Italian Giacomo Nizzolo gets better of Mark Cavendish in opening sprint stage of 2016 Tour of Croatia

Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) pipped Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) to the line to win the opening stage of the 2016 Tour of Croatia on Tuesday.

Timothy Dupont (Verandas Willems) placed third on the flat stage behind Nizzolo and Cavendish on the first day of the six-stage race. British rider Chris Opie (One Pro Cycling) placed fourth.

Italian Nizzolo will now wear the leader’s jersey going into Wednesday’s stage two, a rolling route from NP Plitvicka jezera to Split over 240 kilometres that could well conclude in another bunch finish.

It’s Nizzolo’s first victory of the 2016 season.

Giacomo Nizzolo wins stage one of the 2016 Tour of Croatia

Giacomo Nizzolo wins stage one of the 2016 Tour of Croatia

“In the finale it was not possible for us to organise a lead-out with the tricky circuit, so I just tried to find my own way,” Nizzolo said after the finish.

“I knew that Cavendish was here with a good team for the sprint train, so I stayed around them. I just found a good position into the last corner and stayed cool to start [my sprint] at the right moment.”

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The second edition of the Tour of Croatia concludes on Sunday, April 24. The decisive stages are likely to be Friday’s mountain-top finish on stage four, and Saturday’s 40.3-kilometre team time trial.

In addition to Dimension Data and Trek-Segafredo, WorldTour teams IAM Cycling, Astana and Tinkoff are taking part in the UCI 2.1-ranked event. British teams One Pro Cycling and Team Wiggins also field squads.

Team Wiggins before stage one of the 2016 Tour of Croatia

Team Wiggins before stage one of the 2016 Tour of Croatia

Tour of Croatia 2016 stage one result

Osijek to Varazdin, 230.4km
1. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
2. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data
3. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Verandas Willems
4. Chris Opie (GBr) One Pro Cycling
5. Erik Baska (Svk) Tinkoff
6. Coen Vermeltfoort (Ned) Cyclingteam de Rijke
7. Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
8. Pawel Franczak (Pol) Verva Activejet
9. Ioannis Tamouridis (Gre) Synergy Baku
10. Jure Miskulin (Slo) Radenska Ljubljana all same time

General classification after stage one
1. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
2. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data at 4 secs
3. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Verandas Willems at 6 secs
4. Alexey Kurbatov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo at 9 secs
5. Chris Opie (GBr) One Pro Cycling at 10 secs
6. Erik Baska (Svk) Tinkoff at 10 secs
7. Coen Vermeltfoort (Ned) Cyclingteam de Rijke at 10 secs
8. Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 10 secs
9. Pawel Franczak (Pol) Verva Activejet at 10 secs
10. Ioannis Tamouridis (Gre) Synergy Baku at 10 secs