Mark Cavendish's yellow jersey bid ended in scenes of high farce at the conclusion of the opening stage of the Tour de France.
For the first time since 1966, there was the chance of a first stage bunch sprint finish and British champion Cavendish started as red-hot favourite.
But a team bus became stranded on the finish line, forcing organisers to frantically bring the conclusion of the race forward three kilometres.
That decision was later reversed but only after a spectacular crash brought several members of an increasingly confused peloton crashing to the ground.
Cavendish only just avoided the chaos but described the stage as 'carnage'
"The problem was the change in the finish," he said. "I'm lucky I wasn't involved in the crash, I was just behind it."
However, Cavendish's team-mate Tony Martin suffered a suspected broken collarbone while Alberto Contador, considered a major rival to Britain's Chris Froome for overall honours, also came down.
Double British Olympic champion Geraint Thomas was also caught up in the melee but an x-ray confirmed no serious damage while Peter Sagan, one of Cavendish's key green jersey rivals, suffered cuts and bruises.
In the confusion German Marcel Kittel took the stage while favourite Froome took an earlier tumble after hitting a kerb.
“I managed to get through the rest of the day unscathed and if that’s the only crash I have this Tour I’ll take that," said Froome.
“I don’t think any of us expected it was going to be plain sailing but there were some pretty brutal crashes.
"Again it’s just another reminder that this Tour is about so much more than having the form and being here. It’s about staying out of trouble and looking after ourselves at the same time."