HE may not have been celebrating a stage win and yellow jersey for his team, but importantly Mark Renshaw avoided drama on the opening day of the Tour de France.
The Bathurst talent and his Dimension Data team-mates were not able to get their sprinter Mark Cavdendish in position to contest the finish at Fontenay-le-Comte.
Instead it was Quickstep-Floor’s Fernando Gaviria who took the honours in four hours, 23 minutes and 32 seconds.
Renshaw was just over a minute off the pace in 106th place, but unlike others who had crashed in the hectic final kilometres, he and his team-mates were unscathed.
“Not the start we were after, [but] already looking forward to trying again tomorrow,” Renshaw tweeted.
In what is his 10th appearance at the Tour de France, Renshaw is happy with his form and with plenty of chances for the sprinters in the opening week, he will be working hard for Cavendish.
“Everything is starting to come together. The last three-four weeks I’ve had nothing hold me back or set me back, it’s just got better each week,” he said.
“I had a good racing stint in Slovenia and Italy, so I came out of that pretty well. Form is good, weight is good and I’m healthy, so that’s already a bonus when you can start a tour like that.
“It’s definitely going to be an exciting Tour de France. Every year they try to throw something different in there.”
Two years ago when the Tour de France last commenced with a road stage, it was Renshaw’s Dimension Data team-mate Cavdendish who won the sprint at Utah Beach.
It saw him into the leader’s yellow jersey for the first time in his career, with the celebrations extending to Renshaw and the rest of the team.
The man who made his professional road debut in 2004 was hoping for a repeat of that as the 105th edition of the Grand Tour commenced on Saturday with a 201 kilometre flat stage from Noirmoutier-en-l'Île to Fontenay-le-Comte.
Things looked good for Renshaw’s team as Jay Thomson helped guide the peloton to catching a three-man breakaway.
While others such as defending champion Chris Froome crashed inside the final kilometres, Renshaw and his team-mates steered clear of trouble and readied themselves for a sprint finish.
But they weren’t able to get in the position they wanted. Cavendish ended up 36th with Edvald Boasson Hagen the team’s best placed in 19th.
“Our sprint train was just not able to link up effectively though, through the numerous roundabouts that made the in run-in to the line rather tricky,” Dimension Data said on their website.