Stage 1 Men: Watopia Hilly
Ryan Gibbons (NTT Pro Cycling) won the first-ever men's stage at the Virtual Tour de France on Saturday. The South African champion made use of a late power-up and the help of teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen to take a comprehensive win ahead of Pier-Andre Cote (Rally Cycling) and Nick Schultz (Mitchelton-Scott).
Dutch rider Mathieu van der Poel finished fourth in a race that mirrored the action from the earlier women's race. The NTT team was present in most of the moves that took place with Boasson Hagen a constant avatar at the front of the race.
"I'm truly overwhelmed and this is pretty special," Gibbons said at the finish.
The early moves on the Watopia course saw Rafael Valls (Bahrain McLaren) put in an attack on the lower slopes of the climb, but a group of riders chased him down before a short respite in the action.
There were still less than 30 riders in contention after the first of four laps, with Dan McLay (Arkéa-Samsic) the next rider to try and break away. However the British sprinter was soon caught before Philipp Walsleben (Alpecin-Fenix) lead over the climb, ahead of Valls.
Darly Impey (Mithcelton Scott) won two sprints in the first two laps but it was AG2R La Mondiale's Ben Gastauer who caused havoc with a powerful attack near the top of the climb on the second lap. Walsleben made it across the line first to take maximum points with Boasson Hagen forced to settle for second.
Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma) took the sprint points ahead of Boasson Hagen on the following lap before Freddy Ovett edged out Walsleben at the top of the next hill. Harry Sweeny of Lotto Soudal took the final sprint of the day, beating
Reinard Janse Van Rensburg to the line but the NTT rider played a vital part in stretching out the peloton in the closing stages.
CCC positioned Greg Van Avermaet at the front after Team Ineos had set a furious pace after the last descent to the line but the Belgian was too far forward, hitting the front with 600m to go.
As the riders approached the line Edvald Boasson Hagen put in a powerful display. The Norwegian was looking to set up Gibbons for the win and the South African repaid his teammate with an unstoppable sprint to win the race.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Ryan Gibbons (SAf) NTT Pro Cycling||0:45:17|
|2||Pier-Andre Cote (Can) Rally Cycling|
|3||Nico Schulz (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott||0:00:01|
|4||Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix|
|5||Freddy Ovett (GBr) Israel Start-Up Nation|
|6||Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) NTT Pro Cycling|
|7||Matteo Dal-Cin (Can) Rally Cycling|
|8||Harry Sweeny (Aus) Lotto Soudal|
|9||Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC Team|
|10||Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Ineos||0:00:02|
|1||NTT Pro Cycling|
|2||NTT Pro Cycling|
|3||NTT Pro Cycling|
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