Tour of Britain: Rapha Condor Sharp report

Stage one of the Tour of Britain got off to a cold and subdued start for Rapha Condor Sharp as well as the majority of the peloton as they stayed tightly packed together into a strong headwind throughout the day, before Mark Cavendish took another impressive sprint victory into Dumfries.

>>> Results from stage 1

As was widely predicted before the start, the race was animated by a long (and ultimately) doomed breakaway. Russell Hampton of Sigma Sport and Peter Gyhllebert of the An Post team took flight from the peloton as soon as the flag was dropped and had built up a one minute lead as early as the first hot spot sprint only seven kilometres into the race.

The gap rapidly increased for the two riders as the disinterested peloton let them build up a six-minute advantage. Although the potential of a move like this was apparent to all this morning, team manager John Herety had made it clear in the team meeting that this was not something the Rapha Condor Sharp riders should be interested in, considering the quality of the teams who would inevitably bring the race together for a sprint.

John Herety commented “We want to race this event for results, it is always nice to be in a few long breaks for the riders and the fans, but we have too much talent here to be worrying about suicide moves for now. We knew that there were strong sprinters teams who would be making sure they got their men to the line today, so we raced accordingly. The guys were all comfortable in the bunch, and moral was good despite the tough conditions today. We tried to get involved at the finish, but we don’t often have to attempt this at this level, so our inexperience showed a bit, however, overall we are very much where we need to be at this stage of the race”.

The riders themselves were content with a day without mishap; Zak Dempster and Andy Tennant were the teams top finishers, arriving inside the top twenty amongst some distinguished World Tour talent.

A soaking wet Dempster explained at the finish “It was a pretty monotonous day. Once that break went we knew what the outcome would be, but there was always the risk that we could hit crosswinds so we had to be alert, and stay together. It’s hard on those days because it’s not like your just sitting back cruising around. We rode well all day, but at the finish Andy and I just lost each other a little bit for the lead out. It’s good to get the first day out the way though, first day of a tour is always nervous. I’m really looking forward to the more selective stages now”.

The breakaway did succeed in lapping up all the available K.O.M and sprint points on the road: the standard bounty of the stage one breakaway. The two riders put up an admirable resistance to the speeding bunch, only being reeled in inside the final 6km after a day of fighting through foul conditions.

The strong winds had little effect on today’s stage, due in part to a majority of the stage being run off into a strong headwind, however severe weather warnings have been predicted for tomorrow’s stage, and we could yet see the bunch severely broken up on the exposed run in to Blackpool.

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