Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) won the opening stage of the 2016 Tour de Yorkshire in Settle on Friday.
Dutchman Groenewegen got the better of pre-race favourite Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge) in the bunch sprint to claim the first leader’s jersey of the 2016 race.
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Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin) finished third, with JLT-Condor’s Chris Lawless the best-placed British rider on the stage in seventh.
The sprinters nearly didn’t have it their own way after late escape specialist Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) made the peloton work hard to bring the race back together after he attacked in the final four kilometres.
The British rider had caught and passed French duo Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie) and Anthony Turgis (Cofidis) after they had earlier broken free from the peloton on the uphill intermediate sprint at Giggleswick.
Cummings’ valiant effort came to an end just as he passed under the kilometre-to-go banner, with Groenewegen’s LottoNL-Jumbo squad leading the peloton.
The stage was run under cold, dark skies with occasional outbursts of rain, making the conditions harsh – compounded by blustery crosswinds. An early crash within the first kilometre out of Beverley saw numerous riders hit the ground, including Sven Erik Bystrøm (Katusha), who abandoned due to his injuries.
Sir Bradley Wiggins (Team Wiggins) was another rider to get caught in the incident, and later abandoned the race.
Six riders formed an escape group as the stage unfolded: Graham Briggs (JLT Condor), Matt Cronshaw (Madison Genesis), Sebastian Mora (Raleigh GAC), Nils Politt (Katusha), Jens Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Peter Williams (One Pro Cycling).
The six riders built up a lead of over four minutes at one point, but were kept in check by the combined forces of Sky and Dimension Data. With 72km of the 184km distance to go, Williams, Politt and Wallays were all that was left, and they were all caught with 35km to go.
Stage two of the three-day Tour de Yorkshire sees the riders tackle a 135km route from Otley to Doncaster, which should once again end in a bunch sprint. The single-day women’s race precedes the men’s on the same route.
Tour de Yorkshire 2016 result
Stage one: Beverley to Settle, 184km
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo in 5-09-11
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
3. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Giant-Alpecin
4. Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie
5. Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky
6. Floris Gerts (Ned) BMC Racing Team
7. Christopher Lawless (GBr) JLT Condor
8. Karol Domagalski (Pol) One Pro Cycling
9. Dion Smith (NZl) One Pro Cycling
10. Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise all same time
General classification after stage one
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 4 secs
3. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Giant-Alpecin at 6 secs
4. Anthony Turgis (Fra) Cofidis at 7 secs
5. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Direct Energie at 8 secs
6. Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data at 9 secs
7. Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie at 10 secs
8. Danny Van Pollel (Ned) Team Sky at 10 secs
9. Floris Gerts (Ned) BMC Racing Team at 10 secs
10. Christopher Lawless (GBr) JLT Condor at 10 secs