The opening stage of the Tour de France began in chaotic fashion after a fan caused a major pile-up involving around 60 cyclists.
With the peloton 43km from the finish line in Grand Depart, Brittany, a spectator brandishing a sign caused pandemonium.
Television cameras captured Tony Martin colliding with a sign held up by an unwitting spectator and as the Team Jumbo–Visma rider crashed to the ground, he brought with him a huge swathe of the field.
Thankfully, Martin was able to remount and start the stage again, while Caleb Ewan, Jack Haig and Miguel Angel Lopez were among the other riders held up.
Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ), Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep) and Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates), Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) were all also involved in the pile-up but got back up to continue racing.
The stage was interrupted with around 7.5km remaining following another crash which sent Chris Froome, making his first appearance in the race for three years, tumbling to the floor.
A clearly hurt Froome, a four-time winner, struggled to get back to his feet but the British cycling legend did, eventually, manage to ride in.
Eventually, Julian Alaphilippe took the first yellow jersey of this year’s race as he soloed to victory after two huge crashes marred the opening stage to Landerneau.
Alaphilippe attacked early on the decisive climb of the Cote de la Fosse aux Loups and stayed away to win with relative ease from Michael Matthews at the end of the 198km stage from Brest.
There was French delight as Alaphilippe swapped his world champion’s rainbow jersey for the famous yellow with his sixth career Tour stage win.
The primary favourites to be wearing yellow in Paris – Tadej Pogacar, Primoz Roglic and Geraint Thomas – crossed in group a further eight seconds back
‘It’s a scenario I imagined and I really wanted to do it but of course I had to do it and it’s really super,” Alaphilippe said.
‘My team did a great job and controlled it all day. At the end I was caught in a crash but we got back and I really had to make the last climb. I had to get rid of the sprinters, it wasn’t easy but I gave my best and that was it.