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Strong start for OBE with Ewan second on the opening stage of the Tour of Britain

Sun 4 Sep 2016

Cyclassics Hamburg winner Caleb Ewan produced a powerful sprint today to finish second in the opening stage of the Tour of Britain.

The 22-year-old battled for the victory after positioning himself well in the final kilometres thanks to the work of his ORICA-BIkeExchange teammates.

After a tight left hand corner in the final 500metres, Ewan opened up his sprint, powering into a respectable second place with Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) claiming the stage victory.

Ewan's result on day one, from a star studded field of sprinters, gives the team and sport director Matt Wilson confidence in his form and potential for the stages to come.

“We are very happy with the result today,” explained Wilson. “It’s very much a who’s who of bunch sprinters here at this race so it is a great result to kick things off.” 

“The guys did a good lead out today so to come away with second place is a good sign of Ewan’s form.”

The 161kilometre opening stage finished with a bunch sprint as predicted and with more potential sprint finishes to come the team is very much aiming to move up one step on the podium.

“There are five or six stages that could be potential bunch sprint finishes,” continued Wilson. “So it is looking good for us and it would be great to come away with a stage win here at this race.”

How it happened:

Riders were welcomed to the start line in Glasgow ahead of the opening stage of the Tour of Britain. With the absence of rain teams rolled off and within the first 10kilometres of the stage, five riders quickly jumped clear of the peloton and opened up a significant advantage. 

The escapees, Jonathan McEvoy (NFTO), Tom Moses (JLT- Condor), Pete Williams (ONE ProCycling), Emeil Wasten (An-Post) and Jasper Bovenhuis (An-Post) worked well together to opened up a gap of three minutes and 45 seconds after just 15kilometres of racing.

Rain began to fall as the peloton weaved its way through the country roads and over the King of the Mountain primes.

As the kilometres ticked down ORICA-BikeExchange sent Amets Txurruka to the head of the peloton to contribute to the chase and gradually reel in the leaders.

Almost one rider from each big team worked on the front of the peloton, slowly closing in on the five escapees. As the race entered the final 15kilometres their advantage plummeted down to just 30seconds with the peloton biding their time to catch them just in time for a bunch finish.

The main sprinter's teams aligned at the head of the peloton with ORICA-BikeExchange tucked in the wheels looking for the right moment to begin their lead-out. 

Luke Mezgec, the final lead-out man, dropped Ewan off on to the wheel of Greipel inside the final 300metres. Ewan launched out of the last corner and opened up his sprint to challenge for the victory, but in the end Greipel proved to be the fastest on the day to claim the first victory of the tour. 

Tomorrow’s stage features over 3000metres of climbing within the 188kilometre stage from Carlisle to Kendal. 

Tour of Britain stage 1 results:

1. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) 3:52:40
2. Caleb Ewan (ORICA-BikeExchange) ST
3. Ramon Sinkeldam (Team Giant-Alpecin) ST

General classification after stage 1:

1. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) 3:52:30
2. Jasper Bovenhuis (An-Post) +0:01
3. Caleb Ewan (ORICA-BikeExchange) +0:04

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