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Jesper Asselman wins opening stage of Tour de Yorkshire

Jesper Asselman wins opening stage of Tour de Yorkshire
© Reuters
Protesters greeted Chris Froome and Team Ineos.

Jesper Asselman won stage one of the Tour de Yorkshire as a breakaway struck opening day gold for the second year running.

With the peloton charging down on the approach to Selby Abbey, Dutchman Asselman took victory by mere metres while his fellow escapees were swallowed up on the line behind.

"I thought we were going to get caught [earlier] because the advantage went down really fast in the last 15 to 20km," said Asselman, who crossed the line with a Yorkshire flag hanging off his bike after tagging a spectator in the final hundred metres.

"When we went underneath the flamme rouge (one kilometere remaining) I knew we had a little chance, but I knew I had to stay calm and wait for the right moment.

"It was a little bit of a gamble but I went through a small gap on the inside and just went full gas. I looked under my elbow and saw it was going to happen."

The 182km stage started in Doncaster, where last year Harry Tanfield took a similar win as a breakaway barely held off the approaching pack.

Italian Filippo Fortin emerged from the main peloton to finish second behind Roompot-Charles' Asselmen, with Jonas van Genechten of Vitus Pro-Cycling third.

There were four Brits in the top 10 with Gabriel Cullaigh of Le Col Wiggins fifth, Ethan Hayter of Great Britain sixth, Dimension Data's Mark Cavendish eighth and Chris Lawless of Team Ineos ninth.

The thrilling finish came at the end of a rain-sodden day as the Tour de Yorkshire's magic touch with the weather was found wanting.

The day began with environmental protesters gathering outside the Team Ineos bus in the paddock, greeting the sight of Chris Froome and others with shouts of "Sell-out" as they voiced anger at the fracking projects of the team's new paymasters.

The Yorkshire welcome for Ineos got little warmer on the roads as bad weather settled in for the afternoon, drenching the peloton as heavy rain fell throughout the day.

Team Ineos and Dimension Data did much of the chasing but it was to no avail.

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