cavendish Takes Lead in First Stage of Tour de France

Two-time Tour winner Alberto Contador started in the worst possible way as the Spaniard crashed during the opening stage of the three-week race on Saturday

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    AP
    Britain's sprinter Mark Cavendish crosses the finish line ahead of Peter Sagan of Slovakia, left, and Germany's sprinter Marcel Kittel, right, to win the first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 188 kilometers (116.8 miles) with start in Mont-Saint-Michel and finish in Utah Beach, France, on July 2, 2016.

    Mark Cavendish can finally wear the yellow jersey.

    The British cyclist won a sprint in the crash-marred opening stage of the Tour de France and took the overall lead on Saturday following a picturesque first stage that finished on Utah Beach, where Allied troops landed on D-Day in 1944.

    Lynne Sladky/AP

    It was Cavendish's 27th stage win in the French classic — third on the all-time list behind Eddy Merckx (34) and Bernard Hinault (28) — but he had never won the opening leg, which is often a time trial.

    German rival Marcel Kittel and Slovakian standout Peter Sagan finished second and third, respectively.

    Two-time Tour winner Alberto Contador started in the worst possible way as the Spaniard crashed during the opening stage of the three-week race on Saturday.

    Contador hit a traffic curb after coming through a roundabout with about 80 kilometers left in Stage 1 between Mont-Saint-Michel and Utah Beach in Normandy.

    Contador got back on his bike with a ripped jersey and scrapes on his right shoulder.

    He later changed his bike and quickly made it to the back of the peloton with the help of his teammates, as his rivals slowed down the pace following the crash.

    The 33-year-old Contador then had to replace one of his shoes and dropped back to the race doctor's car to have his shoulder bandaged.

    "He has some abrasion on his right shoulder, elbow, and groin," race doctor Paul-Henri Jost said, adding that Contador also took a small dose of painkillers. "At first glance, this is no big deal."

    Contador is among the three main favorites alongside defending champion Chris Froome and Colombian climber Nairo Quintana.

    Contador won the Tour in 2007 and 2009 but was stripped of the 2010 Tour title and was suspended for two years after testing positive for clenbuterol in the final week of the race that year.

    Team Sky's Luke Rowe went down with Contador and was also able to return to the race, joining the pack with bottles for his teammates.

    The first week of the Tour is usually nervous and marred with crashes. In 2011, Contador crashed four times in the opening nine stages, damaging one of his knees.