Corbin Strong Wins in Tour of Britain Opening Stage

Corbin Strong Wins in Tour of Britain Opening Stage

Israel – Premier Tech’s Corbin Strong claimed the biggest road victory of his career to date on Sunday as he claimed the opening stage of the AJ Bell Tour of Britain atop Glenshee Ski Centre in Aberdeenshire.

The Kiwi timed his sprint to perfection to pip Omar Fraile (INEOS Grenadiers) to the win at the end of a stage raced out during inclement weather throughout.

This victory is Corbin’s second notable victory in Great Britain in the past month: he also won the scratch won at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Speaking afterwards Strong, who becomes the first rider to don the red AJ Bell leader’s jersey, said; “I’ve been wanting to win at this level on the road for a long time and I always believed I could but it hasn’t been smooth sailing, so to get that win is a massive relief. Really just to prove to myself and prove to my team that I can race at this level. 

“I always really enjoy racing in the rain actually. I come from Invercargill in New Zealand, right down the bottom and it’s very similar to Scotland actually – it felt like home racing in conditions like this, and really suited me well.

“The break looked like they could have gone all the way but then the team, and Alex Dowsett in particular, did an awesome job in the closing few kilometres.

“This is the first time I’ve come into a race at this level with confidence that I can perform and take a win so there was a couple of moments in the last then or so kilometres that I got a wee bit too excited and yeah guys like Mike [Woods] and Dylan [Teuns] just calmed me down a little bit which was nice. Then it just opened up at the finish and I was following Dylan through and I got on INEOS and was able to open up a good sprint.”

A five-rider break had spent much of the day away as wet and stormy conditions swept the route right from the start in Aberdeen city centre out into the Aberdeenshire countryside.  Uno-X Pro Cycling rider Martin Urianstad was joined by duos from both Wiv SunGod (Jacob Scott and Matt Teggart) and Human Powered Health (Matt Gibson and Stephen Bassett) for a quintet that built a lead that went out as far as five minutes.

Bassett and Teggart took the ŠKODA King of the Mountains jersey and Sprints jerseys respectively, while Gibson’s reward was a trip to the podium for the Adyen Combativity Award.

The group made it until the higher slopes of the climb up to the Glenshee Ski Centre as Israel – Premier Tech and then INEOS Grenadiers drove the peloton.

TRINITY Racing’s Thomas Gloag was the first to jump, catching the break and briefly threatening to go away before the bunch reeled everyone in with 1.6 kilometres to go.  Richie Porte (INEOS Grenadiers) did the lions share of the work on the front, but as the slow uphill sprint unfolded it was the team of Israel – Premier Tech that came out on top.

Strong now holds a four-second lead over Fraile in the general classification, with third-placed stage finisher Anders Halland Johannessen (Uno-X Pro Cycling) a further two seconds in arrears.  Fifth-placed Tom Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers) is the highest placed British rider.