Tour of Britain Stage 1 reaction: Greipel picks up for HTC-Columbia where Boasson Hagen left off

US ProTour outfit continues its excellent record at Britain's biggest pro race

by Simon_MacMichael   September 11, 2010  

Andre Greipel takes Stage 1 of the 2010 Tour of Britain (picture credit Tour of Britain)

André Greipel of HTC-Columbia is the leader of the Tour of Britain this evening after clinching Stage 1 in Blackpool, 12 months after one of the American ProTour team’s former rider, Edvald Boasson Hagen, clinched the overall win in the 2009 edition of the race.

The latter, winner of four stages 12 months ago, isn’t defending his title this year – he’s racing in Canada this weekend, where yesterday he finished second to Thomas Voeckler in the Grand Prix Cycliste De Québec – but the six Team Sky riders who are here, led by Bradley Wiggins worked hard all day to keep a three man breakaway in check to try and set up Greg Henderson for the sprint.

As it turned out, the New Zealander finished third behind Greipel and Manuel Belletti of Colnago-CSF Inox, with the Italian getting the chance to wear the blue points jersey tomorrow – Greipel, who tops the classification, will be in the overall leader’s yellow and white jersey, of course – while two of today’s breakaway riders, Richie Porte of Team Saxo Bank and Vacansoleil’s Wout Poels – will respectively don the sprints and mountains jerseys.

Today’s 133km stage began with a downpour in Rochdale – most of the riders donning rain jackets after the obligatory pre-race photo opp (below), the weather clearing on the way into Blackpool, with Porte and Poels, together with Endura’s Jack Bauer, getting away on the first categorised climb.

Greipel, who punctured 7km out and needed to be paced back quickly by his team mates to enable him to contest the sprint, said afterwards: “It’s always something special to win the first stage because you get the leader’s jersey as well. This was our main goal to win the stage and we achieved it.

The 28-year-old, who leaves HTC-Columbia at the end of the season to join Omega Pharma-Lotto, continued: “Of course the weather was not the best today, one time it was warm and another time it was cold, then raining, but I’m happy the sun came out for the finish, so a good day for us.”

The German remained non-committal on his chances of retaining the yellow jersey over the coming days, saying: “I think there are a couple of good teams here, so for sure they will want to drop me on the climbs, so maybe they do, or maybe they don’t!”

Porte, who won the best young rider’s jersey in May’s Giro d’Italia and also wore the race leader’s maglia rosa for three stages was happy with his day’s work. “I enjoyed it,” the Australian reflected. “If I want to ride classification it’s the only way I can do it, to go up the road and take some time. We had a nice group off the front and worked well together. To wear the jersey tomorrow is an honour.”

One of those contesting the sprint was another Australian, Rapha-Condro-Sharp’s Zak Depmpster, who came home in 11th place. “I’m feeling pretty good, I think today was a fairly easy stage because Sky controlled it well, I was in about tenth from 30km to go and that’s where you stay in that type of lead out,” he said afterwards. “I think positioning is key and if I can put myself in a better position then I’m going well enough to achieve a much better result than that.”

With bumpier terrain in prospect for the next three stages, Dempster acknowledges that it is some of his team mates that will play a more prominent role in the days ahead.“

Tomorrow’s going to be a completely different ‘bag of chips’ if you like, and I think it’s Darren [Lapthorne], Kristian [House] and Dan [Craven] who will come to the forefront depending on how it’s raced. If it’s raced hard then those guys will be right up there.”

Tomorrow’s Stage 2 starts and finishes in Stoke-on-Trent with some testing climbs in the Staffordshire countryside, including Ramshorn, Hollinsclough Moor and Gun Hill. The route is 160.8km, which in old money equates to 100 miles – one for each year since the city of Stoke-on-Trent was incorporated in 1910.

Full details of that and other stages can be found on the Tour of Britain’s website, and there will be a highlights programme on ITV4 at 7pm. 

   Tour of Britain Stage One Results 

1) André Greipel    HTC-Columbia         3:16:48
2) Manuel Belletti  Colnago-CSF Inox    same time
3) Greg Henderson   Team Sky                "

Honda Combativity Award Winner 

Richie Porte        Team Saxo Bank

General Classification standings  

1) André Greipel    HTC-Columbia         3:16:36
2) Manuel Belletti  Colnago-CSF Inox       @0:06
3) Greg Henderson   Team Sky               @0:08

The Prostate Cancer Charity Points Jersey standings

1) André Greipel    HTC-Columbia       15 points
2) Manuel Belletti  Colnago-CSF Inox   14 points
3) Greg Henderson   Team Sky           13 points

The King of the Mountains Jersey standings 

1) Wout Poels       Vacansoleil        16 points
2) Richie Porte     Team Saxo Bank     13 points
3) Jack Bauer       Endura Racing      10 points

The Sprints Jersey standings  

1) Richie Porte     Team Saxo Bank     10 points
2) Russ Downing     Team Sky            7 points
3) Wout Poels       Vacansoleil         6 points

2 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

anyone know why Jonny Bellis DNF? he was hoping to get through a few stages....

posted by Decster [246 posts]
12th September 2010 - 14:15

3 Likes

As far as we know, it was the pace being set that took its toll. Very early days in his recovery, three months ago I don't think anyone would have imagined him lining up at the start.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8246 posts]
12th September 2010 - 15:31

2 Likes