Endura Racing’s Erick Rowsell claimed victory and the race leader’s yellow jersey in Sunday’s Tour DoonHame opener in Girvan.
Rowsell outsprinted Rapha-Condor-Sharp’s Richard Handley and Michael Northey (Node4-Giordana) after the trio escaped from a 13-man group who has been outfront since the opening five miles of racing.
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The win continues Endura’s incredible start to the year; as well as notching up victories abroad (including Rowsell’s victory in last month’s Tour de Normandie), they are undefeated in the Premier Calendar thus far.
He will now wear the maillot jaune going into this afternoon’s 16.5-mile criterium which uses the same roads as in the finale to the opening stage.
Speaking to Cycling Weekly, Rowsell said: “We’re in the habit of winning right now – every race we go to we’re getting results.
“It was hard all day being away in that move from pretty much the start. We had two others in there so we rode really well together to make the most of the advantage.
“I think this afternoon’s crit will be tough, but we’ve got the team to do it all over again,” he added.
All six UCI-registered teams were represented in the large breakaway who leapt out of the peloton shortly after leaving Castle Douglas. Rowsell was one of three Endura riders (Dean Windsor and Alex Wetterhall were present) in it, while Raleigh (Liam Holohan, Daniel Holloway and Jamie Sparling) also managed to get a trio in the front group. UK Youth had Yanto Barker and Christofer Stevenson in the move, while Handley was Rapha’s sole representative, just as Simon Richardson and George Moore were for IG-Sigma Sport and CyclePremier-Kovert respectively.
Rowsell was competitive throughout, taking the first sprint time bonus and third in the second. By the latter, the race had split completely.
Handley attacked on the second-category Tairlaw Summit, which broke the 13 down to seven, before they split to just three on the fast run-in to the finish in Victory Park.
Behind, a greatly-reduced peloton absorbed the other escapees, and came within a few seconds of also catching the leaders.
However, they were unsuccessful, which allowed Rowsell to sprint to a relatively comfortable victory.
Tour DoonHame 2012 stage one: Castle Douglas to Girvan, 80 miles
1. Erick Rowsell (Endura Racing) in 3-08-04
2. Richard Handley (Rapha-Condor-Sharp)
3. Mike Northey (Node4-Giordana) all at st.
4. Rico Rogers (Node4-Giordana) at 15 sec
5. Scott Thwaites (Endura Racing)
6. Ian Wilkinson (Endura Racing)
7. Chris Opie (UK Youth)
8. Marcel Six (Metaltek-Scott)
9. Jonny McEvoy (Endura Racing)
10. Ian Bibby (Endura Racing) all at st.
General classification after stage one
1. Erick Rowsell (Endura Racing)in 3-08-00
2. Mike Northey (Node 4-Giordana) at 7 sec
3. Richard Handley (Rapha-Condor-Sharp) at 8 sec
4. Alex Wetterhall (Endura Racing) at 26 sec
5. Rico Rogers (Node 4-Giordana) at 29 sec
6. Scott Thwaites (Endura Racing)
7. Ian Wilkinson (Endura Racing)
8. Chris Opie (UK Youth)
9. Marcel Six (Metaltek-Scott)
10. Jonny McEvoy (Endura Racing)
J&B Print Ltd King of the Mountains Classification
1. Alex Wetterhall (Endura Racing)
Endura Hot Spot Sprints Classification
1. Erick Rowsell (Endura Racing)
The main field just before the breakaway group escaped
The 13-man lead group
Rowsell wins stage one