HARROGATE, England (AP) - Marcel Kittel of Germany has won the first stage of the Tour de France in a bunch sprint in front of royalty in the English countryside.
After sprint rival Mark Cavendish fell in a late crash, Kittel won the 190.5-kilometer (118-mile) run along rocky, grassy hills from Leeds to Harrogate on Saturday.
Prime Minister David Cameron, Princes William and Harry, and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, were among throngs of British fans who lined the route, a testament to the cycling craze in the U.K.
England hosts the first three stages of this 101st Tour edition before riders enter France on Tuesday. In all, the 198 riders are to cover 3,664 kilometers (2,277 miles) of road before the July 27 finish in Paris.
Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.