Team Sky’s Lars Petter Nordhaug of Norway won the opening stage of the three-day Tour de Yorkshire in a sprint finish on Scarborough seafront.
Nordhaug, got the better of Thomas Voeckler at the end of the 174km stage from Bridlington to win in 4 hours 22 minutes 38 seconds.
The 2012 Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins, competing for Team Wiggins ended the first stage in 96th position. On a tough, windy opening day, there were a number of high-profile casualties
Sprinter Marcel Kittel of the Giant-Alpecin team, who won the opening stage of last year’s Tour De France in Harrogate, was the first to abandon the event as the German rider failed to complete his first race on his return from a virus.
Team Sky leader Ben Swift, was among a group of riders who crashed on a slippery descent 50km from the finish which ended the Yorkshireman’s race.
NFTO’s Irishman Eddie Dunbar, at 18 the youngest rider in the field, also pulled out after the crash with a suspected broken clavicle, as Frenchman Perrig Quemeneur of the Europcar team was left out in front.
His lead was gradually whittled away by a chasing pack of five and they stayed clear until the finish with Stephane Rossetto of Cofidis, Samuel Sanchez of BMC and Sky’s Philip Deignan taking third fourth and fifth.
Nordhaug will start day two with a four-second lead over Team Europcar’s Voeckler and a six-second advantage over Rossetto thanks to the award of 10 bonus seconds for winning the stage.
Wiggins appeared to ride somewhat conservatively with his attempt at the World Hour Record scheduled for June.
Stage One Standings
1. Lars Petter Nordhaug (Norway/Team Sky)
2. Thomas Voeckler (France/Europcar)
3. Stephane Rossetto (France/Cofidis)
4. Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spain/BMC Racing)
5. Philip Deignan (Ireland/Team Sky)
6. Anthony Turgis (France/Cofidis)
7. Greg Van Avermaet (Belguim/BMC Racing)
8. Erick Rowsell (GB/ Madison Genesis)
9. Richard Handley (GB/JLT Condor)
10. Huub Duyn (Holland/Team Roompot)