IT SEEMED like a good idea at the time. That was Leeds-based rider Tobyn Horton’s reaction after a long day in the saddle on the opening stage of the Tour de Yorkshire.
Horton – who rides for Madison Genesis – was part of an eight-man breakaway which formed early in the 174km stage from Bridlington to Scarborough.
After giving his all on the front of the race, he was eventually overhauled late on and rolled in an exhausted last. He was initially listed on the official results as “did not finish”, but later placed 132nd on the overall classification, 17 minutes 50 seconds behind leader Dylan Groenewegen.
Despite the pain of the final few kilometres, Horton–- who lives in Headingley – was buzzing when he spoke to the Yorkshire Evening Post at the finish.
“It was a good day out,” Horton said. “It was pretty tough, you know inevitably you are going to get caught. I wasn’t on a particularly good day unfortunately and ended up getting dropped on the seconds KoM [King of the Mountains] climb.
“That was it, time’s up. I suffered round and finished something like 20 minutes down so it was a hard day out, but it was good. It is good for the team to have someone up the road.
“I will be regretting it, there’s one way to make it a hard three days and that’s by going up the road on the first day, but it was great.”
Horton added: “The crowds were just amazing. It was nice because you’re not concentrating and focusing as much when you’ve just got six or seven guys, so you can absorb the atmosphere.”
Lotto NL Jumbo’s Groenewegen won in a sprint finish from Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott). It was the Dutchman’s second successive victory in the opening stage of the Tour de Yorkshire and he said he loves the event. He said. “The race likes me and I like the race.”
Groenewegen will wear the leader’s blue jersey at today’s stage two start in Tadcaster. The finish is in Harrogate and Groenewegen said: “I think I have a chance, I think it is a better chance for me that it was today.”
The finale was marred by a mass pile-up in the closing metres, with Yorkshireman Russell Downing among the casualties.