Dylan Groenewegen will wear the yellow jersey after the first stage of the Tour de Yorkshire, beating pre-race favourite Caleb Ewan and the rest of the peloton in a sprint finish on Friday.
The peloton approached the finished in Settle with fewer riders than expected after a series of climbs in difficult conditions, and with Ewan not able to find position, Groenewegen of Team LottoNl-Jumbo raced over the line.
Nikias Arndt worked hard to make the podium as the third placed rider, while after working all race to control the podium Team Sky’s highest finisher was Danny van Poppel in fifth.
The highest British finisher was Chris Lawless (JLT Condor) who fought hard to finish seventh, but the stand out British performance was by ONE Pro Cycling’s Pete Williams who won the King of the Mountains climb.
As expected the stage finished with a bunch sprint, however Steve Cummings did attempt to win the race from further out but was reeled in before the final kilometre.
The first stage of the second ever Tour de Yorkshire followed a route from Beverley in East Yorkshire across to Settle in North Yorkshire, a total of 184km.
“It is a very nice race with good people and there are beautiful views, it is my third stage win with the team so we did a good job - stage one winner Groenewegen
Six riders made an early break - Williams, Jens Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Sebastian Mora (Raleigh GAC), Nils Politt (Katusha) and Brits Graham Briggs (JLT Condor) and Matt Cronshaw (Madison Genesis). That bunch contested the first intermediate sprint, and it was won by Mora with Briggs finishing second to also claim a bonus.
The group was reduced to just Williams, Wallays and Politt for Greenhow Hill with the King of the Mountains jersey on offer for the leader at the top of the climb. The three riders played an exciting game of cat and mouse before Williams, who won the KoM and sprint jerseys at the Tour of Britain last year, came out on top.
Within the first 300 metres of the race there was a nasty crash on a cattle grid that hampered a number of riders, most notably Sven Erik Bystrøm (Team Katusha) who was forced to drop out of the race. Bradley Wiggins was also affected, and despite quickly making his way back to the peloton he dropped out of the race with 30km to go.
After the race, winner Groenewegen said: “It was a very good attack from Steve Cummings but my team worked hard to bring him back, and I took the lead in the last corner which was perfect. To hold on to the finish makes me very happy both for myself and the team.
“It is a very nice race with good people and there are beautiful views, it is my third stage win with the team so we did a good job.
“I think it is unlikely a sprinter will win the race overall, but I will hope to compete tomorrow and Sunday is for supporting Steve Kruijswijk.”