Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) won the opening stage of the 2011 Tour of Britain in Dumfries, Scotland, on Sunday.
Cavendish came out on top in the bunch sprint at the end of a stage affected by high winds, low temperatures and pouring rain to become the first rider to wear the 2011 Tour of Britain leader’s jersey.
Cavendish’s loyal lead-out man and HTC team-mate Mark Renshaw placed second with Dutchman Theo Bos (Rabobank) taking third. British overall hope Geraint Thomas (Sky) opened his campaign strongly in fifth.
The stage was lead for most of the day by breakaway duo Russell Hampton (Sigma Sport-Specialized) and Belgian Pieter Ghyllebert (An Post).
The two riders worked well together to push their gap over the chasing bunch to over six minutes at one point. HTC-Highroad and Sky then worked at the front of the peloton to whittle down the break’s advantage until they caught them with just 10km to go with the aid of a strong tailwind.
The escapees scooped up the stage’s intermediate sprint points and King of the Mountains points. Hampton will wear the KoM jersey going into Monday’s second stage, with Ghyllebert in the Yodel sprints jersey. Cavendish takes the points jersey.
A crash part-way through the stage involving several riders led to German veteran Jens Voigt (Leopard-Trek) withdrawing from the race. He was taken to hospital for X-rays on a suspected broken finger.
Brit Steve Cummings (Sky) was another rider who got caught in the crash by quickly remounted and finished the stage.
On Monday, the riders face stage two from Kendal to Blackpool over an undulating 137.7km route. The race concludes in London on Sunday, September 18.
Tour of Britain 2011, stage one: Peebles to Dumfries, 170.3km
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Highroad in 4-41-06
2. Mark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-Highroad
3. Theo Bos (Ned) Rabobank
4. Barry Markus (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
5. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky
6. Robert Forster (Ger) UnitedHealthcare
7. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
8. Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank
9. Roger Hammond (GB) Garmin-Cervelo
10. Ian Wilkinson (GB) Endura Racing all same time
Overall classification after stage one
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Highroad in 4-40-56
2. Mark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-Highroad at 4 secs
3. Theo Bos (Ned) Rabobank at 6 secs
4. Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank at 9 secs
5. Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky
6. Peter Williams (GB) Motorpoint at same time
7. Barry Markus (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 10 secs
8. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky
9. Robert Forster (Ger) UnitedHealthcare
10. Ben Swift (GB) Sky at same time
Escapees Pieter Ghyllebert and Russell Hampton pass through Dumfries before the finishing circuit
Testing roads and testing weather
HTC-Highroad on front of bunch
Crowds at the finish
Mark Renshaw drops Mark Cavendish off and has enough pace to claim second place himself
Mark Cavendish wins the bunch sprint
Mark Cavendish in the gold leader’s jersey
Tour of Britain 2011: Related links
Tour of Britain 2011: Latest news
Tour of Britain 2011: Photo galleries
Tour of Britain 2011: Start list
Tour of Britain 2011: TV guide