Cavendish struggles as Bardet wins first Tour stage

Mark Cavendish riding in the Tour de France
Mark Cavendish is attempting to break the record for Tour de France stage wins [Getty Images]

Britain’s Mark Cavendish struggled on stage one of the Tour de France, finishing 39 minutes behind the peloton.

France's Romain Bardet of DSM-Firmenich-PostNL won the Grand Depart from Florence to Rimini in Italy.

Bardet's team-mate Frank van den Broek was second following a breakaway from the two riders which ended with the pair finishing just seconds ahead of the closing peloton.

Cavendish, of Astana-Qazaqstan, is attempting to break the Tour de France record of 34 stage wins he shares with Belgian legend Eddy Merckx.

The 39-year-old came out of retirement last year after coming within centimetres of breaking the record, before abandoning the race with a broken collarbone following a crash.

Cavendish crossed the line with team-mates and fellow sprinter Fabio Jakobsen of DSM with 10 minutes to spare before the elimination time limit.

There was speculation Cavendish had been ill during the stage in sweltering conditions, but he is expected to continue in what is thought to be his final Tour.

More to follow.

Stage one results

1. Romain Bardet (Fra/DSM-firmenich PostNL) 5hrs 07mins 22secs

2. Frank van den Broek (Ned/DSM-firmenich PostNL) Same time

3. Wout van Aert (Bel/Visma-Lease a Bike) +5 secs

4. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) Same time

5. Maxim van Gils (Bel/Lotto-dstny) "

6. Alex Aranburu (Spa/Movistar) "

7. Mads Pedersen (Den/Lidl-Trek) "

8. Remco Evenpoel (Bel/Soudal Quick-Step) "

9. Pello Bilbao (Spa/Bahrain Victorious) "

10. Alberto Bettiol (Ita/Education-Easy Post) "