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Team Sky's Nordhaug wins tumultuous Tour de Yorkshire opening stage

Team Sky's Nordhaug wins tumultuous Tour de Yorkshire opening stage

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Norwegian Lars Petter Nordhaug took victory on an exciting and unpredictable stage one of the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire on Friday.

The Team Sky rider took the win from an elite selection of riders who broke away over the top of the final categorised climb of the day in Robin Hood’s Bay.

The cat and mouse began for Nordhaug, Samuel Sanchez (BMC), Philip Deignan (Team Sky), Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) and Stephane Rosetto (Cofidis) as the race entered Scarborough but Team Sky made their numerical advantage pay with a textbook tactical performance.

The 174-kilometres from Bridlington to Scarborough showed little respect for reputation and pre-race punditry, with Marcel Kittel bowing out early on and British favourite Ben Swift abandoning after a crash near Grosmont.

Kittel, who wanted to use the British event to reboot his career following early season illness, was distanced after a hard attack at the front by Team Sky on the Cote du Rosedale, the German abandoning shortly after.

Later Swift crashed and abandoned on a greasy descent shortly before the race passed through Grosmont, on a corner that took out a number of the group chasing an earlier break.

Team Sky later confirmed that the rider had suffered no broken bones in the fall and a disappointed Swift later told the team's website:

"I’m devastated that I’ve had to withdraw from the race. I fell heavily on my shoulder and knew straight away that I couldn’t continue. Thankfully nothing is broken so hopefully it won’t keep me off the bike for long.

"Congratulations to Lars Petter and the team on the great win. The Yorkshire crowd were absolutely brilliant today and really spurred us on, so a big thank you to everyone who cheered us on"

The race’s youngest man, Ireland’s Eddie Dunbar (NFTO) also sadly abandoned with a suspected broken collarbone after being involved in an early five-man break.

Great Britain Cycling Team’s Scott Davies produced an excellent ride, the Olympic Academy Programme rider part of a select group of around dozen who broke clear prior to Robin Hood’s Bay.

Nineteen-year-old Davies was in illustrious company as he crossed the line with MTN-Quebeka’s Steve Cummings, finishing in 14th place, one minute and 13 seconds down on the winner, despite an earlier crash.

After the race Davies said: "I didn't really expect to be in that position. I've been ill the last week or so, so that was a nice confidence booster.

"I'd come into this not knowing where I stand in terms of form but that was a nice little surprise so it was a good day out."

"It was just up and down all day, and once we hit those lanes, unless you were at the front, I imagine it would be quite hard graft at the back. The third stage is going to be the real tough one, so I’ll save as as much energy as I can for that."

In his first race in Team Wiggins colours, Sir Bradley Wiggins had a subdued day, finishing 96th, 14 minutes and 52 seconds down.

Erick Rowsell (Madison Genesis) was highest placed British rider in eighth, one minute and ten seconds behind overall leader Nordhaug.

The Norwegian also took the green jersey on 15 points ahead of Voeckler on 12, while earlier escapee Perrig Quemeneur (Europcar) took the climber's jersey, Britain's Thomas Stewart an excellent third in a great day for Madison Genesis.

The race continues tomorrow with 174 kilometres in the Yorkshire Wolds from Selby to York.

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