HOLLAND’S Kirsten Wild completed a Doncaster double, but there was also Yorkshire success on the opening day of the ASDA Women’s Tour de Yorkshire.
And the men’s race witnessed a major shock when Middlesbrough’s Harry Tanfield crossed the line first after being in front for 180km as part of a small breakaway group.
Wild sprinted to victory at the end of an 132-5km dash from Beverley, repeating her success when the race last visited Doncaster two years ago.
The Netherlands rider will wear the leaders’ blue jersey on today’s hilly second and final stage, but with the Tour’s first summit finish looming on Ilkley’s Cow and Calf she admits her team’s best hope of success may lie elsewhere.
Pfeiffer Georgi, of Yorkshire-based team Jaden-Weldtite Vive le Velo, was best climber after a largely flat opening leg, which ended in the expected bunch sprint on Bennetthorpe.
Wild believes it is possible to defend the race lead over today’s three categorised climbs, but insisted her main goal is to ensure a member of her Wiggle High5 squad claims overall victory.
“For myself, I am not very much looking forward to it,” she said of today’s 124km stage that begins in Barnsley.
“I have heard there are some steep, hard climbs, but I think with the team we have really good opportunities with Elisa [Longo Borghini] and Lisa [Brennauer].
“They are really good climbers, so I think it will be an interesting day.
“It will be tougher. Of course I can [defend the jersey], but I don’t know if it is really realistic.We have such strong girls, I don’t think it is really up to me, but for the team is really important and interesting.
“The pressure is off me.”
The first 97 riders – out of 108 finishers – were awarded the same time although Wild received a 10-second bonus, with prizes of six seconds for second-placed Amalie Dideriksen and four for Alice Barnes, who was third.
“The final was hard,” Wild said. “It is always hard to stay together and stay calm and wait until the right moment.”
A roundabout late in the race disrupted several of the teams, but Wild put past experience to good use.
She admitted: “It was a bit chaotic.
“I knew the right way from the time I was here before. That made us really early on the front, which was hard.
“We were on the front with one kilometre to go with only two girls.
“It is nice to win here again. We have a British sponsor so for the team it is really important. It was a good result.
“Racing in the UK is really nice, the people are so enthusiastic and there are so many people, even when we start at 8am.
“The crowds here are amazing.”
Georgi got into an early breakaway and managed to hold on to lead over the only categorised climb of the day at Cote de Baggaby Hill.
The 17-year-old has no expectations of winning the red jersey, but yesterday’s result was a big one for a Yorkshire team.
“It was really fun,” she said. “I am not from Yorkshire myself, but the crowds were amazing and the roads were really good to ride on.
“I didn’t really expect it because I was against world and Olympic champions, but I just gave it a go.
“I will try my best to stay as near the front as possible [today], but I don’t expect to be there at the end. I’ll leave that to the proper climbers.”
While the women’s race went according to plan, the men’s, over 182km, did not.
The sprinter’s teams were content to allow a breakaway group of six, later reduced to five. to dangle off the front of the race until the closing stages.
When they eventually began their chase it proved too late as Tanfield won by five seconds from the pack, with his breakaway companions making up the rest of the leading places.
The stage seemed designed to suit Tour de France legend Mark Cavendish, but he had to settle for 93rd place, five seconds behind Tanfield.
Tanfield was a silver medalist in the time trial at the recent Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast, but insisted yesterday’s victory for his Canyon Eisberg team was the sweetest of his career.