By Josh Kerr
Dylan Groenewegen took the opening stage of the Tour of Britain 2019 after a sprint to the finish in Kirkcudbright.
The Jumbo-Visma rider beat Davide Cimolai (Israel Cycling Academy) and Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) to claim victory over the 201.5km route from Glasgow.
With just 7km to go the peloton caught a breakaway group which included Jacob Scott (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling), Dries De Bondt (Corendon – Circus) and Rory Townsend (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes).
It was a controlled ride throughout from Team Jumbo-Visma who dictated the pace of the pack and never let the leaders put much more than two minutes on them.
As push came to shove Mitchelton-Scott offered the most fight, but Groenewegen had plenty in reserve to ensure he would be in the green jersey for stage two.
How it happened
Rory Townsend (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes) was the first to show attacking intent after the tour rode out of George Square with a loop through the centre of Glasgow.
The enthusiasm shown by Townsend as the peloton made its way out of the city was a repeat of his performance in the opening stage of last year’s race.
He was soon joined by fellow Irishman Conor Dunne (Israel Cycling Academy) in a five strong lead group, along with former stage winner Gediminas Bagdonas (AG2R La Mondiale), Dries De Bondt (Corendon – Circus) and James Fouché (Wiggins - Le Col).
That breakaway became six after a well-timed move by SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling’s Jacob Scott and the distance back to the pack peaked at just over two minutes by 35km.
Riding through the Scottish countryside, which was basking in early autumnal sunshine, the leaders saw their advantage cut by half a minute as they reached Kilmarnock and the first intermediate sprint, which was won by De Bondt.
Conor Dunne then dropped out of the lead group after being called back into the pack by his sports director just prior to the 50km mark and it was around that point the distance to the peloton, headed by Jumbo-Visma almost throughout, stabilised at around 1-15.
As the riders got into the meat of the stage Jacob Scott took back to back King of the Mountain points on Lambdoughty Hill and then Dalmellington, both category two climbs.
Either side of the second climb it was Rory Townsend’s turn to pick up points as he twice held off Gediminas Bagdonas in the intermediate sprints and following those two near-misses the Lithuanian rider eased off and returned to the peloton.
Into the final quarter, and having kept the now depleted breakaway on a short leash, the chasing pack began to reel them in ahead of the big sprint finale.
Jacob Scott completed a sweep of the KOM points up Bankhead, but he and De Bondt were caught with 7km to go until the finish.
As the real business started, Mitchelton-Scott’s reinforcements looked to go toe-to-toe with Team Jumbo-Visma as they fought their way through the winding streets of Kirkcudbright, but as the route cleared for Dylan Groenewegen he didn’t look back and powered to victory.
On Sunday the Tour of Britain will move to the Scottish borders route, a 165.9km round trip starting and finishing on the cobbled streets of Kelso.
Tour of Britain 2019, stage one: Glasgow to Kirkcudbright (201.5km)
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 4-39-49
2. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy
3. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
4. Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) Corendon Circus
5. Ben Swift (GBr) Team INEOS
6. Boris Vallée (Bel) Wanty – Gobert
7. Trond Trondsen (Nor) Wanty - Gobert
8. Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9. Matthew Bostock (GBr) Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes
10. Sacha Modolo (Ita) EF Education First, all same time
30. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Dimension Data
General classification after stage one
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 4-39-39
2. Rory Townsend (Ire) Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes, at 3 secs
3. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy, at 4 secs
4. Gediminas Bagdonas (Lth) AG2R La Mondiale
5. Dries De Bondt (Bel) Corendon – Circus, at 5 secs
6. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott, at 6 secs
7. Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) Corendon – Circus, at 10 secs
8. Ben Swift (GBr) Team INEOS
9. Boris Vallée (Bel) Wanty - Gobert Cycling Team
10. Trond Trondsen (Nor) Wanty - Gobert Cycling Team, all same time
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