Caleb Ewans wins Tour of Britain stage one in photo finish - Road Cycling UK

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Caleb Ewans wins Tour of Britain stage one in photo finish

Australian claims first red jersey with sprint victory in Kelso

Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) sprinted to victory in Kelso to win stage one of the 2017 OVO Energy Tour of Britain and pull on the leader’s jersey.

Ewan edged out Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) in a photo finish, as the stage came down to the expected bunch sprint, with in-form Elia Viviani (Team Sky) third.

The Australian had lead-out man Luka Mezgec to thank, after his lead-out man led him masterfully around the technical final kilometre before dropping him off with 200m to sprint.

Caleb Ewan, left, won stage one of the 2017 Tour of Britain in a photo finish (Pic: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)

Earlier, eight riders had wasted no time getting into the breakaway, with a broad mix of riders up the road, including Movistar’s Gorka Izaguirre.

Of the domestic teams, Karol Domagalski (ONE Pro Cycling), Rob Partridge (Bike Channel-Canyon), Connor Swift (Madison-Genesis) and Graham Briggs (JLT-Condor) were in the mix, as was An Post-Chain Reaction’s Jacob Scott.

Former King of the Mountains winner Mark McNally (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Poland’s Lukasz Owsian (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) completed the move.

Though smaller team sizes often make the Tour of Britain difficult to control, enough teams were hoping for a sprint finish – Orica-Scott, Team Sky and QuickStep Floors among them – that there was plenty of firepower on the front of the bunch.

Swift was first over the day’s first climb, at Redstone Rigg, though his team car knocked Domagalski off on the descent – who fortunately avoided serious injury.

A regular feature on this year’s route is a finishing circuit, however, and with wide-open roads on the 79km loop chosen for stage one, that meant crosswinds and a fast pace in the bunch.

Katusha-Alpecin and BMC Racing both helped to ramp up the pace, and soon only Domagalski and Owsian remained up the road – the former claiming the sprints points and the latter ensuring he will wear the mountains jersey on stage two.

Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), racing for the first time since his Tour de France crash, and Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Sky) were two of the men dropped by the bunch, meanwhile.

Ewan became the first man to pull on the new green leader’s jersey as a result (Pic: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)

A flurry of attacks came once the two leaders had been swept up, but none stuck as plenty of teams shared in the pace-setting on the front of the bunch.

It was Orica-Scott, with Mezgec and Ewan, who were in pole position on the technical finale, however, and they reaped the rewards.

Boasson Hagen opened up his sprint first, but Ewan came out of his team-mate’s wheel to snatch victory on the cobbled finale by the smallest of fractions.

OVO Energy Tour of Britain 2017: stage one – result

1) Caleb Ewan (AUS) – Orica-Scott – 4.34.17hrs
2) Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) – Dimension Data – ST
3) Elia Viviani (ITA) – Team Sky
4) Alexander Kristoff (NOR) – Katusha-Alpecin
5) Fernando Gaviria (COL) – QuickStep Floors
6) Chris Lawless (GBR) – Great Britain
7) Brenton Jones (NZL) – JLT-Condor
8) Nikolas Maes (BEL) – Lotto-Soudal
9) Zdenek Stybar (CZE) – QuickStep Floors
10) Floris Gerts (NED) – BMC Racing

General classification

1) Caleb Ewan (AUS) – Orica-Scott – 4.34.07hrs
2) Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) – Dimension Data +3”
3) Karol Domagalski (POL) – ONE Pro Cycling +4”
4) Elia Viviani (ITA) – Team Sky +6”
5) Alexander Kristoff (NOR) – Katusha-Alpecin +10”
6) Fernando Gaviria (COL) – QuickStep Floors
7) Chris Lawless (GBR) – Great Britain
8) Brenton Jones (NZL) – JLT-Condor
9) Nikolas Maes (BEL) – Lotto-Soudal
10) Zdenek Stybar (CZE) – QuickStep Floors

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