Chris Froome is odds-on favorite to win the Tour de France for a second time after he claimed the leader’s yellow jersey in Monday’s stage, which was marred by an accident that caused several cyclists to quit the race.
Sky’s Froome, 30, the 2013 Tour de France champion, is the 19-20 favorite with U.K. bookmaker William Hill to win the Tour, with Nairo Quintana the 5-2 second favorite, Alberto Contador at 11-2 and last year’s winner, Vincenzo Nibali, a 6-1 shot.
Tuesday’s 223.5-kilometer (139-mile) Stage 4 takes the peloton from Seraing in Belgium to Cambrai in northwest France and includes several sections of cobblestones, providing knocks and strains for riders who were injured in Monday’s crash.
Monday’s stage was halted for about 20 minutes after more than 12 cyclists -- including then-leader Fabian Cancellara -- were involved in a crash about 100 kilometers into the ride.
The peloton was traveling at more than 50 kilometers an hour when William Bonnet of FDJ went down after touching wheels with another cyclist. As he skidded along the road, other participants rode into him, causing a pileup.
Cancellara, who complained about back pain, continued riding and finished more than 12 minutes behind stage winner Joaquim Rodriguez of Katusha before announcing his withdrawal from the race.
“Just left the hospital with a huge disappointment,” Trek Factory Racing leader Cancellara wrote on his Twitter account. “#TDF2015 is over broke some bones on my back again as in spring.”
Bonnet, Giant’s Tom Dumoulin, Dmitriy Kozonchuk of Katusha and Simon Gerrans of Orica also left the race after the crash, according to Le Tour website.
The stage was halted because medical personnel were too busy treating riders to keep up with the main group.
Rodriguez won the stage after breaking away on the final climb. He was able to sprint away from Froome in the last 200 meters of the 159.5-kilometer stage from Anvers to Huy in Belgium.
British rider Froome holds a one-second lead over Tony Martin of Etixx in the overall classification. BMC’s Tejay van Garderen of the U.S. is 13 seconds behind Froome in third place.