• Fans on the roadside show their love for the Tour de France (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
It has been an intriguing, hard-fought and chaotic start to the 2018 edition of the Tour de France. We look at the key takeaways from the opening six stages.
Cycling Central

13 Jul 2018 - 7:18 AM  UPDATED 13 Jul 2018 - 9:09 AM

Can you hear the drums Fernando? We have a new star

Fernando Gaviria has made an immediate impact in his debut Tour de France, winning two stages and looking the strongest of the sprinters. He’s multi-lingual, an interesting character and certainly a rider we should get used to seeing on top of the podium over the next 10 years.

He’s certainly got the confidence required to be a top level sprinter and one of the few riders prepared to say he’ll take on Peter Sagan for the green jersey. Most just hedge and decline from putting pressure on themselves. The battle between Gaviria and the world champion will be one to watch over the rest of the Tour.

Bretagne and the Vendée has turned it on

At times the Tour de France turns into a travelogue show for the region of France the peloton traverses. The picturesque scenery, stunning chateaux and innovative field art brings the countryside of France into the living room.

The lush greens of the forest, craggy rocks of the coastline and rolling hills are what characterise this region of France and we’ve seen plenty of that courtesy of the sweeping helicopter panaromic shots.

Yes, Peter Sagan is that good

It seems scarcely a stage goes by without something incredible being produced by Slovakian star Peter Sagan. Whether it’s his precognition as he positions himself perfectly for the sprint, some absurd example of bike-handling or utilising his ridiculous power to win stages.

He is human, we saw that in the team time trial where he dropped off his BORA-hansgrohe team, clearly blown after the unique effort of the discipline. If you had to pick one rider that will definitely be in the limelight for the rest of the race, you couldn't go past the flamboyant world champion.

Tour de Crash

One of the stated reasons behind the reduction of team sizes from nine riders to eight was rider safety. It turns out having 176 riders constantly fighting for the front of the peloton isn’t that different from 196 doing the same.

There's been plenty of crashes, some have affected noted Tour de France favourites like Chris Froome (Team Sky), Richie Porte (BMC) and Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott). Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ) is the unluckiest so far with three crashes to his name.

Six riders have already abandoned. 

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Echelon flirtation - don't forget about those crosswinds

Quick-Step Floors reminded the peloton of the potential danger lurking behind every corner. As it turned right with 100 kilometres remaining in stage 6, the Belgian squad felt the wind coming from the side and decided to push the pace. Teams scrabbled to respond to the acceleration, and a few were caught out.

What followed was 25 kilometres of stress and speculation before Lotto NL-Jumbo finally managed to bring back their dropped leader Primoz Roglic – the last of the major riders caught out by the move.

Early movers and shakers for yellow

There has been a lot of upheaval in the general classification. From the opening stage, where crashes caught out some of the biggest favourites in the race, to the team time trial, which saw the best squads against the clock hurt the lesser teams. 

The first test of the top contenders' climbing legs came in stage 6 atop the Mur de Bretagne, where Australian Richie Porte showed he has some pretty impressive form on him at the moment. He didn't win the stage, but his accelerations dropped some of his big rivals, like defending champion Chris Froome.

You can watch every stage, every night LIVE and exclusive on SBS. Stage times vary so check your local guides for start times. 

How to watch the 2018 Tour de France on SBS
The 2018 Tour de France is here and SBS will bring you the racing, personalities, food, chateaux and colour of the event across all broadcast platforms.