Ethan Vernon (Great Britain) and Rory Townsend (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes) are keeping race diaries for The British Continental throughout the Tour of Britain. This is Rory’s diary entry after stage 1
Stage 1 wrap
Things couldn’t have gone much better for Rory Townsend on stage 1 of the Tour of Britain. After declaring in his first diary entry that he would like to come away with a jersey from the race, he made the perfect start. After a day in the break with James Fouché (Team Wiggins Le Col), Jacob Scott (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling), Dries de Bondt (Corendon – Circus), Gediminas Bagdonas (AG2R La Mondiale) and (briefly) Connor Dunne (Israel Cycling Academy), Rory emerged with the Eisberg sprints jersey, the Wahooligan Combativity Award and second position in the general classification thanks to time bonuses. Meanwhile his teammate Matt Bostock was prominent in the bunch sprint, finishing the stage in 9th.
I was really happy with today. Firstly, the stage itself was absolutely amazing. When the sun shines in Scotland, it really is a pretty epic place to be. But also it was so nice to be up there in the first stage of the biggest race of our year.
Once we were there in the break I only had one thing on my mind: going for sprint points
It was actually quite difficult to forge the break. I tried on multiple occasions before it finally went and in the end it was a move that had already gone and then I went across to it. Then once we were there in the break I only had one thing on my mind: going for sprint points. I got a bit schooled on the first one by Dries and Bagdonas but thankfully learnt from my mistake and, was able to take the next two and get the jersey in the bay, so that was great.
I am up there on GC as well now, which is nice, just for the time being. I’m also really flattered to take the combativity award, purely because it’s a public vote.
There was an interesting feel to the day. For 200 km, we never have more than a minute and forty seconds and for a lot of it, we barely even had a minute. I don’t know if it is was nerves in the bunch, or what it was. When the break originally went and you had guys like Bagdonas and Connor in there – and Fouché, the national champ of New Zealand – that is the type of break that you don’t want to leave too much room for. The conditions on the day were favorable for a breakaway. There was no wind, so it was fast. Although it was 200 km, it only took us four and a half hours. So I can, to some extent, understand the reasoning for the way the bunch rode.
But all in all, first stage objectives ticked off!
Looking ahead to stage 2, I think we’ll probably rotate the way we do things, maybe one of the other lads get’s up there. We’ve all got our own objectives to fulfill in this race and it’s a long race as well. I don’t imagine I’ll be spending seven road stages in seven breakaways – it’s not feasible. So I’ll pace myself in the week and see how we go. But I’m really happy with the start I’ve made.