Tour of Britain: Britain's Mark Cavendish wins stage one for HTC Highroad

Mark Cavendish (right)
Cavendish (right) prevailed in a sprint finish to win stage one

British rider Mark Cavendish has won stage one of the Tour of Britain after a sprint finish in Dumfries.

The Manxman, winner of 20 stages of the Tour de France, last rode the Tour of Britain in 2007 when he won the opening two stages of the race.

In July, the HTC Highroad rider was Britain's first winner of the green jersey for the best sprinter in the Tour de France.

"It's incredible to win the first stage and get the leader's jersey," he said.

Russell Hampton (Sigma Sport-Specialized) and Pieter Ghyllebert (An Post) opened up a six-minute lead over the peloton after launching an early breakaway on a day of unforgiving Scottish weather but HTC Highroad and Team Sky worked together to reel them in.

Hampton and Ghyllebert were caught with less than 10km to go and Cavendish, 26, comfortably won the sprint finish after he was superbly positioned at the front by Australian team-mate and long-standing lead-out man Mark Renshaw, who finished second with Netherlands' Theo Bos third.

"If the weather had been better we would have been a bit quicker but I think it would still have been the same result," added Cavendish.

"I am going to try and defend the jersey and try and get another stage win. Hopefully it will be a sprint again."

Cavendish had been given special dispensation to return to the race this year by world cycling's governing body the UCI following his decision to withdraw from the Vuelta a Espanaexternal-link.

And the Manxman paid special tribute to the support from the crowd after his stage win.

"We had wicked support today," added Cavendish. "The amount of cheers and banners along the stage was brilliant. Super encouraging.

"You wouldn't expect this is Britain and it's very different to when I last raced here in 2007. It's very nice. This event is certainly growing."

He was joined in the top 10 after the first stage by a host of fellow Britons, with Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) fifth, Ben Swift (Team Sky) seventh, Roger Hammond (Garmin Cervelo) ninth and Ian Wilkinson (Endura Racing).

Cavendish and the other riders leave Kendal on Monday for the 85.6-mile (137.7km) second stage to Blackpool.

The tour, which started in Peebles, finishes in London on 18 September.

Top 10 finishers in the 1st stage of the Tour of Britain, a 105.8-mile (170.3km) from Peebles to Dumfries:

1. Mark Cavendish (GB/HTCHighroad)4hrs 41mins 06secs

2. Mark Renshaw(AUS/HTCHighroad)same time

3. Theo Bos(NED/Rabobank)same time

4. Barry Markus(NED/Vacansoleil-DCM)same time

5. Geraint Thomas (GB/SkyProCycling)same time

6. Robert Forster(GER/UnitedHealthcare)same time

7. Ben Swift(GB/SkyProCycling)same time

8. Lars Boom(NED/Rabobank)same time

9. Roger Hammond (GB/TeamGarmin-Cervelo) same time

10. Ian Wilkinson(GB/EnduraRacing)same time