• Tour of Britain, Stage One

Cavendish storms home in the driving rain

ESPN staff
September 11, 2011
Mark Cavendish is preparing for the World Road Race Championships later this month © PA Photos

Mark Cavendish braved atrocious weather conditions to claim the opening stage of the Tour of Britain, from Peebles to Dumfries.

With high winds and driving rain to contend with, Cavendish triumphed at the end of a bunch sprint, ahead of his HTC team-mate Mark Renshaw.

Cavendish, who claimed the green jersey at this year's Tour de France, is using the event as a warm-up for the World Road Race Championships later this month, having been forced to withdraw from the Vuelta due to sickness.

He sealed an 11th victory of the season thanks to fine lead-out work from the HTC team, which is disbanding at the end of the season.

Russell Hampton (Sigma Sport) and Pieter Ghyllebert (An-Post) formed an early breakaway group, a thankless task with the winds constantly buffeting them. They were eventually swallowed up by the peloton with nine kilometres left, setting the scene for Cavendish's dash to the line.

A crash early in the stage involving several of the riders led to German veteran Jens Voigt (Leopard-Trek) withdrawing from the race with a suspected broken finger.

Cavendish will wear the yellow jersey for Monday's stage two, which begins in Kendal.

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