Harrogate, England (SportsNetwork.com) - For the second straight year, Marcel Kittel of Germany won the opening stage of the Tour de France.
After Mark Cavendish and Simon Gerrans crashed a few hundred meters from the finish line in Harrogate, Kittel claimed the leader's yellow jersey.
Kittel completed the 190.5-kilometer ride from Leeds to Harrogate in a time of 4 hours, 44 minutes and 7 seconds. The German won four stages last year.
Kittel outsprinted Peter Sagan and Ramunus Navardauskas. Defending champion Chris Froome finished sixth.
"I knew from last year how hard it is to win at the Tour de France but I realized today how much harder it is to win stage 1 a second time," Kittel said. "Tomorrow it'll be another day with a lot of ups and downs, I'm not sure if we, the sprinters, can compete for the win again."
Cavendish was seen holding his right shoulder. He was taken to the hospital for X-rays.
England hosts the first three stages of this 101st Tour de France before riders enter France on Tuesday.
Sunday's second stage is a 201-kilometer ride from York to Sheffield.