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Tour of Britain 2018: Stage 1


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 Hello and welcome to stage one of the 2018 Tour of Britain. The first stage runs 174.8km through South Wales from the grand depart in Pembrey County Park to Newport. With a lumpy profile including a second category hill in the final 10km it could be a day from the break, a late attack, or a reduced sprint.

Team Sky start the race with the starriest lineup of all, boasting four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome and reigning Tour champion Geraint Thomas. It's the first time Froome has raced here in 9 years, while Thomas returns after finishing seventh last year. Read what they had to say at the pre-race press conference here.


And they're off! With Team Sky leading the peloton in the neutralised zone.



175km remaining from 175km

The attacks begin as soon at the peloton leave the neutralised zone, with Jon Mould (JLT-Condor) the first to have a go.

170km remaining from 175km

As expected, many of the British domestic teams have sent riders up the road. Pretty quickly a break of six seems to be settling.


Matthew Bostock (Great Britain), Nic Dlamini (Dimension Data), Mark Downey (Wiggins), Thomas Moses (JLT-Condor), Rory Townsend (Canyon-Eisberg), Richard Handley (Madison-Genesis) are in the break. With the peloton happy about the makeup of the group, this should be the break of the day.


161km remaining from 175km

The six-man break now has an advantage of 1:45 with 10km of the stage done and dusted.


One Pro Cycling, who boast 2015 king of the mountains Peter Williams, are the only British domestic team to miss the break. Team boss Matt Pryor yesterday announced that the team is disbanding at the end of this season, with a move to women's cycling on the cards next year.


155km remaining from 175km

The first sprint of the day, in Camarthen is just 3km away. The red jersey will be on the line, with 3, 2 and 1 points up for grabs over the line. A second sprint comes after 66km at Llandovery.


152km remaining from 175km

Bostock takes the first intermediate sprint of the race, pulling a wheelie as he threw his bike. Handley finished a close second, while Downey finished third. 


The next obstacle on course, coming in around 25km, is the second category climb of Bethlehem Hill. It's a short one, measuring 1.8km with an average of 3%, and shouldn't cause any problems in the break or peloton.

138km remaining from 175km

The gap to the break has stabilised at 2 minutes. It looks like there won't be much of a chance for this one to stay away. Back in the peloton, a mixture of teams are represented at the front, with EF-Drapac, Quick Step Floors, Mitchelton-Scott and Sky all there.


EF-Drapac will be interested in delivering Dan McLay or Sacha Modolo should it come down to a sprint today. Quick Step Floors have Fernando Gaviria, while Mitchelton-Scott will be hoping Caleb Ewan can nab a few wins before he leaves for Lotto-Soudal next year.

Meanwhile, the Belgian team are led by the man he's replacing, André Greipel. Other fastmen in the race include Ben Swift (Great Britain), Andrea Guardini (Bardiani-CSF), Mark Renshaw (Dimension Data) and Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo).


And there's a wealth of options in terms of the overall GC too. Thomas and Froome said yesterday they haven't fully recovered from the Tour de France yet, but 2015 runner-up Wout Poels can certainly go one better this year.

Fourth at the Tour, Primož Roglič leads LottoNL-Jumbo, who come to the race without reigning champion Lars Boom. Double Tour stage winner and king of the mountains Julian Alaphilippe is also at the race, with a powerful Quick Step Floors team including Max Schachmann and Bob Jungels. Tejay Van Garderen features for BMC, while Tony Martin heads up Katusha-Alpecin.

For a more comprehensive look at the big contenders, head over to our race preview.


130km remaining from 175km

There's a lull in the action at the moment, and Bostock takes advantage of it to drop back to the team car and have a chat with Great Britain coach Matt Brammeier.

The four-time Irish national champion hung up his cleats in June, immediately taking up the role with Great Britain. A few days ago, he spoke to CyclingNews about his team's chances at the upcoming World Championships in Austria.


124km remaining from 175km

We're now on the first climb of the race, Bethlehem Hill. 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 points will be on offer on the category three climb.



121km remaining from 175km

Nic Dlamini takes maximum points at the top, facing off against Tom Moses, who rolls over in the second a few metres back. 


After the climb of Bethlehem Hill, the break is now 2:40 up the road. 13km lie between them and the next sprint point in Llandovery, and then the road rears upwards for an unclassified climb on the way to the cat two Defynogg climb after 89km.


115km remaining from 175km

Richard Handley punctured just before the climb, but he's back with the break on the descent. The group of six are all back together after the split as they fought over the KOM points.


The full result of the first climb of the race is now confirmed. Dlamini and Moses took 5 and 4 points respectively. Meanwhile, 3, 2 and 1 went to Townsend, Downey and Bostock.


112km remaining from 175km

EF-Drapac, Quick Step and Sky are still doing the pace-setting at the head of the peloton, some 2:50 behind the break.

We're just 4km from the second and final intermediate sprint of the day, which will decide the destination of the first red Eisberg sprints jersey of the race.


109km remaining from 175km

Townsend took the sprint in Llandovery, another close-run one. Bostock finished second, while Moses was third. With Bostock taking the first intermediate sprint, the Great Britain rider will be in red tonight.


106km remaining from 175km

The road now rears uphill, though it's a gentle slope, and the second category climb of Defynnog is still 20km away.


We haven’t seen a British Continental team win a stage of the Tour of Britain since the race was resurrected back in 2004. Endura Racing rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke did win the overall back in 2012, though that result was later stripped after the Brit was banned due to anomalies in his biological passport.

It doesn't look like that drought will be broken today either, with the breakaway on a tight 2-3 minute leash, and a wealth of sprinters ready to do battle in Newport.


99km remaining from 175km

The gap is now down to 1:35 as the break race into the final 100km of the stage. A few of the riders are passing lunch around, a bit of a change from their team's regular mid-race meals and snacks.


After the first two sprints of the 2018 Tour of Britain, the red jersey standings are as follows (my calculations):

1. Matthew Bostock (Great Britain) - 5pts
2. Rory Townsend (Canyon-Eisberg) - 3pts
3. Richard Handley (Madison-Genesis) - 2pts
4= Mark Downey (Team WIGGINS) - 1pt
4= Thomas Moses (JLT-Condor) - 1pt



92km remaining from 175km

We're now just 8km away from the climb of Defynnog. It's the toughest of the day by the numbers – 1km long at an average of 9%. 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 points are on offer for the first eight men over the line.


86km remaining from 175km

Townsend and Dlamini went at it on the second climb of the day at Defynnog, with Dlamini prevailing once again. We'll post the full results as we get them.


The result of the second KOM was Dlamini ahead of Handley, Moses, Townsend and Bostock.

That means that the KOM standings are currently as follows:

1. Nicholas Dlamini (Dimension Data) – 13pts
2. Thomas Moses (JLT-Condor) – 10pts
3. Rory Townsend (Canyon-Eisberg) – 8pts
4. Richard Handley (Madison-Genesis) – 7pts
5. Mark Downey (Team WIGGINS) – 5pts
6. Matthew Bostock (Great Britain) – 4pts


78km remaining from 175km

We're now on the descent from Defynnog, and we have 58km of rolling roads before the final intermediate sprint of the day at Usk which lies just 20km from the line.


The breakaway reaches the feed zone and a welcome lunch break after 100km of racing so far.


73km remaining from 175km

The peloton is still led by Quick Step and Sky. They lie 1:30 behind the six-man break.


There's not much of a chance for the break to stay away today, but at least they're all still together. With no major climbs until Belmont Hill in almost 60km, there was no real incentive to split things up over the top of Defynnog or on the descent.

The latest Cyclingnews Podcast is out, and features Vuelta analysis, talk about Mark Cavendish's future, and a discussion about the demise of Aqua Blue Sport. Click here to have a listen.


63km remaining from 175km

Meanwhile, the peloton seems to be gradually cutting into the lead. Iljo Keisse is on the front for Quick Step Floors and the gap is down to 1:15. It's a long way to go to bring the six escapees for good though, so it looks like the peloton are just keeping them at a manageable distance.


There's a lull in the action as the break navigate the narrow hedge-lined roads of the Welsh countryside, some 56km from the finish. Here's a look at some of the names who could be in the mix at the finish today.

In addition to these fastmen, Dan McLay (EF-Drapac), Mark Renshaw (Dimension Data) and Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) could also be in with a shot.



A brief discussion between Keisse and Lucas Hamilton (Mitchelton-Scott) at the front of the peloton as the teams share the work. The gap is still edging down, now at 1:05 with 55km to run.


Geraint Thomas isn't the only Welshman to be racing in his home country today.

JLT-Condor's Jon Mould hails from today's finishing town Newport. He was on the attack at the start but didn't manage to get away. Scott Davies (Dimension Data) passed through his hometown of Camarthen earlier in the stage.

Meanwhile, Ronde de l'Isard winner Stephen Williams, born in Aberystwyth, is racing for Great Britain. He'll be racing for Bahrain-Merida next year.


47km remaining from 175km

We're inside the final 50km now, and the gap between the peloton and breakaway has dipped below the minute mark for the first time. We're still 25km from the intermediate sprint, though.


40km remaining from 175km

The gap still hangs around the minute mark with 40km to race.


32km remaining from 175km

We still have a single representative from EF-Drapac, Mitchelton-Scott and Quick Step Floors working at the head of the peloton, with Team Sky massed behind. The gap remains at around the minute mark.


And now the majority of the EF-Drapac team move up to the front. They have a pair of sprinters here, in the shape of Dan McLay and Sacha Modolo.


With 20km to go until Belmont Hill – the final climb of the day – here's an in-depth look at the finale from Lasterketa Burua. There are some tough ramps there, and potential to shed a few sprinters or launch attacks in a bid to thwart them altogether.



26km remaining from 175km

5km until the sprint at Usk. It will be contested by the break and we'll find out the location of the race's first red jersey.


Iljo Keisse is still on the front for Quick Step Floors. A great ride from the Belgian, who has been there for the majority of the day. The pace is quickening too, with the gap down to 40 seconds now.


21km remaining from 175km

The break really slowed up in Usk, letting the gap get down to under ten seconds. The six held on to contest the intermediate sprint though. Moses takes it, ahead of Bostock and Townsend.

Bostock will take the red jersey tonight – he has seven points in the sprint competition. Townsend and Moses lie joint-second on four apiece.


The final intermediate sprint standings on stage 1:


1. Matthew Bostock (Great Britain), 7pts

2= Tom Moses (JLT-Condor), 4pts

2= Rory Townsend (Canyon-Eisberg), 4pts

3. Richard Handley (Madison-Genesis), 2pts

4. Mark Downey (Team WIGGINS), 1pt


18km remaining from 175km

Townsend tries an attack, while Dlamini latches onto his wheel.


16km remaining from 175km

Four men remain at the head of the race now, just 13 seconds ahead of the peloton. Townsend keeps up his attack.


Townsend should pick up the combativity award today, though his chances of staying away to the end are still almost non-existent.


15km remaining from 175km

The gap to the peloton is fluctuating between 20-25 seconds. Townsend is around ten seconds ahead of his breakmates.


Team Sky, EF-Drapac and One Pro Cycling are among the teams at the head of the peloton.


Bardiani-CSF are also moving up, riding for sprinter Andrea Guardini. He wouldn't be my first pick of the sprinters to survive over Belmont Hill, though.


13km remaining from 175km

The remains of the break are caught, leaving Townsend solo up front. He's just ten seconds ahead of the peloton though.


12km remaining from 175km

...And Townsend is caught. It was a good effort, but the chances for the break to stay away were always slim.


Dlamini is confirmed as the first black jersey wearer of the race.

10km remaining from 175km

Team Sky hit the front en masse – not what the sprinters wanted to see. 3km to the climb.


9km remaining from 175km

Reminder that Belmont Hill is a second category climb, 800 metres long with an average of 9%. It does hit double-digit gradients though. The peak comes 7.8km from the line.


8km remaining from 175km

Five Sky riders put on the pace heading into the climb. EF-Drapac, Movistar and Quick Step Floors are visible behind.


7km remaining from 175km

Sky's Geraint Thomas is the first to move on the climb. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick Step Floors) gets on his wheel immediately.


7km remaining from 175km

Bob Jungels and Julian Alaphilippe take over at the front as Thomas is brought back. They're hitting the toughest gradients right now.


7km remaining from 175km

The Quick Step duo of Alaphilippe and Jungels lead over the top. A Direct Énergie rider chases behind, followed by a Katusha rider.


6km remaining from 175km

The Quick Step duo have a nice gap to the peloton, while Jonathan Hivert (Direct Énergie) and Mads Wurtz Schmidt (Katusha-Alpecin) bridge across. Ten seconds back to the peloton.


5km remaining from 175km

The important question now is which sprinters have survived at the head of the chasing peloton. Gaviria should be there, meaning Quick Step have really played this perfectly.


5km remaining from 175km

Jungels puts in a dig, forcing Hivert and Würtz Schmidt to chase.


4km remaining from 175km

Jungels has a gap of around 5 seconds, while the peloton looks to be around 10 seconds behind the chasers. Team Sunweb and Lotto-Soudal are chasing.


4km remaining from 175km

Jungels is in time trial mode now, arms resting on the top of the bars. It wouldn't be a surprise if he held on for the win.


3km remaining from 175km

Jungels is still alone now, but the trio he left behind have been brought back. 11 seconds is the gap.


2km remaining from 175km

It looks like Jungels will be caught agonisingly close to home. He's under 10 seconds up the road with 2km to go.


1km remaining from 175km

They're in Newport now, and Team Sky are leading the chase.


1km remaining from 175km

And Jungels is caught, with 1km to race. BMC take the lead at the head of the peloton.


All around the roundabout with no problems.


Lotto-Soudal move up.


Gaviria goes very long!


Ewan passes him, Greipel comes through the centre!


André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) wins stage 1 of the 2018 Tour of Britain!


Gaviria launched super early and simply ran out of gas. First Caleb Ewan nipped past in his super-aero tuck, but the big German just had too much power. An interesting battle indeed, considering Ewan is replacing Greipel at Lotto-Soudal next year.


It's the 154th win of Greipel's career, and one in the eye for his replacement. The German takes the green race leader's jersey as well as the lead in the dark blue points jersey, which Ewan will wear tomorrow.


Stage 1 result:

1. André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) 4:00:54

2. Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott)

3. Fernando Gaviria (Quick Step Floors)

4. Gabriel Cullaigh (Team WIGGINS)

5. Jürgen Roelandts (BMC)

6. Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Groupe Gobert)

7. Ethan Hayter (Great Britain)

8. Paolo Simion (Bardiani-CSF)

9. Vincenzo Albanese (Bardiani-CSF)

10. Wout Poels (Team Sky)


André Greipel speaks after his win:

Yeah, I think Bob Jungels was still away so the team did a great job to call him back. Then Gaviria went from really far, but I had Jasper De Buyst in front of me – he did a great job and a long leadout also. I left Jürgen Roelandts in between us.


As stated before, Greipel takes the overall leader's green jersey, in addition to the dark blue points jersey.


Meanwhile, Nicholas Dlamini (Dimension Data) takes the black king of the mountains jersey and Matthew Bostock (Great Britain) wears the red intermediate sprints jersey.


The general classification top 10 will follow when we get it.


As expected, none of the men in the break made it to the finish with the peloton, so the bonus seconds have no bearing on the general classification.


General classification after stage 1:

1. André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) 4:00:44

2. Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) +00:04

3. Fernando Gaviria (Quick Step Floors) +00:06

4. Gabriel Cullaigh (Team WIGGINS) +00:10

5. Jürgen Roelandts (BMC)

6. Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Groupe Gobert)

7. Ethan Hayter (Great Britain)

8. Paolo Simion (Bardiani-CSF)

9. Vincenzo Albanese (Bardiani-CSF)

10. Wout Poels (Team Sky)


Greipel may be in the race lead now, but if he wants to hold on to it tomorrow he'll have a very tough task on his hands. 


Stage 2 runs 174.9km from Cranbrook to Barnstaple, taking in a pair of second category climbs, as well as a first category climb 22km from the line. And if that wasn't enough, there are a further six or seven unclassified climbs that look just a tough as the big three.


We expect the first big GC showdown of the race here, so join me tomorrow for more live coverage of the Tour of Britain.



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