Cavendish wins opening stage of Tour de France
UTAH BEACH, France—Mark Cavendish closed in on the all-time record by winning the opening stage of the 2016 Tour de France at Utah Beach on Saturday.
It was the 31-year-old Briton’s 27th stage win since 2008 putting him just one win behind second-placed Bernard Hinault in the all-time list where Belgian legend Eddy Merckx remains out in front on 34 on Saturday amidst tight security.
Reigning champion Chris Froome of Britain was one of 198 riders on the start line ahead of the 188km first stage to Utah Beach, site of one of the famous World War II Normandy landings.
The race will finish on July 24 on the famous Champs Elysees in Paris after covering 3,500km around France. mobilised to handle security and each of the 22 teams of nine riders has been assigned a dozen officers to look after them, while a police command post is being set up at the finish of every stage.
The fight against cheats has also been stepped up with technological fraud seen as the new threat after years of EPO use and blood-doping.