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Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) proved untouchable at the opening stage of the Tour of Britain on Saturday.
The Dutchman beat Davide Cimolai (Israel Cycling Academy) and Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) to the line in Kirkudbright, Scotland, coming around Trentin with 100 meters to go and giving neither of his rivals the chance to come close with their sprints.
“It was perfect; we had no help today so we did it all as a team, said Groenewegen. “We rode very strongly to catch the breakaway and make it a sprint. I could take my own line; it was a very good lead-out. I was on the wheel of Trentin, and then I went full gas.”
The 201.5km stage was rolling all day, and included two mid-race category 2 climbs and a category 3 ascent in the final 20km.
A break of six riders went away early, and with 30km to go, only four remained, with Rory Townsend (Canyon-DHB), James Fouche (Team Wiggins), Jacob Scott (Swift Pro Cycling), and Dries de Bondt (Corendon-Circus). Having controlled the break all day with only some assistance from Katusha-Alpecin, Jumbo-Visma shut down the gap and with 5km to go, the race was all together.
As the race entered the closing kilometers in the town center, Mitchelton-Scott also came to the fore, looking to set up Trentin, with Team GB also in the mix, and Matthieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) surfing the trains of others.
Trentin attacked first in the finishing straight, with Groenewegen on his wheel. The Dutchman powered around Trentin and gained several bike lengths. Trentin and Cimolai countered, but were not able to come close to bridging the gap, as Groenewegen powered on to his 11th sprint win of the year.
Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) rolled in with the bunch having not contested the sprint.
Groenewegen’s win gives him the green leader’s jersey. Stage 2, Sunday, should give him another opportunity to sprint, with the rolling 166km stage finishing with a flat finale in Kelso.
Tour of Britain, Stage 1:
1: Dylan Groenewegen: 4:3949
2: David Cimolai: S.T
3: Matteo Trentin: S.T