HOME rider Russell Downing was among the victims of a horrific crash at the finish of stage one in the Tour de Yorkshire.
Downing, from Rotherham, was brought down metres from the finish on Scarborough’s seafront. The 38-year-old was listed as finishing 88th on the stage, on the same time as winner Dylan Groenewegen, but his team JLT Condor later confirmed he had suffered a broken collarbone.
Magnus Cort Nielsen and Marco Haller suffered similar injuries and James Knox and Hayden McCormick also needed treatment.
The crash overshadowed a brilliant victory by Dutchman Groenewegen, the Team Lotto NL Jumbo rider who also won the opening stage last year.
He outsprinted Orica-Scott’s Caleb Ewan, with Adam Blythe – from Sheffield – being the first Yorkshireman across the line, in ninth place.
Groenewegen will wear the leader’s blue jersey at today’s stage start in Tadcaster and is hopeful of a second stage win at Harrogate.
He told The Yorkshire Post: “It is a nice race – I like the race and the race likes me. It was hard; the final climb was too hard for me, but I managed to sprint for the win. I think I have a chance [in stage two] – think it is a better chance for me (than yesterday).”
However, the tough third stage – from Bradford to Sheffield tomorrow – means it is unlikely Groenewegen will claim overall victory. He also topped the points classification at the end of day one, though Ewan will wear the green jersey today.
The dark pink jersey for best climber was claimed by another Dutchman Etienne Van Empel and Lotto Jumbo lead the team classification. Dimension Data’s Conor Dunne was voted most aggressive rider after being in the breakaway for the majority of the stage.
At the other end of the scale to Groenewegen, Leeds-based Tobyn Horton finished last, 17 minutes 50 seconds behind the leader. He was among an eight-man breakaway that formed early in the stage, but was eventually overhauled on Cote de Goathland, the second King of the Mountains climb.
It is a nice race – I like the race and the race likes me. It was hard; the final climb was too hard for me, but I managed to sprint for the win.Dylan Groenewegen
Describing the crowds as “absolutely amazing”, he said: “It was a good day out. 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 second 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.”
Other Yorkshire riders included Scott Thwaites in 36th, Pete Williams 40th, James Gullen 51st, Connor Swift 52nd, Tristan Robbins 59th, Joey Walker 74th, Tom Stewart 81st, Harry Tanfield 93rd and Tom Moses 98th.