Tour of Britain: Mark Cavendish ponders what might have been following opening day crash

Mark Cavendish before stage one of the 2016 Tour of Britain. Picture: Craig Watson/PA.

Mark Cavendish before stage one of the 2016 Tour of Britain. Picture: Craig Watson/PA.

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Germany’s Andre Greipel won the opening stage of the 13th edition of the Tour of Britain as Mark Cavendish fell in a crash on the final corner.

The 161.5-kilometre stage from the south of Glasgow to Castle Douglas saw a tactical sprint finish won by Lotto-Soudal’s Greipel, who powered to his fifth Tour of Britain victory in a time of three hours, 52 minutes and 40 seconds ahead of Orica-BikeExchange’s Caleb Ewan and Team Giant-Alpecin’s Ramon Sinkeldam.

FANCY MEETING YOU HERE: Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish greet each other before stage one of the 2016 Tour of Britain. Picture: Craig Watson/PA.

FANCY MEETING YOU HERE: Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish greet each other before stage one of the 2016 Tour of Britain. Picture: Craig Watson/PA.

However, Team Dimension Data’s Cavendish was involved in a crash which also included Team Sky’s Olympic omnium champion Elia Viviani in the last kilometre on a tight corner as teams tried to assemble their riders into a position to challenge.

ONE Pro Cycling’s Peter Williams, who won both the white and green jerseys last year, was among the early pace-setters along with An Post-Chain Reaction pair Emiel Wastyn and Jasper Bovenhuis, Jonathan McEvoy (NFTO) and Tom Moses (JLT Condor) as they attacked the three categorised climbs in Scotland.

Meanwhile, Dimension Data, LottoNL-Jumbo, Orica-BikeExchange and then Team Sky were all lined up on the front of the peloton with 21km to go as they closed the gap to 45 seconds.

The breakaway riders were eventually caught in the final 10km with Lotto Soudal and Trek-Segafredo leading from the front before Team Dimension Data finally made their move to bring Cavendish into prime position for a strong finish.

Team Sky, led by Viviani, and Orica-BikeExchange began to strike as teams jostled for position in the final kilometre but as Cavendish and Viviani became casualties on the final corner, Greipel was perfectly placed to streak through and claim the yellow jersey. Britain’s Chris Latham (Team Wiggins) and Dan McLay finished ninth and 10th respectively while Sir Bradley Wiggins was a distant 111th.

Stage two begins in Carlisle before finishing in Kendal.

Chris Froome lost almost three minutes on overall leader Nairo Quintana as Gianluca Brambilla won stage 15 of the Vuelta a Espana.

Movistar’s Quintana and Tinkoff’s Alberto Contador were among a large group that broke away from the peloton early in the 118.5-kilometre stage, from Sabinanigo to a summit finish in Sallent de Gallego.

Brambilla won the stage by three seconds but Quintana, crucially, finished two minutes and 37 seconds ahead of Froome to take his overall lead over the second-placed Briton to 3:37. Esteban Chaves (Orica Bike-Exchange) lies third, a further 20 seconds back.

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