Jesper Asselman wins from breakaway in nail-biting stage one of Tour de Yorkshire 2019

The Dutchman was the strongest of the escapees as the peloton missed out on the first day

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Jesper Asselman took a surprise victory from a breakaway on stage one of the Tour de Yorkshire 2019.

The Roompot-Charles rider made it into the seven-rider move at the start of the day and held his own deep into the race.

Asselman was the first to launch his attack from the four breakaway riders left in the final, as the peloton caught up but was forced to fight for minor places.

Filippo Fortin (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits) took second with Jonas Van Genechten (Vital Concept-B&B Hotels) finishing third.

How it happened

The opening stage of the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire looked liked a nailed on stage for the sprinters, over 182.5km from the town of Doncaster to Selby.

With just one climb along the route - the Côte de Baggaby Hill, 1.8km at 3.9 per cent - which came 136km into the day, it looked like terrain for the fast men like Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), Dan McLay (Great Britain) and Chris Lawless (Team Ineos).

Typically unpredictable Yorkshire weather characterised the opening half of racing, with sunshine and showers pouring down on the peloton.

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A seven-rider breakaway formed 30km into the race with Dan Bigham (Ribble Pro Cycling), Kevin Vermaerke (Hagens Berman Axeon), Jacob Hennessy (Canyon-dhb), Jesper Asselman (Roompot-Charles), Sean Flynn and Joe Nally (Great Britain) all breaking free.

The break were allowed a 1-40 gap at 50km into the race, with the peloton keeping a tight leash on the frontrunners.

Dimension Data and Team Ineos, debuting their new colours after the official launch, manned the front of the bunch to keep the escapees within their grasp.

The breakaway combined brilliantly throughout the day, until Hennessy and Flynn were dropped and rejoined the peloton 36km from home.

Bigham, Asselman, Vermaerke and Nally continued their efforts and held a 1-50 advantage over the bunch.

Disaster then struck reigning Tour de Yorkshire champion Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team), as he punctured with just over 20km race and was forced to chase the tail of the peloton.

But the Belgian was able to rejoin after four kilometres of chasing to keep him in the fight.

Ian Stannard (Team Ineos) drove the pace at the front of the bunch, as the gap to the four out front dropped to 1-12 with 16km to race.

As the breakaway hit the 10km marker they held a 30 second advantage and continued pushing hard to stay away.

The peloton's progress began to slow as the race hit the 3km marker, with the escapees still holding 20 seconds as Dimension Data took over the chase from Ineos.

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Inside the final kilometre the bunch still hadn't made the catch, as CCC Team sent a rider across to try and catch the front of the race.

Asselman launched his sprint from the breakaway 200 metres from the line and immediately pulled out a gap from his exhausted companions, who were caught by the bunch.

But peloton had struck out too late as Asselman rode to victory, despite catching a Yorkshire flag on his handlebars while sprinting.


Tour de Yorkshire 2019 stage one: Doncaster to Selby (182.5km)

1. Jesper Asselman (Ned) Roompot-Charles, in 4-05-45

2. Filippo Fortin (Ita) Cofidis, Solutions Crédits

3. Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Vital-Concept-B&B Hotels

4. Boy van Poppel (Ned) Roompot-Charles

5. Gabriel Cullaigh (GBr) Wiggins-Le Col

6. Ethan Hayter (GBr) Great Britain

7. Cyril Barthe (Fra) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias

8. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data

9. Chris Lawless (GBr) Team Ineos

10. Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin, all at same time

General classification after stage one

1. Jesper Asselman (Ned) Roompot-Charles, in 4-05-34

2. Filippo Fortin (Ita) Cofidis, Solutions Crédits, at 5 seconds

3. Jacob Hennessy (GBr) Canyon dhb, at same time

4. Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Vital Concept-B&B Hotels, at 7s

5. Kevin Vermaerke (USA) Hagens Berman Axeon, at same time

6. Daniel Bigham (GBr) Ribble Pro Cycling, at 10s

7. Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Roompot-Charles, at 11s

8. Gabriel Cullaigh (GBr) Wiggins-Le Col

9. Ethan Hayter (GBr) Great Britain

10. Cyril Barthe (Fra) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias, all at same time

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.