Appollonio takes opening stage win in Tour du Poitou
Team Sky's Davide Appollonio has won the opening stage of the Tour du Poitou-Charentes in Cognac.
Appollonio's team-mate Greg Henderson was the next best-placed rider for the British-based Sky team, coming home in 14th place in a field which also features Thomas Voeckler, who was fourth in this year's Tour de France.
After an initial attempt at a breakaway from the field was pegged back, a second group of three riders went clear and opened up a lead of three minutes 30 seconds, staying well ahead of the field for much of the day.
But with 10km remaining, Team Sky's riders reeled them in, setting up the position for Appollonio to make his dash for the line in the final 150m.
"The team came to the front in final three kilometres and we did a perfect job with the team for the lead out. We had the best result we could ask for," said the Italian rider afterwards.
“Tomorrow is another day. We have a really good team and day by day we will try to do the best. Maybe tomorrow we can try for another victory -- we will see.
"In the Giro I saw that I can be really good. I didn’t think that I could be this fast but when I have good shape I think I have shown I have the speed.
"The team believe in me and race by race I think I am growing. I am young but if you have no stress and feel good within the team I think I can show my pace. I am really happy with this victory."
Stage one results:
1. Davide Appollonio (Ita) Sky Procycling
2. Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Europcar
3. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
4. Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
5. Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
6. Jetse Bol (Ned) Rabobank Continental
7. Anthony Ravard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
8. Jasper Bovenhuis (Ned) Rabobank Continental
9. Moreno Hofland (Ned) Rabobank Continental
10. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar