Marcel Kittel sprinted to victory on stage one of the Tour de France after Mark Cavendish was involved in a serious crash just before the finish.
Cavendish crashed with just 250 metres to go after colliding with Orica-GreenEDGE's Simon Gerrans.
The Briton went down on his shoulder and was taken to hospital as soon as the race finished. Cavendish had dreamed of winning the stage and wearing the yellow jersey for the first time in his career.
Late challenge fought off
Kittel went on to win the stage and was ahead of Cavendish before the crash. The German sprinter saw off a late attack from Fabian Cancellara and outsprinted Peter Sagan to claim the yellow jersey on the first stage for a second year in a row.
Kittel praised his teammates for their hard work and was very happy with the stage win.
Fans cheering were deafening
Shimano said, according to Sky Sports: "It was so, so hard up the last little hill until the 1km sign. We rode like in a tunnel it was so unbelievably loud, the fans were cheering.
"My boys did an amazing job, they rode so, so strong. I felt so motivated, I had good legs today and I’m so, so happy with this win. I still can’t believe it. It’s unreal, it’s so great."
Cavendish continued participation doubtful
It is unknown whether Cavendish will be able to continue in the Tour after the serious nature of the crash but Kittel hopes his rival will get better soon.
"That’s very disappointing. I hope it’s not too bad and hope he gets well soon."
Defending Champion Chris Froome had a good day however and finished in sixth place overall.
Royalty and huge crowds in attendance
The riders started the 2014 Tour de France in Leeds but the official start for the race was 14km into the 190.5km course where both Prince William and Harry as well as the Duchess of Cambridge cut the race ribbon.
Around 285,000 people were said to be at the start line and thousand more were on every road all the way to Harrogate.
Stage One Result
1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Giant-Shimano, 4:44:07
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale, same time
3 Ramunas Navardauskas (Lit) Garmin-Sharp, st
4 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar, st
5 Mick Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo, +4secs
6 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, st
7 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha, st
8 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin, st
9 Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar, st
10 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEdge, st
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