Asselman, only just
May 2 nd 2019 - 19:11
While many were expecting a bunched sprint in Selby, one man managed to hold off the hungry pack to capture the biggest win of his career. Indeed, after being part of a 6-man breakaway, Jesper Asselman managed to hang on to the lead all the way to the line. The Dutchman captures victory ahead of Filippo Fortin and Jonas Van Genechten and conquers the general classification leader’s jersey after day one at the Tour de Yorkshire.
Despite a few rain showers, hundreds had gathered in Doncaster for the start of stage 1 of the 5th edition of the Tour de Yorkshire. On the menu: 182.5kms all the way to Selby and fairly wet conditions. After an extremely fast start, it took 13 kilometres for the first breakaway riders to power away: Vermaerke (HBA), Hennessy (DHB), Asselman (ROC), Bigham (RPC), Flynn and Nally (both GBR). Despite counter-attacking efforts from Fouche (WGN) and Kenway (VIT), the front six stayed clear in the lead, enjoying a gap that reached 2’10’’ a km30.
Teams Dimension Data and Ineos moved to the front of the pack and started chasing from then on. At the first intermediate sprint in Elloughton (km 72) claimed by Hennessy ahead of Vermaerke and Bigham, the gap had dropped to 1’55’’.
On the climb up the only hill of the day (Baggaby Hill, km 135), Flynn was the first rider to be dropped by the front group while Hennessy captured the most climber’s points at the top. Meanwhile the gap over the pack again grew and reached 2’20 at the summit.
The second bonus sprint was again claimed by Hennessy but the Canyon DHB rider eventually called it a day and stopped his effort having accomplished his mission of clinching the best climber’s jersey.
The pressure increased on the shoulders of the four escapees as the peloton moved closer: 1’55’’ with 25kms to go and still 40’’ ten kilometres from the finish. It looked as though we were heading to a bunched sprint as the gap dropped to 13’’ with a kilometre left. But in the final moments of the stage, Jesper Asselman managed a final effort and made it clear to the line holding off the hungry pack to claim victory. Second place went to Italian Filippo Fortin (COF) while Jonas Van Genechten clinched third spot.