Germany’s Andre Greipel claimed the honours on the opening stage of the Tour of Britain in Newport on Sunday.
Greipel (Lotto Soudal) beat Australia’s Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton Scott) and Fernando Gaviria (QuickStep-Floors) in a bunch sprint at the end of the 174.8-kilometres stage from Pembrey Country Park in Carmarthenshire.
Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas and his Team Sky colleague Chris Froome, the four-time Tour de France winner competing at his national tour for a first time since 2009, both finished safely in the pack, on the same time as Greipel. Froome was 64th and Thomas 77th.
Cardiff’s Thomas, racing on home roads, has been enjoying his yellow jersey success but was determined to put on a show.
The 32-year-old attacked on the day’s final climb, but was joined by Julien Alaphilippe and another QuickStep-Floors rider, Bob Jungels.
Jungels forged on as his fellow escapes were reeled in and the Luxembourg rider was caught with 1km to go as the sprinters’ teams found their formation.
And it was Greipel, an 11-time Tour de France stage winner who won the opening stage of the Tour of Britain on his most recent appearance in 2016, who emerged victorious for a first win since May.
Greipel told ITV4: “I went with 200 to go. I’m happy I could finish it off. It was a long time that I didn’t win and now I’m happy I could win finally again.
“It’s always prestigious to win a stage here. That’s why we came here.”
Monday’s second stage is the 174.9km route in Devon from Cranbrook to Barnstaple. The race finishes in central London on Sunday, September 9.