All images ©CyclingShorts.cc / Craig Zadoroznyj
Words by Anna Magrath
187km in length
Victory for the sprinters!
The unpredictable weather didn’t put a dampener on the first stage of the 2016 Tour de Yorkshire. The tough day culminated in a crowd pleasing sprint finish on the streets of Settle in glorious sunshine.
Olympian Rebecca Romero waved the riders off in Beverley town centre for the processional start, as the riders were finding their legs there was a pile up mid peloton, a Team Katusha rider face planting on a cattle grid with a tangle of riders on top of him, all but the the rider in red Sven Erik Bystrom made it back up.
The race proper got underway at Beverley Racecourse on the outskirts of the town. The attack came quickly, after his less than successful social media week Pete Kennaugh decided to redeem himself by taking it upon himself to push hard on the front for Team Sky to try to reel the six riders in (Pete Williams OneProCycling, Graham Briggs JLT Condor, Nils Pollit Katusha Cycling, Matt Cronshaw Madison Genesis, Jens Wallays Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise, Sebastian Mora Team Raleigh GAC) escaping down the road and taking a good 1 minute 30 seconds out of the peloton without too much effort. The bunch let them yo-yo for the majority of the race with the group taking a 5 minute lead. They mopped up the first sprint points and the Kom’s with Skipton rider Williams taking the King of the Mountain maximum points and Mora winning the sprint.
Pete Williams had no intention of giving up the fight and after being caught he still tried to fight back but to no avail.
The route took riders through the Wolds, snaking through a sea of yellow and blue decorations to Tadcaster and into the Yorkshire Dales for an exciting finish in Settle. Dylan Groenewegen of the Netherlands, riding with Lotto NL Jumbo, took the win.
Just like for the Tour de France in 2014 and the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire in 2015, Yorkshire truly embraced the spirit of cycling, with towns and villages decked out in banners, bunting and bikes with crowds roaring as the peloton whizzed past.
On their way the riders passed many of the amazing land art installations created by local communities with designs at the top of the Cote de Greenhow Hill and Kelfield.
Action started to hot up at 15km to go, as One Pro Cycling, Orica GreenEdge and Team Sky began to mobilise their sprint trains but not long after, two French riders attacked; Turgis and Voeckler made a perfectly timed break to escape from the bunch. Aided by a tailwind, the French held their gap before British rider Steve Cummings caught the pair, breaking away on his own at 3km to go attempting to time trial to the finish. Cummings extended his gap on the final run into Settle before sitting up and being swallowed by the pack.
From there the technical finish created a fast paced sprint, with Lotto NL Jumbo placing Groenewegen well for the win with Orica GreenEdge’s Caleb Ewan narrowly missing first.
Sir Gary Verity congratulated winner Dylan Groenewegen and praised the people of Yorkshire for their support for the race. He said: “Wow what a day for Yorkshire! The way that thousands of people came out to support the Tour de Yorkshire was just incredible. It is testament to true Yorkshire grit that the weather failed to dampen the spirits of the crowds with people of all ages – from school children to the elderly – cheering on the riders throughout the entire race. It was moving to see.
“The atmosphere at the start in Beverley was just electric and the excitement and energy continued throughout the communities lining the route all the way to the magnificent crowd at the finish in Settle. Yorkshire you should be proud! We promised to deliver a terrific event and the people of the county have helped us do just that. We can’t wait for another two days of exhilarating racing ahead”
Tomorrow’s stage marks an important landmark for women’s racing as world champion Lizzie Armitstead will line up on the start line in her home town for the Asda Women’s Tour de Yorkshire, alongside Great Britain teammate Emma Pooley, as well as Rio hopeful Dani King. One of the world’s top sprinters Kirsten Wild will also join a host of top flight international and domestic riders including our very own Team Jadan-Weldtite (Yorkshire based team) for the race which takes place over the exact same course as the men’s, is fully televised and at the time of racing has the largest prize pot in the world of any women’s race.
1 – Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
2 – Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
3 – Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin
4 – Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie
5 – Danny van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky
6 – Floris Gerts (Ned) BMC Racing Team
7 – Christopher Lawless (GBr) JLT Condor
8 – Karol Domagalski (Pol) ONE Pro Cycling
9 – Dion Smith (NZl) ONE Pro Cycling
10 – Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
For all race information, results & images visit www.letouryorkshire.com