A mechanical in the finale ruled day one winner Kaden Groves out of the reckoning as stage one of the Tour of Slovakia came down to a messy bunch sprint.
A breakaway group of eight escaped up the road early in the stage, with Team BikeExchange putting their Singaporean stagiaire Donaben Goh to work on the front of the peloton to keep the gap in check.
The remains of the breakaway were eventually reeled in after a series of turns on the front by Chris Juul-Jensen, and the fight for road position then followed as the bunch raced into Košice.
A dropped chain meant Groves found himself distanced from his teammates as the peloton raced underneath the flamme rouge, but a late charge saw him claw his way onto the wheel of Amund Grøndahl Jansen. However, the 22-year-old was unable to make it the sharp end as the sprint opened up, with Alvaro Hodeg taking the win to move into the overall race lead.
“It was pretty messy final because of the slightly smaller bunch, but it did mean it was easier to move around. I dropped my chain when moving up the side with about 1.5-2km to go which cost me quite a few positions.
I can be happy with my condition, and I’ve got to thank the guys for their commitment today. Tomorrow is another chance, likely a smaller bunch again with a short climb about 15kms from the line. It should suit myself well like today.”
2021 Tour of Slovakia Stage 1 – Results:
1. Alvaro Hodeg 3:34:38
2. Peter Sagan
3. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg
13. Kaden Groves (Team BikeExchange)
2021 Tour of Slovakia Stage 1 – GC:
1. Alvaro Hodeg 3:36:19
2. Peter Sagan +0:06
3. Eirik Lunder +0:08
4. Kaden Groves (Team BikeExchange) +0:09
Photo Courtesy of Jan Melicher.