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"The team were so strong today, riding all day to make it hard. We were riding for Ben Swift but he crashed pretty hard which is a shame. Then I had to try and do something."

Photo: Sirotti








01.05.2015 @ 22:14 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Lars Petter Nordhaug got the Tour de Yorkshire off to a great start for Team Sky after a hard-fought victory in Scarborough.


The Norwegian sprinted to the win on stage one as a select group of five riders repeatedly attacked each other on the seafront.


Philip Deignan was instrumental in helping to split the race apart after a gruelling 174km test and took fifth on the stage after attacking late on to weaken the group.


Victory for Nordhaug over Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) sees the 30 year old open out a four-second gap courtesy of bonus seconds, pulling on the inaugural blue jersey as the race heads into the weekend. Deignan also finds himself firmly in the mix, 10 seconds back.


"It s great to take the victory," said Nordhaug after receiving the applause of a huge crowd in Scarborough.


"With all the spectators here it's massive and I feel like I'm riding at home riding for Sky. This is really great. The team were so strong today, riding all day to make it hard. We were riding for Ben Swift but he crashed pretty hard which is a shame. Then I had to try and do something.


"I felt a bit tired in the start after Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday but after 100km when we started riding really hard I felt better and better. I was afraid of (Samuel) Sanchez and especially Voeckler in the sprint. I tried one attack to see how strong they were but that was only to try and win the sprint.


"This stage was a lot harder than I thought. But that was because we were riding hard as a team and the team did a great job. I think it will be hard for the next two days."



It was a day of mixed fortunes for Team Sky after local favourite Ben Swift came down in a multi-rider crash on a slick descent, forcing the Yorkshireman out of the race on the opening day.


The team had taken to the front early to set a tempo, with Ian Boswell and Nathan Earle thinning out the bunch before the race was thrown into chaos shortly after the climb of Grosmont.


With Swift down Team Sky found themselves with Deignan, Nordhaug and David Lopez in a select front group, which only continued to break up as the stage wore on.


Deignan paced the group all the way up the final climb at Robin Hood's Bay until only five riders remained. Then at the finish the Team Sky pair attacked relentlessly ahead of an opening stage victory.


After the stage Deignan explained: "It was a lot harder than it looked on paper. It was deceptive. I'm sure quite a few people were taken by surprise by it.


"Tomorrow should hopefully be fairly straightforward with a bunch sprint but the last day should be pretty brutal from what I've heard. But we've got a strong team here and Lars is obviously in great form. I don't think we need to be afraid of anything."


The Irishman also described the descent where both Swift and Boswell crashed. "It was really slippy," he added. "Normally the roads here are quite abrasive but that was really shiny. The shower just came on really quickly when we came in and it was a 20% descent. It was probably the worst moment for it to happen."



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