Rowe wins after Cavendish crash

Team Sky’s Luke Rowe won the first stage of the Tour of Britain after team-mate Mark Cavendish was involved in a crash 1km from the finish.

Welshman Rowe took the initiative when world road race champion Cavendish was brought down in a heavy pile-up.

He outsprinted Boy van Poppel and fellow Briton Russell Downing to win the 200km Ipswich to Norwich route.

Manxman Cavendish, nursing a cut on his left shoulder, remounted his bike to finish the stage.

Team Sky looked to have set up the perfect scenario for a trademark finish from the 27-year-old, with Britain’s

Tour de France winner


Olympic time trial gold medallist

Bradley Wiggins leading out a tight bunch in the closing stages.

But the narrow roads at the Norfolk Showground played some part as Cavendish, who is using the Tour as a warm-up for

his world title defence later this month,

was caught in a crash that also involved sprint rival Tyler Farrar and wiped out a swathe of the group.

Wiggins also hit the tarmac moments later while trying to negotiate a corner, but suffered no injuries.

Sky were still celebrating a stage win though, as Cardiff-born Rowe, 22, a late call-up for the Tour, capitalised to take the overall leader’s gold jersey.

“It just shows how unpredictable our sport is. I was coming here to lead Cavendish out but then a quick touch of wheels and there I am with my hands in the air,” he told BBC Sport.

“We came into the last kilometre. Brad, me and Mark, I was going to be Mark’s last lead out man. Then a guy came inside Cav and wiped him out completely by the sounds of it.

“I didn’t get a good view and I shouted to Brad ‘go full gas, the sprint is for me’.”

Wiggins got the stage under way in front of bumper crowds on the Ipswich Waterfront, in a Tour that is being seen as a victory parade for the 32-year-old following his exploits over the summer.

“It’s incredible what has happened to British cycling this year. It’s been happening for a few years but this is the defining year,” Wiggins said.

“Cav crashed and I crashed today but it wasn’t about that. The crowds were just happy to see us and I think that’s the beauty of this week.”

Rapha Condor Sharp’s British rider Kristian House, who was part of a leading breakaway for much of the stage, finished with the King of the Mountains jersey.

Monday’s second of eight stages will be a more undulating route as it winds through the Peak District on its way between Nottingham and Knowsley.

Tour of Britain stage one results:

1. Luke Rowe (GB/Team Sky) 4:51:05″

2. Boy van Poppel (Ned/UnitedHealthcare) same time

3. Russell Downing (GB/Endura Racing)

4. Jeremie Galland (Fra/Saur Sojasun)

5. Peter Hawkins (Ire/Team IG-Sigma Sport)

6. Rony Martias (Fra/Saur Sojasun)

7. Barry Markus (Ned/Vacansoleil)

8. Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita/Liquigas-Cannondale)

9. Jonathan Tiernan Locke (GB/Endura Racing)

10. Ben Grenda (Aus/Rapha Condor)

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