Tour of Yorkshire: Doncaster rider’s ‘fantastic’ experience

The peloton on its way
The peloton on its way
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Doncaster’s Tom Stewart admits it was a pleasure to be back on the Scarborough seaside after racing well on the first day of the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire.

The Madison Genesis rider was part of a large group that crossed the finish line in the northern seaside town in a time of 4:26.17 hours, 3:39 minutes behind stage winner Lars-Petter Nordhaugh.

There was vociferous support along the 174-kilometre route running from Bridlington to Scarborough, although the fans were disappointed to see British favourite Ben Swift forced to abandon the race after falling in slippery conditions.

Stewart was able to avoid the large crash, and after being involved in one of several breakaways on the opening day of competition, the 25-year-old insists it was a memorable experience.

“I expected the race to be unpredictable, but I thought it would be more controlled than it was,” he said.

“The top riders really wanted to race behind but it was a pleasure to get in the break, and that’s certainly a less stressful place to be.

“The route was fantastic. I’m from South Yorkshire so I knew bits of it, but I used to come to the seaside here as a kid and I recognised so much of it – it was great fun.

“The crowds were absolutely amazing. It’s a bit of a cliché, but I really can’t believe it – it is fantastic to be here.

“Ben came here to win, and hopefully he’ll be alright.”

Team Sky’s Nordhaug will take the leader’s jersey into day two after triumphing from a five-man breakaway at the stage’s finale, beating Europcar’s Thomas Voeckler and Stephane Rossetto of Cofidis into second and third respectively.

And after securing the first win of the three-day event, the 30-year-old Norwegian echoed Tanfield’s praise for the vociferous road-side support.

“It’s great to win and with the spectators here it’s massive so I feel I’m riding at home riding for Team Sky so this is really great,” he said.

“The team was so strong and they were riding for the whole day to make it hard and we were riding for Ben Swift but I hear he crashed pretty hard so that’s a shame but then I had to try and do something.

“I felt a bit tired at the start because of 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 Thomas Voeckler in the sprint so I tried one attack to see how strong they were but then I only had 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 so I think it will be hard over the next two days.”

*Yorkshire Bank is an Official Partner of the Tour de Yorkshire and the ground-breaking Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries initiative. Visit www.ybonline.co.uk