Denmark's Martin Pedersen won the first stage of the 2006 Tour of Britain - just reward for a day-long breakaway over the 162.6 kilometres from Glasgow to Castle Douglas near the border with England.
The 23-year-old CSC rider won a sprint for the line ahead of the Spaniard Luis Pasamontes of Unibet and Mat Goss of South Australia.com-AIS, with the trio making their move just 25km into the race.
Two minutes and 51 seconds separated them from the rest of the field, although their lead was more than 11 minutes at one stage. "Because there weren't many teams up there, everyone just left it to everyone else," said Roger Hammond, leader of the Great Britain team. "Quick Step left it to T-Mobile, T-Mobile left it to CSC and it was only with 30km to go they thought they'd better do something."
John Herety, manager of the British Recycling.co.uk team, blamed a malfunction in the race radio. "Race radio not working caught a lot of teams out," said Herety. "We didn't hear how big the gap was until it was eight minutes. It's not a complaint but it did compound our problem."
Riding for one of the stronger teams in the race, Pedersen is now a good bet to retain the race leadership all the way to London, just as Nick Nuyens did last year.
Speaking of the top three, Hammond said: "Realistically, if one of those guys has a decent team they should stay in front."
Hammond has spent the past two years with Lance Armstrong's Discovery team but the 32-year-old Oxfordian is on the verge of a move with the German outfit T-Mobile expected to be the destination. He had a quiet day yesterday, finishing in the bunch, but could be in action again today on stage two from Blackpool to Liverpool.