London - Former Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins quit the Tour de Yorkshire
during the opening stage as LottoNL-Jumbo's Dylan Groenewegen took the
overall lead on Friday.
Making one of his final appearances in a road race, Wiggins climbed
off his bike 26km from the finish of the 187km route from
Beverley to Settle.
The 2012 Tour de France winner had been riding towards the back of
the peloton on an unseasonably cold day as they raced along roads which
had been dusted with snow at dawn.
Wiggins, who turned 36 on Thursday, was dropped by the pack as they
approached the only categorised climb of the day at Greenhow Hill and
abandoned soon after the descent.
Four-time Olympic champion Wiggins did not give any interviews after
the race, but used his Instagram account to explain he had to give
priority to his ambitions on the track at the Rio Olympics in August.
"Great atmosphere in Yorkshire today. It was a tough day's racing so
thanks to everyone who braved the weather and came out," he wrote.
"The boys and I really appreciate it. I'm gutted not to join you into the weekend but Rio needs to take priority."
The stage, which had seen riders battle biting temperatures and
howling headwinds in the Dales, ended in a bunch sprint as Groenewegen
beat Orica-GreenEdge's Caleb Ewan, who found himself boxed in on the
narrow finishing straight.
"It was very good lead-out from my team," said Groenewegen. "It was
perfect. The last corner I took the lead and I could hold it to the
"I'm very happy with this win, it's very good for me and the team."