LIEGE, Belgium: German Marcel Kittel broke down in tears after winning his 10th Tour de France stage in Liege on Sunday.
Reigning champion Chris Froome suffered a scare on the 203.5km second stage from Dusseldorf, crashing 30km from the end but he got up to finish safely in the peloton, alongside race leader Geraint Thomas.
Frenchman Arnaud Demare was second and German Andre Greipel third in the bunch sprint, with Briton Mark Cavendish fourth as he challenged for a 31st stage win.
But the main drama happened 30km from the finish as the peloton chased down a four-man breakaway.
A rider from the Katusha team trying to set up Alexander Kristoff for the finish slipped on a wet bend and crashed, taking down around 15-20 riders.
Froome and yellow jersey wearer Thomas were among them, with the champion suffering cuts to his lower back and seeing his shorts shredded.
He got back on his bicycle to chase the peloton but was forced into a bike change before finally latching back onto the pack with 20km left.
Thomas seemed unscathed and maintained his five-second lead over Swiss Stefan Kung, although Kittel, who hit 69.19kph in the sprint finish according to official Tour data, is now up to third overall at 6sec after taking a 10-second time bonus on the line.