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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 22 July 2018

UAE Team Emirates rider Kristoff finishes fourth in Tour de France opening stage

Colombian Gaviria wins the opening stage will UAE's general classification contender Martin avoids a crash

Alexander Kristoff in action during his fourth-place finish in the opening stage of the Tour de France. Courtesy UAE Team Emirates
Alexander Kristoff in action during his fourth-place finish in the opening stage of the Tour de France. Courtesy UAE Team Emirates

UAE Team Emirates rider Alexander Kristoff said he will look to build on his opening stage efforts in the Tour de France after narrowly missing out on the podium on Saturday.

Norwegian Kristoff was part of the final sprint at the end of the 201-kilometre stage from Noirmoutier-en-Lille to Fontenay-Le-Comte, but had to settle for fourth place.

Quick-Step Floors' Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria claimed the stage in four hours, 23 minutes and 32 seconds. Slovakian Peter Sagan of Bora-Hansgrohe took the runner-up spot, with Germany's Team Katusha Alpecin rider Marcel Kittel completing the podium.

“It was quote chaotic but I got good help from my teammates and had a good position," Kristoff, 31, said. "I couldn’t manage to pass Sagan or Gaviria but I manged to get fourth.

"I was hoping for a podium and I was close, but Gaviria, Sagan and Kittel were better than me today. I will try again in the next stages and hopefully can improve on my fourth place.”

Dan Martin, UAE Team Emirates' leading rider in the battle for the general classification, finished comfortably in the main group and managed to avoid the crash that included defending champion Chris Froome.

“Today was a chaotic final where everybody was fresh and wanted to stay in front," Martin 31, said. "I avoided the crash and that was really important.

"As I said in the past few days, I have a lot of confidence in the team, and in stages like today teammates are really important.”

Sunday's 182.5km second stage will begin in Mouilleron-Saint-Germain and finish in La Roche-Sur-Yon, and with only one category four climb, a bunch sprint will again decide the winner.