Chris Opie sprinted to a wonderful third place in the opening stage of the Tour de Yorkshire.
The BIKE Channel Canyon man followed World Tour stars Dylan Groenewegen and Caleb Ewan over the line in the Scarborough finale.
James Lowsley-Williams had earlier starred in a breakaway, bravely fighting for a jersey as he scooped points in each of the first two sprints and KOMs.
After the roll out in Bridlington, Rory Townsend bridged to an early move but it was an eight-man break including his team-mate Lowsley-Williams which eventually stuck. And they quickly built up an advantage of four-and-a-half minutes as the peloton allowed them off the leash.
ONE Pro Cycling’s Kamil Gradek took the first intermediate sprint in Pocklington, with Lowsley-Williams scrapping it out with Team Raleigh’s Yoeri Havik for the minor honours.
The break also included Connor Dunne, of Aqua Blue Sport, Madison Genesis rider Tobyn Horton and Direct Energie’s Perrig Quemeneur.
And it was completed by Roompot’s Etienne van Empel and Angel Madrazo, of Delko Marseille, who were first and second over the first KOM, the Cote de Garrowby Hill, with Lowsley-Williams scooping the remaining points.
Lotto Jumbo, Orica-Scott and Cofidis then took up the chase, for sprinters Dylan Groenewegen, Caleb Ewan and Nacer Bouhanni, and controlled the move at two minutes.
Van Empel clinched the king of the mountains jersey when he was first over the Cote de Goathland, ahead of Dunne and an aggressive Lowsley-Williams.
The climb had taken it’s toll, with Horton, Havik and Gradek dropped, although the latter chased back on in the run into Whitby. And the One Pro man won the following sprint, with Lowsley-Williams just pipped to third by Madrazo in a thrilling tussle.
As the break left Whitby, Quemeneur attacked, drawing Dunne clear as the escape group splintered. These two dug deep to make a valiant bid for the finish but were swept up with around 5km to go as the Irishman was confirmed as the day’s most combative rider.
Then it was eyes down for the sprint finish in Scarborough as Opie mixed it with World Tour rivals to clinch a memorable third place.
Townsend came down in a crash in the final 200m but avoided serious injury.
Dexter Gardias, Max Stedman and Rob Partridge all finished in the front group.