Hunter wins opening stage in Tour of Murcia

Robbie Hunter wins opening stage, Tour of Murcia 2010, stage one

Hunter came out on top in the bunch sprint finish in San Pedro del Pinatar after 166.5km of racing over undulating terrain.

"I decided with the wind and the climbs today that I would go on the attack," Blain said at the finish.

All of the pre-race favourites, including Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), Denis Menchov (Rabobank), Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) and Andreas Kloden (RadioShack), finished safely in the main bunch at the same time as Hunter.

Overall classification after stage one

1. Robbie Hunter (RSA) Garmin-Transitions in 4-15-40

2. Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank

3. Vicente Reynes (Spa) HTC-Columbia

4. Roger Kluge (Ger) Milram

5. Daryl Impey (RSA) RadioShack

6. Kristof Jezowski (Pol) CCC

7. Michal Golas (Pol) Vacansoleil

8. Russell Downing (GB) Team Sky

9. Daniel Schorn (Aut) Team NetApp

10. Ian Wilkinson (GB) Endura

RadioShack head up the bunch

Alexandre Blain leads the breakaway

Robbie Hunter wins opening stage, Tour of Murcia 2010, stage one

Robbie Hunter (Garmin-Transitions) won the opening stage of the 2010 Tour of Murcia in Spain on Wednesday.

British riders Russell Downing (Team Sky) and Ian Wilkinson (Endura) were also in the mix during the final gallop to the line, coming eighth and tenth respectively.

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Lance Armstrong, Tour of Murcia 2010, stage one

Lance Armstrong takes the helm

Robbie Hunter takes the sprint win ahead of Graeme Brown

Hunter earns the right to wear the yellow jersey

Alexandre Blain, a Frenchman riding for the British-based Endura Racing Team, earned himself the intermediate sprint jersey after playing an active role in the day's big four-man breakaway.

"I wanted the Meta Volantes jersey and I took that today. I am pleased, it shows that we are not just here for show but that we came to race. This is good for the Endura Racing Team. I am very pleased."

Hunter made the move to the US-based Garmin-Transitions squad after his former Barloworld squad pulled the plug at the end of the 2009 season.

Blain, Danny Pate (Garmin-Transitions), Ruben Reig (Caja Rural) and Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil) gained over five minutes on the bunch at their peak, but were slowly reeled in and caught with 20km to the finish.

Thursday's stage two from Calasparra to Caravaca de la Cruz features two big climbs, and will give the overall contenders and climbers a chance to stretch their legs.

RESULTS

Tour of Murcia 2010: Stage one

1. Robbie Hunter (RSA) Garmin-Transitions in 4-15-40

2. Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank

3. Vicente Reynes (Spa) HTC-Columbia

4. Roger Kluge (Ger) Milram

5. Daryl Impey (RSA) RadioShack

6. Kristof Jezowski (Pol) CCC

7. Michael Golas (Pol) Vacansoleil

8. Russell Downing (GB) Team Sky

9. Daniel Schorn (Aut) Team NetApp

10. Ian Wilkinson (GB) Endura all same time.

Other/British

21. Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky

29. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky

33. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank

46. Lance Armstrong (USA) RadioShack at same time

58. Evan Oliphant (GB) Endura at 38secs

71. Rob Partridge (GB) Endura at 2-48

82. James Moss (GB) Endura at 7-46

83. Ross Creber (GB) Endura at 7-46

RadioShack, Tour of Murcia 2010, stage one

Alexandre Blain leads the escape, Tour of Murcia 2010, stage one

Tour of Murcia 2010 stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson>>

The South African earned the right to wear the leader's jersey, with Australian Graeme Brown (Rabobank) in second and Spaniard Vicente Reynes (HTC-Columbia) in third.

Robbie Hunter wins opening stage, Tour of Murcia 2010, stage one

Related links

Tour of Murcia 2010, stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson

Tour of Murcia 2010 preview