Ewan takes open­ing stage as Froome main­tains La Vuelta lead

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - SPORT -

AUS­TRALIAN Caleb Ewan sprinted to vic­tory in a photo fin­ish on the open­ing stage of the Tour of Bri­tain.

The 23-year-old Orica-Scott rider edged out Di­men­sion Data’s Ed­vald Boas­son Ha­gen on the line, with Team Sky’s Elia Vi­viani in third in the 190-kilo­me­tre ride from Ed­in­burgh to Kelso.

Mark Cavendish, com­pet­ing for the first time since break­ing his shoul­der blade in July’s Tour de France, fin­ished seven and a half min­utes be­hind on the first day of the eight-stage race which fin­ishes in Cardiff next Sun­day.

Pol­ish rider Karol Do­ma­gal­ski was in the break­away group clear of the pelo­ton when he was knocked off his bike by a ri­val team car 38 miles into the race but was not se­ri­ously in­jured and re­cov­ered quickly to claim the sprint­ers’ jersey at the end of the stage.

To­day’s sec­ond day sees rid­ers tackle the long­est stage of the tour, 131 miles from from Kielder Water to Blyth.

Chris Froome ex­tended his over­all lead in La Vuelta af­ter Colom­bian rider Miguel An­gel Lopez won the moun­tain­ous 129-kilo­me­tre 15th stage from Al­cala la Real to Sierra Ne­vada.

Team Sky rider Froome, who is bid­ding to be­come only the third rider to win La Vuelta and the Tour de France in the same year, pro­duced a late surge to stretch his ad­van­tage over Vin­cenzo Nibali by six more sec­onds.

Froome now has a 61-sec­ond cush­ion over his Ital­ian ri­val. Lopez fin­ished the stage in three hours, 34 min­utes and 51 sec­onds, over­tak­ing Bri­ton Adam Yates on the fi­nal climb to reach the 2,510-me­tre sum­mit of Alto Hoya de la Mora first for his sec­ond win of the race.

Rus­sia’s Il­nur Zakarin came sec­ond, 36 sec­onds be­hind, with Dutch­man Wilco Kel­der­man third and Froome com­ing in fifth. Zakarin and Kel­der­man are third and fourth in the gen­eral classification but trail Froome by more than two min­utes.

Reign­ing cham­pion Billy Harding got his de­fence of the York­shire Cy­clo-Cross Points Se­ries off to an em­phatic start yes­ter­day, win­ning the open­ing round in em­phatic style.

The 21-year-old PH MASOld­field-Paul Milnes rider from Brad­ford crossed the line alone and 42 sec­onds ahead of his near­est ri­val at the end of a chal­leng­ing tech­ni­cal open­ing round held at Mid­dle­ton Bike Hub in Leeds.

Ju­nior rider Matt Tay­lor, the Shib­den CC rider who won the only round he rode last sea­son, was sec­ond and just inches ahead of long-time ri­val Jen­son Young (Old­field).

Rid­ers faced a chal­leng­ing hilly course which fea­tured sev­eral hur­dles and banked ar­eas on mainly grass­land, and it proved a fit­ting start to the win­ter se­ries.

In other cat­e­gories, Holm­firth­based GB ace Amira Mel­lor eas­ily won the women’s race from team-mate So­phie Thack­ray from Bin­g­ley, while Mad­die Smith (Bolsover & Dist CC).

For­mer na­tional cham­pion Chris Young (Old­field) came out on top in the over-45 veter­ans race.

He crossed the line six sec­onds ahead of Ste­fan Macina (Aure­lius Cy­cles), with Noel Clough (Fi­et­sen Tempo) third.

And in the youth race Leeds rider Joe Pid­cock – younger brother of World cy­clo-cross cham­pion Tom – took the win by 18 sec­onds from Old­field team­mate Max Poole, while third was Billy La­zonby (Pedal­sport CC), more than a minute fur­ther back.


SO TIGHT: Aus­tralia’s Caleb Ewan, left, wins the first stage of the Tour of Bri­tain from Nor­way’s Ed­vald Boas­son Ha­gen, Nor­way’s Alexan­der Kristoff and Italy’s Elia Vi­viani, right, in Kelso yes­ter­day.

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