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Mark Cavendish has the yellow jersey after Stage 1 of the Tour de France

Britain's sprinter Mark Cavendish crosses the finish line ahead of Peter Sagan of Slovakia, left, and Germany's sprinter Marcel Kittel, right, to win the first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 188 kilometers (116.8 miles) with start in Mont-Saint-Michel and finish in Utah Beach, France, Saturday, July 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

Britain's sprinter Mark Cavendish crosses the finish line ahead of Peter Sagan of Slovakia, left, and Germany's sprinter Marcel Kittel, right, to win the first stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 188 kilometers (116.8 miles) with start in Mont-Saint-Michel and finish in Utah Beach, France, Saturday, July 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

SAINTE-MARIE-DU-MONT, France -- Mark Cavendish can finally wear the yellow jersey.

The British cyclist won a sprint in the crash-marred opening stage of the Tour de France and took the overall lead on Saturday following a picturesque first stage that finished on Utah Beach, where Allied troops landed on D-Day in 1944.

It was Cavendish's 27th stage win in the French classic -- third on the all-time list behind Eddy Merckx (34) and Bernard Hinault (28) -- but he had never won the opening leg, which is often a time trial.

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German rival Marcel Kittel and Slovakian standout Peter Sagan finished second and third, respectively.

Two-time Tour winner Alberto Contador crashed midway through the stage and several riders were involved in an ugly crash on the final straight.