Home / Race Reports / Race Report | Tour de Yorkshire 2018 | Stage One | 'Magnificent seven finish fast-paced opening stage'
Race Report | Tour de Yorkshire 2018 | Stage One | 'Magnificent seven finish fast-paced opening stage'

Race Report | Tour de Yorkshire 2018 | Stage One | 'Magnificent seven finish fast-paced opening stage'

"We may not have won any jerseys, but today we worked as a team and gave our all."

A fast-paced opening stage of the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire placed the young riders of Vitus Pro Cycling Team immediately on their mettle. Grant Martin, who crossed the line in 36th place, was the first home of the men in red. 

Physically and mentally exhausted after perhaps the most challenging encounter of his young career, a stage held over an undulating 182km parcours from Beverley to Doncaster, the 19-year-old Scot found the strength to celebrate the efforts of his team-mates.  

Vitus Pro Cycling Team worked hard in their efforts to join a host of early moves, but were thwarted in their attempts by the strength of the opposition and a chaotic opening in which the controlled racing expected of the biggest teams in the race was notably absent. 

Instead, Cherie Pridham's team spent the majority of this demanding opening stage inside an international peloton that included BMC Racing, Team Sky, and Team Dimension Data, pursuing a five-man escape group that managed to hold off the combined might of such an illustrious chasing pack.

It was a day on which Vitus Pro Cycling Team, a development squad built around a core of young riders, experienced competition from professional cycling's top tier for the first time. It was a tough ask for them even to finish the first stage within the time cut, but it is a testament to their hard work, team ethic and their shared spirit that all seven riders will start tomorrow's second stage. 

Speaking at the finish line in Doncaster, Pridham said that her riders had given everything in pursuit of a place in a stage-defining breakaway led home by Harry Tanfield (Canyon Eisberg), and suggested that some might have suffered from first-day nerves.

"The main thing for me is that we got everybody home okay and we'll try again on stage two," she concluded.

Adam Kenway, the oldest rider on the team and a former national hill climb champion, described a "flat out" opening stage, in which riders were forced to use their biggest gear merely to hold station within a fast-moving peloton determined to shut down a flurry of early attacks. 

"I think I went with the first three or four moves, straight off the bumper, and then we were all getting involved. The WorldTour riders came to the front and shut it down. I tried to get across to a rider from Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij, and then BMC Racing hit across to us. That was the last throw of the dice before the break went."

Kenway said that even remaining within the peloton on such a "grippy" day was demanding.

"For most of the stage, the peloton was lined out, so we were working hard all day. The breakaway must have been working even harder. It was tough for everyone."

In defiance of expectation, the five-man escape group remained clear of a voracious peloton on the pan-flat run into Doncaster. 

Tanfield's victory made him the first rider from a British team registered in professional cycling's third tier to win a stage of the Tour de Yorkshire. 

The Yorkshireman, fresh from winning a silver medal in the men's time-trial at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, will wear the blue jersey of race leader on tomorrow's second stage.

Tanfield also leads the points classification, but Alistair Slater (JLT Condor) will wear the green jersey as the second-placed rider in the competition. 

Stage two promises to be one of the most demanding in the race. An undulating 149km run from Barnsley to Ilkley ends at the summit of the brutal Cow and Calf climb, and significant changes to the general classification are expected.

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