Cavendish claims Tour de France opener

Mark Cavendish won the opening stage of the 2016 Tour de France following a superb sprint finish.

It was the Manxman's 27th stage win in Le Tour, but it is a special moment as he will wear the yellow jersey for the first time on Sunday's second stage.

The flat stage was always going to one for the sprinters and Cavendish was flanked by powerhouses Peter Sagan and Marcel Kittel as they entered the final 400m.

There was a huge crash taking out a large portion of the chasing pack but the trio pushed on, with the Dimension Data rider holding on for the watershed win ahead of Kittel and Sagan, with Andre Greipel claiming fourth. 

There was action earlier in the stage, as General Classification hopeful Alberto Contador hit the deck with 79 kms to go.

The Spaniard fell heavily and shredded the right side of his jersey, but was quickly back on his bike and was escorted to the relative safety of the peloton by his Tinkoff-Saxo teammates. Defending champion Chris Froome and the talented Nairo Quintana also finished in the peloton.

Stage two will take the peloton 182km over some low grade climbs from Saint Lo to Cherbourg-Octeville.