LONDON, Sept 15, 2013 (AFP) – Italy’s Elia Viviani won the first stage of
the Tour of Britain on Sunday as Mark Cavendish missed the chance to take the
Omega Pharma Quick-Step rider Cavendish had the platform laid for him by
his team-mates on the first ride from Peebles to Drumlanrig Castle, but he was
boxed in and slipped off team-mate Alessandro Petacchi who went it alone to
follow Viviani across the line.
Sojasun’s Anthony Delapace had looked to go it alone with a breakaway with
just over 40 of the 209.9 kilometer stage left but he was pulled back and
Viviani took it.
Former Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins is likely to feel satisfied
after crossing nine seconds off the pace for Team Sky.
In fact, surviving a crash 200 meters from the end may well have been of
greater pleasure to Wiggins, with the rest of his team-mates just a second
behind him in the peloton.
Cavendish was grouped in with the rest come the end, with Viviani timed as
being four seconds quicker than Petacchi.
Monday’s second stage takes the riders around the Lake District as they
start in Carlisle and finish in Kendal.
Wiggins’ team-mate Ian Stannard admitted there had been a conscious effort
to keep the Olympic gold medalist out of trouble.
“It was a long old day today and the conditions meant it was pretty hard
work as well,” Stannard told Team Sky’s official website.
“For us it was all about protecting Bradley, especially on that tight
finishing circuit. Bernie (Eisel) deserves a mention because he controlled the
pace for most of the day before (Mat) Hayman took over at the end.
“All in all I think we did a really good job and it was nice to see Brad
pick up a bonus second as well.”