Home hero Harry Tanfield sealed a surprise victory as the opening stage of the Tour de Yorkshire reached a rip-roaring conclusion in Doncaster.
The 23 year old from Great Ayton worked his way into the day’s main breakaway and then played a pivotal role as the escapees evaded the peloton on the 182km trek from Beverley.
With 300 metres to go Tanfield turned on the afterburners and edged past Alistair Slater (JLT Condor) to become the first-ever Yorkshireman to win a stage of the race.
Huge crowds turned out in Beverley to see the start of the fourth edition and clement conditions meant the county was at its magnificent best as the riders wound their way through the Yorkshire Wolds and then headed south towards Doncaster for that dramatic finish along Bennetthorpe.
Banners, bunting and a whole host of ingenious land art provided a brilliant backdrop as the riders sped across the largely flat parcours, and the 450,000 roadside spectators set a record figure for the first stage of the race.
The breakaway group containing Tanfield formed early in the stage and Michael Cuming (Madison Genesis) was the first rider over the Côte de Baggaby Hill to earn himself a spell in the best climber’s jersey sponsored by Virgin Trains.
Tanfield then passed Cuming on the descent which followed to take maximum points in the first intermediate sprint in Pocklington, while Slater took the next of those points in Howden.
With those in the bag the breakaway reformed and a live Twitter vote saw Tanfield awarded the most active jersey sponsored by Dimension Data before the escapees survived to battle it out for the victory.
Tanfield emerged triumphant and the bonus seconds awarded for that win meant he opened up a three-second advantage over Slater in the General Classification. The Canyon Eisberg rider will now wear the blue leader’s jersey sponsored by Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries for the second stage. He also tops the Best Sprinter Classification sponsored by Asda.
Earlier in the day, Wiggle High5 rider Kirsten Wild won the first stage of the Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race. That too, came down to a bunch sprint and Wild proved the fastest finisher, outpacing Amalie Dideriksen (Boels-Dolmans) and Alice Barnes (Canyon Sram Racing) to take control of the blue jersey. It was the second time in succession Wild had triumphed on Bennetthorpe following her Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race success in 2016.
More photos can be downloaded here: https://yorkshire.box.com/s/evtnmoysa21ppsytc1cl3hs7n47u1vfp
Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive Sir Gary Verity cut a proud figure watching Tanfield wrap up the biggest win of his career and said: “What a performance that was. Harry has beaten some of the biggest and best names in the sport today and this is going to be a victory he remembers for the rest of his life.
“This day will live long in my memory as well. Seeing the effort people went to to celebrate both the men’s and women’s races was quite phenomenal, and once again, Yorkshire has done itself proud.
“Our race is certainly coming of age this year. The glorious weather added to the spectacle and we were treated to two truly spectacular finishes in Doncaster.
“All eyes turn to tomorrow’s stages now and they promise to be equally dramatic. Barnsley is sure to provide another warm welcome, the Côte de Cow and Calf is our first-ever summit finish. The atmosphere on there is sure to be electric and we’re in for an epic stage.”
East Riding of Yorkshire Council Leader Stephen Parnaby OBE said: “Beverley looked amazing and it was brilliant to see the crowd. The town was busier than I have ever seen it.
“Having two stage starts was a real treat, particularly for the thousands of schoolchildren who turned out to see them.”
Doncaster Council Chief Executive Jo Miller added: “Doncaster smashed it today. Having the men’s and women’s stages finishing here meant the town was buzzing all day long and we’d like to make this a continual fixture.
“The size and number of the crowds was unbelievable too and there will be plenty of young people that have been inspired by these cyclists today.”
1. Harry Tanfield (GBR) Canyon Eisberg 4:08:12
2. Alistair Slater (GBR) JLT Condor
3. Michael Cuming (GBR) Madison Genesis
4. Emerson Oronte (USA) Rally Cycling
5. Thomas Baylis (GBR) One Pro Cycling
6. Max Walscheid (GER) Team Sunweb 0:00:05
7. Bryan Coquard (FRA) Vital Concept Club
8. Emils Liepins (LAT) One Pro Cycling
9. Colin Joyce (USA) Rally Cycling
10.Riccardo Minali (ITA) Astana Pro Team
General Classification after stage one
1. Harry Tanfield (GBR) Canyon Eisberg 4:07:58
2. Alistair Slater (GBR) JLT Condor +3 sec
3. Michael Cuming (GBR) Madison Genesis +10 sec
4. Emerson Oronte (USA) Rally Cycling +14 sec
5. Thomas Baylis (GBR) One Pro Cycling