Rowe and Christian second and third in Tour of Normandy opener

Academy riders Luke Rowe and Mark Christian placed second and third in the Tour of Normandy prologue around Mondeville on Monday afternoon.

The pair were beaten by Swede Tobias Ludvigsson, who was half a second quicker than Rowe over the 4.8km course.

Christian will wear the King of the Mountains jersey in the first road stage, by dint of being the fastest to the intermediate checkpoint yesterday. Moreover, with Erick Rowsell placing fifteenth, Great Britain finished the day as leading team.

With Endura and Rapha-Condor-Sharp in attendance, there’s other home interest too. New Zealander Jack Bauer finished eighth, five seconds down on the winner, while former national champion Kristian House was the men in black’s fastest rider.

The seven-day Tour of Normandy is a long-running French stage race with a reputation for tough racing.

Seen as a stepping stone for future stars, past winners include Viatcheslav Ekimov, Stephane Heulot, Thor Hushovd and Martijn Maaskant.  It’s also seen one British champion: Paul Curran, in 1985.

The race continues today with a 196km stage from Colombelles to Forges-les-Eaux.

Tour of Normandy, prologue: Mondeville, 4.8km
1. Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Team CykelCity 6-05
2. Luke Rowe (GBr) Great Britain
3. Mark Christian (GBr) Great Britain at 2secs
4. Sander Oostlander (Ned) Cycling Team De Rijke at 3secs
5. Johan Le Bon (Fra) Bretagne-Schuller
8. Jack Bauer (Nzl) Endura Racing at 5secs
15. Erick Rowsell (GBr) Great Britain at 7secs
34. Andy Fenn (GBr) Great Britain at 13secs
47. Kristian House (GBr) Rapha-Condor-Sharp at 17secs
48. Jon Tiernan-Locke (GBr) Rapha-Condor-Sharp
49. Zak Dempster (GBr) Rapha-Condor-Sharp
52. Jon Mould (GBr) Great Britain