Being Yorkshire born and bred, I may be slightly biased, but this is the most beautiful and definitely the best county in the UK… All four corners of the county will be putting on a show for the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire this weekend. We can look forward to some of the best British and international cycling talent taking to the roads over three challenging stages. Today the cycling kicked off with an outing from Bridlington to Scarborough.
The stage got underway in seaside town of Bridlington the route passed through spectacular coastal scenery and the iconic North York Moors landscapes with no less than five King of the Mountains (KoM) peaks and two sprint opportunities along the course.
The teams rode along the Flamborough Head Heritage Coast before turning away from the coast into the North York Moors National Park, through Dalby Forest hitting the first KoM of the day at the Cote de Dalby Forest and this first test seemed to take it’s toll on some of the riders. Sprinter Marcel Kittel became unhitched from the main peloton and found himself in a small group as he zipped up his top to descend the climb. His face said it all, but he wasn’t the only rider disliking the Yorkshire hills.
Team Sky were dominant from early on in the race after reeling in a breakaway that held a lead of 3 minutes. Sky controlled the peloton until they hit the recently drizzled roads of Egton and Grosmont. The Team Sky train appeared not to adjust their descending style to match the wet conditions and slid across the road at the start of the drop.
In doing so they took out a number of other teams riders behind them. Ben Swift of Team Sky went down heavily and subsequently had to retire from the race. The riding became a little more tentative as teams got themselves back on each others wheels. The lack of race radio did mean riders had to be more team aware, though none of the riders up front would have known of the retirements behind them. Team Sky were now down to 4 riders on the front of the peloton and less able to control the situation. One rider took advantage of the chaos at the front, on the penultimate slope of the day; the Cote de Briggswath, the Europcar rider Perrig Quemeneur went out on his own and made the most of it by mopping us some more sprint points.
The race took a spectacular journey back to the coast at Whitby. By the time they reached Robin Hood’s Bay Quemeneur had been caught and a sizeable group of around 15 riders including; Voeckler, Sanchez and two Team Sky riders. Steve Cummings got caught out by the break and furiously tried to get up to them to no avail. Over the crest of the Cote de Robin Hood’s Bay 15 had been whittled down to 5 riders with a lead of over 30 seconds, they had over a minute back to the peloton. The splinter group contained some dangerous riders; Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Samuel Sanchez (BMC Racing Team), Stephane Rossato (Cofidis Solutions Credits), Philip Diegnan & Lars-Petter Nordhaug (both Team Sky). Initially the two French riders (Voeckler and Rossato) seemed to work together to test and attempt to break the Sky riders.
The race ended in the ultimate sprint finish on the seafront at Scarborough, the five riders went down to the line with Team Sky using team tactics with a one-two attack. Rossetto showed he had more in the tank starting the sprint lead out, he was overtaken by Nordhaug with Voeckler on his tail. A thrilling end to what looks to be an unpredictable Tour.
Perrig Quemeneur took the Pink Climbers Jersey and the Grey Most Aggressive Rider which is voted for by the public via Twitter, unfortunately for Eddie Dunbar he won the vote but was caught up in the crash and had to retire. So the jersey passed to Quemeneur.
Results after Stage 1