Tour of Britain Begins with a Blasting Win by Viviani

Embedded image permalinkIt's an important race for a British Team like Sky but it's conquering its place in the calendar offering a high level competition for sprinters during a race for climbers like La Vuelta where they used to refine their Worlds preparation. The first stage finish order confirms and the winner is one of the best sprinters in the peloton. One of my favourites too.
I'm not watching this race but I'll keep here updated about it, especially because I'm looking forward to see again Alex Dowsett in action.

Elia Viviani:
"It was a technical finish and really close at the line. We worked hard all day, and Andy Fenn was fantastic taking such a huge turn on the front. Etixx – Quick-Step gave us a little bit of help, but Andy was unbelievable. 
With only six riders per team, it's difficult to control the race , and we only caught the breakaway in the last 2km. Ben [Swift], Pete [Kennaugh] and Ian [Stannard] then did more fantastic work in the final to put me in the perfect position.
When I saw Greipel coming onto Cavendish's wheel on the last corner, I thought 'just stay here', but then I thought he'd left it too late to sprint, so when I saw Cav go down the middle, I stuck to the left-hand side of the road all the way to the end. After we'd crossed the line I wasn't sure if I'd won, but thankfully it soon became clear.
It's going to be difficult to defend the jersey with six riders, because not only do we have to control the breakaway, we have to put me in a good position for the sprints. Today Swifty called the shots perfectly, telling us how to ride and when to close the gap.
There is pressure on us to perform here, but for a sprinter like me, that's good. I saw how much effort my team-mates had put in so I knew I had to try my best. Sometimes that doesn't work out, but today it did and I'm very happy.
My condition is really good at the moment. I was disappointed not to do better in my last races at the Vattenfall Cyclassics and GP Ouest France-Plouay – they were big goals for me – but I timed it correctly today. Sprints are won with split-second decisions and I'm happy I made the right choice out there.
I have one eye on the World Championships, so this is a big confidence boost for that. There are a few short cobbled climbs to get over in that race, but I think I can do well. I won't be one of the favourites there, but I'm working hard in preparation for it and I've shown here that my legs are good."

Mark Cavendish:
"I was kind of nervous about this final. Some of the guys did recon of it yesterday and they said it's really technical. We didn't know what to expect. So, we wanted to be in front at the end. The guys did super well. We put Fernando Gaviria ahead of Mark Renshaw, telling him what to do, and he was super good. After the last sharp left-hander, it was a bit technical with the wind blowing down through the buildings in the last straight. I knew I just had to lay off Mark, it was going to go uphill. When I kicked off Mark I kicked really well, but the line just wasn't coming quick enough. I could sense Greipel there and I think I just focused too much on Greipel. If I had taken the left-hand sharp, maybe I would have had it. But I was too concentrated on the right side, and Elia came through on the left ahead of me. But actually, I'm very happy with the team. They supported me wonderfully today. Congratulations to Elia as he deserved the win. We'll see what we can do tomorrow as we're already riding really well together."

Elia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky 4:26:29  
2 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Etixx - Quick-Step  
André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal  
Owain Doull (GBr) Team Wiggins  
5 Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Movistar Team  
6 Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Soudal  
7 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Etixx - Quick-Step  
8 Tyler Farrar (USA) MTN - Qhubeka  
9 Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 
10 Graham Briggs (GBr) JLT Condor

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