Lotto Soudal’s André Greipel timed his sprint to perfection to win Stage One of the 2018 OVO Energy Tour of Britain in the City of Newport on Sunday and take the first Green Jersey of the race.

The experienced German beat Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-SCOTT) and Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) to claim the victory at the end of the 174.8-kilometre stage, which started in Pembrey Country Park, Carmarthenshire.

It was the German’s sixth stage victory in the race – he has now won stages in England, Scotland and Wales.

Greipel said: “Winning Stage One brings the leader’s jersey with it, which is always a nice thing. This is a big race, so it’s prestigious to wear the jersey in it. We wanted to win a stage, so we’re happy that we made it possible on the first day.”

“I had a really good lead-out by Jasper de Buyst, so I’m happy that I could time it right and finish it off. We expected it to be a bunch sprint – I’m happy that I could win again.

With his opening day victory Greipel takes both the OVO Energy Green Jersey and Wahoo Points Jersey heading into the second stage in Devon on Monday.

A six-rider break had swept up most of the day’s honours, with Nic Dlamnini (Team Dimension Data) taking the SKODA King of the Mountains jersey and Matthew Bostock (Great Britain) the Eisberg Sprints Jersey.

As the race rolled through Carmarthenshire, Powys and Monmouthshire it was Rory Townsend (Canyon Eisberg) who was the last to be caught from the break, finally being reeled in approaching the final SKODA King of the Mountains climb at Belmont Hill on the edge of Newport, with under 10 kilometres remaining.

Team Sky’s pulling at the front of the peloton approaching the climb sparked an attack from home favourite Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), with the Tour de France champion creating a move that dragged clear Quick-Step Floors duo Julian Alaphilppe and Bob Jungles over the top.  The latter held on to his slender advantage until hitting Usk Way, being swept up by the BMC-led peloton under the one-kilometre to go marker, before his team-mate Gaviria hit out at the head of the sprint.

Behind the leading trio of riders in the bunch finish was Gabriel Cullaigh of Team WIGGINS, who took fourth on the road and the Adnams Best British Rider prize. He was presented with his award by Wales Government Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Lord Elis-Thomas who commented:  “I’d like to congratulate the winner of the Wales stage André Greipel – and commend all the participants of this iconic professional race today.

“Having an all-Welsh stage has been fantastic for Wales – especially with the interest in cycling experiencing a boost here after Geraint Thomas’ legendary performance at the Tour de France earlier this summer.  Today has been an excellent showcase of south Wales’ spectacular countryside – with a coastal start and finish a fitting route as we celebrate Wales Year of the Sea in 2018.  

“I’d also like to thank our Local Authority partners for hosting such a successful event, as well as the volunteers and spectators who came out to give the teams a fantastic Welsh welcome.”

Click here to view full results from Stage One.

Highlights of Stage One are on ITV4 at 20:00 on Sunday 2 September with a repeat at 09:40 on Monday 3 September on the same channel, and available on demand via the ITV Hub.

Stage Two will take place in Devon, covering 174.9km between Cranbrook and Barnstaple on the North Devon coast, passing the holiday resorts of Ilfracombe, Woolacombe and Saunton Sands in the closing kilometres.