• The peloton rides through the Spanish countryside during stage nine of the 2016 Tour de France (Getty) (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
The Tour de France has reached its first rest day on the road to Paris, and it's been a vintage edition already.
11 Jul 2016 - 9:57 AM 
The first week saw the fastest sprinters in the world duking it out over a number of flat stages - one of which saw the riders take an unofficial rest day, travelling at an average of 32km/h for much of the stage.
 
Resurgent British sprinter Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) was the clear winner in the sprints, winningthree out of four flat finishes and snagging the first yellow jersey of the race.
 
Cavendish makes it three
Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) showed again that he is the fastest man at this year's Tour, this time in emphatic fashion as he went toe-to-toe with German powerhouse Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep), convincingly winning the duel and his third stage of the Tour.
The overall race lead changed hands several times in the first week, with Cavendish handing the maillot jaune over to World Champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) on Stage 2. Sagan held the race lead until Stage 5, when Belgian single-day race specialist Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing) launched a sneak attack from a breakway to wear the yellow jersey.
 
Greg Van Avermaet solos to stage win and into yellow
Belgian Greg Van Avermaet traversed the final two category climbs alone to take line honours and the yellow jersey in Le Lioran on Stage 5 of the Tour de France.
 
However, it was pre-race favourite Chris Froome (Team Sky) who was the big winner from the first week, taking the race lead by 23 seconds on the first major mountain stage with an unorthodox, and unexpected attack on a 100km/h descent. He also caused controversy by punching a spectator who got a little too close on a climb - incurring a fine from race authorities.
 
Froome fined after punching a dangerous spectator
On the same day that he won the stage and took the Tour de France leader’s jersey, Chris Froome (Sky) was fined for fighting off a fan who got dangerously close to the riders in the final 20km.
It wasn't all good news for everyone, though: Former two-time Tour winner Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) left the race after crashing twice in the first two days and coming down with a fever. Tasmanian Richie Porte (BMC) also saw his victory hopes dented after puncturing and losing time on Stage 2.
 
Contador abandons the Tour de France
Diminished by a fever and still reeling from crashes on the opening two days of the race, two-time champion Alberto Contador has pulled out of the Tour de France during the toughest Pyrenean stage.
Brit Adam Yates, riding for Australian team Orica-BikeExchange, also crashed in a bizarre incident on Stage 7 which saw the inflatable one-kilometre-to-go marker collapse in front of him, causing him to faceplant at high speed. Four stitches later, Yates was able to continue in the race: it's a good job too, because he's currently in second place and the holder of the white best young rider jersey.
 
Inflatable Tour banner attacks Adam Yates leaving him initially deflated
In the finale of Stage 7 at Lac de Payolle, the inflatable 1km-to-go banner collapsed taking out Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange). The altercation severely delayed the Englishman who faced a nervous wait for commissaires to take his overall time at the 3km marker.
All this and the race isn't even at the halfway point. Don't miss out on a minute of the action to come - SBS has got you covered with more Tour de France coverage than ever before on TV and online!