Tour of Britain Stage 1: Mark Cavendish takes the sprint in Dumfries

HTC-Highroad sprinter back in race leader's jersey on his home tour

by Simon_MacMichael   September 11, 2011  

Tour of Britain 2011 logo.jpg

Mark Cavendish, who a fortnight today will be aiming to win the world champion's rainbow jersey in Copenhagen, has got his final preparations off to an ideal start by winning the opening stage of the 2011 Tour of Britain in a sprint finish in Dumfires. The win puts the HTC-Highroad sprinter, who won the Prologue and Stage 1 in his last participation in the race in 2007, into the race leader's gold jersey, sponsored by IG Markets.

 

Cavendish, yet to confirm the team he will ride for during 2012 but strongly linked with a move to Team Sky, was followed over the line by his leadout man, Mark Renshaw, who is heading to Rabobank next season. The Dutch team provided the man who took third place today, Theo Bos.

Around 10 kilometres from the end of what had been a wet and windswept stage in the Scottish Borders, Russell Hampton of Sigma Sport and Peter Gyhllebert from the An Post, who had got into a break almost the moment the flag dropped in Peebles this morning to signal the start of racing, were swept up ahead of the bunch finish.

The white jerseys of HTC-Highroad’s leadout train, so prominent in the latter part of sprint stages these past few years but set to disappear from the peloton at the end of the season, were to the fore as the team set up Cavendish for the win as the team continued its stunning form in the race, which has seen Michael Albasini and Edvald Boasson Hagen take the overall in the past two years.

Afterwards, the 26-year-old from the Isle of Man said: “It’s incredible to win the first stage and get the leader’s jersey. If the weather had been better we would have been a bit quicker but I think it would still have been the same result.

“Hopefully it will be a sprint again tomorrow,” he continued. “I am going to try and defend the jersey and try and get another stage win.

The weather didn’t deter big crodws from turning out to cheer on the riders, however, and their presence was appreciated by the stage winner.

“We had wicked support today,” he reflected. “The amount of cheers and banners along the stage was brilliant. Super encouraging. You wouldn’t expect this is Britain and it’s very different to when I last raced here in 2007. It’s very nice. This event is certainly growing.”

While the two men who had spent most of the day at the front of the race were to be denied contesting the final victory, each got the reward of being called up to the podium to be presented with the jerseys they will wear tomorrow; Hampton is the first rider to top the mountains classification in this year’s race and also picking up the combativity prize, while Gyhllebert leads the sprints competition.

Following the stage, Hampton said: “That was really hard today. Most of the day was a headwind and a very big one at that so with only two men it was a hard day out. It was worth it in the end, really big for our team and the icing on the cake was to come away with a jersey.”

He added that it was “really good” to get the combativity award, which he said proved that “all that hard work pays off,” concluding, “I just hope that I can carry on for the rest of the week now.”

Leopard Trek’s Jens Voigt, meanwhile, yesterday confirmed as having signed a one-year extension to his contract with the team, which will race next season as RadioShack-Nissan-Trek, was taken to hospital with a suspected broken finger and will take no further part in the race.

The Tour of Britain Stage One Preliminary Results, Peebles to Dumfries, 170.3km 
1) Mark Cavendish (GB, HTC - Highroad) 4hrs 41mins 06
2) Mark Renshaw (Aus, HTC - Highroad) All at same time
3) Theo Bos (Ned, Rabobank)
4) Barry Markus (Ned, Vacansoleil DCM)
5) Geraint Thomas (GB, Sky Procycling)
6) Robert Forster (Ger, UnitedHealthcare)
7) Ben Swift (GB, Sky Procycling)
8) Lars Boom (Ned, Rabobank)
9) Roger Hammond (GB, Garmin Cervelo)
10) Ian Wilkinson (GB, Endura Racing)

Combativity Award: Russell Hampton (GB, Sigma Sport - Specialized)
 Overall General Classification, after Stage One 
1) Mark Cavendish (GB, HTC - Highroad) 4hrs 40mins 56

The Prostate Cancer Charity Points Classification, after Stage One 
1) Mark Cavendish (GB, HTC - Highroad) 15pts
2) Mark Renshaw (Aus, HTC - Highroad) 14pts
3) Theo Bos (Ned, Rabobank) 13pts
4) Barry Markus (Ned, Vacansoleil DCM) 12pts
5) Geraint Thomas (GB, Sky Procycling) 11pts
6) Robert Forster (Ger, UnitedHealthcare) 10pts
7) Ben Swift (GB, Sky Procycling) 09pts
8) Lars Boom (Ned, Rabobank) 08pts
9) Roger Hammond (GB, Garmin Cervelo) 07pts
10) Ian Wilkinson (GB, Endura Racing) 06pts

Skoda King of the Mountains Classification, after Stage One 
1) Russell Hampton (GB, Sigma Sport - Specialized) 12pts
2) Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel, AN Post) 9pts
3) Alex Ramussen (Den, HTC - Highroad) 2pts
= Alex Dowsett (GB, Team Sky) 2pts
= Steve Cummings (GB, Team Sky) 2pts

Yodel Sprints Classification, after Stage One 
1) Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel, AN Post) 15pts
2) Russell Hampton (GB, Sigma Sport - Specialized) 9pts
3) Lars Boom (Ned, Rabobank) 3pts
= Mathew Hayman (Aus, Sky Procycling) 3pts
5) Peter Williams (GB, Motorpoint) 2pts

UNISON Best Young Rider, after Stage One 
1) Barry Markus (Ned, Vacansoleil DCM)

12 user comments

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Angry Masive admiration for all the guys who raced in such horrible conditions and great to see Cav take the win on home soil. However I have to give a big thumbs down to the race organisers who with a few minutes to go until the final sprint allowed a large crowd of press hangers-on to stand right in front of the crowd who had been freezing in the rain for hours to get a good view of the finish. This was doubly annoying because the spectators were only on one side of the course beyond the finish line and the press could easily have stood on the other side and not got in anybody's way!! Grrrr. Sorry - rant over. Feel a lot better now!

posted by Steve Jeffrey [3 posts]
11th September 2011 - 17:50

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The ToB is a shambles in the way its run every year though to be brutally honest, the people i feel for more than the sprinters are ALL the teams bar HTC, after Cav was supposed to be in La Vuelta, dropped out and then the UCI pandered to him, now no other team has a chance and its ruined it for the rest and spectators in my opinion

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posted by Gkam84 [8198 posts]
11th September 2011 - 18:28

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Not sure that many spectators would agree that Cav being in the race has

Gkam84 wrote:
ruined it for the rest and spectators in my opinion

I realise its not good form to enter a tour (Vuelta) with no intention of finishing but with cycling in the UK needing as much support as possible I think it would have been in no ones interest to stop him riding the ToB.

Even most of the other cyclists would probably welcome the chance to race against him (so long as he doesn't cause a crash!).

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posted by TheHatter [808 posts]
11th September 2011 - 18:53

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I'm not sure Cav planned to race the whole 3 weeks of the Vuelta, but he certainly wouldn't have entered it with a view to disappearing after 4 days and then pitching up at the TOB. He was by no means the only rider struggling with the heat out there.

With due respect to some great riders who have won stages of the Tour of Britain over the past few years, he's pretty much the biggest name in the sport right now and his presence (and that of others such as Thor) at the TOB can only be a good thing, I reckon - that, and the fact he gets prep for the Worlds.

Is it a foregone conclusion he'll win the race? Not with that time trial on the last day, I reckon...

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7517 posts]
11th September 2011 - 20:07

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Is it only the TOB that has a route where cars are parked on the road, huge potholes & cowshit spread over it Sick

I'm always in two minds
Then I go and pick the wrong one Sad

posted by fluffchucker [282 posts]
11th September 2011 - 20:08

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TheHatter wrote:

but with cycling in the UK needing as much support as possible I think it would have been in no ones interest to stop him riding the ToB.

I HAVE to disagree with that, have you seen the numbers turning out to Sky Rides and like the all year, big numbers and i'm sick of hearing how British cycling needs support, NO the government needs a kick up the arse and sort out roads and cycle routes

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posted by Gkam84 [8198 posts]
11th September 2011 - 20:14

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Gkam my point about Cav is that while cycling numbers may be up if you look at club membership, for example, for every 100 riders you'll be able to count the number of riders under 21 on one hand.

Cav is the kind of rider that can change that and make cycling, both the activity and the sport, far more popular.

That's the kind of 'support' I meant.

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posted by TheHatter [808 posts]
11th September 2011 - 21:52

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Yeah thats a fair point i suppose, i'm not part of a club, so don't know the stats, but overall i thought the up and coming youngsters seemed to be rising with number of youth events and other youth based schemes on the rise aswell

But i do agree, they need someone to look upto aswell, but i'd much rather see someone else being the figure, like Wiggo or Froome after their Vuelta's, As much as i like Cav, i dont see him as a role model to the young generation, that might change if he does sign with Sky though because they seem to encourage their riders to do more "community" based things Thinking

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posted by Gkam84 [8198 posts]
12th September 2011 - 0:06

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Forget Cav, there was an impostor in the race, the real Jens Voigt would have said "shut up finger" and kept riding!

Shut up legs

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posted by slow-cyclo [74 posts]
12th September 2011 - 10:36

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Gkam84 wrote:
The ToB is a shambles in the way its run every year though to be brutally honest, the people i feel for more than the sprinters are ALL the teams bar HTC, after Cav was supposed to be in La Vuelta, dropped out and then the UCI pandered to him, now no other team has a chance and its ruined it for the rest and spectators in my opinion

I though all you had to do was disrupt his train? Also this has nothing to do with the UCI, whether or not he could start was down to the Vuelta organisers.

As to getting kids into the sport he's the fastest man on two wheels, shagging a page 3 girl and uses Twitter. They'll love him.

posted by Swirly [61 posts]
12th September 2011 - 10:48

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Very true Swirly, he is loved for the girl and twitter, i like him for that aswell

BUT i dont think it was down to Vuelta, he had to apply to the UCI for special dispensation to ride the ToB as he was registered in La Vuelta

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posted by Gkam84 [8198 posts]
12th September 2011 - 14:25

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Both the Vuelta organisers (ASO) AND the UCI had to agree to Cav riding the ToB.

I kind of agree about Jens - the magic seems to be going from the immortal hardman.

Stewie

posted by stewieatb [298 posts]
12th September 2011 - 14:35

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