Rory Townsend sprinted to eighth place on stage one of the UCI 2.1 Tour of Almaty in Kazakhstan on Saturday.
The 22-year-old, from Addlestone in Surrey, was second in the bunch kick after six riders from the day’s breakaway filled the top positions in the 171.2km opening skirmish.
Reigning champion Alexey Lutsenko, of the home nation’s World Tour outfit Astana, took the victory, finishing 19 seconds in front of Delko Marseille’s Rémy Di Grégorio.
The 25-year-old Kazakh, who won a stage of the Vuelta a España in September after placing ninth in the youth classification at the Tour de France, showed his strength in the finale in Almaty.
He finished 65 seconds in front of the peloton, led home by Yevgeniy Gidich, of Vino Astana Motors, and the fast-finishing Townsend.
Harry Tanfield was 24th and Alex Richardson 41st, while climbers Mitchell Webber and Max Stedman were safely in the main bunch at 61st and 62nd, respectively.
In the general classification, Tanfield sits ninth at 1min 15sec and Townsend 12th at 1.17. Richardson, Webber and Stedman are also at 1.17 ahead of the 160.5km second stage.
Sunday’s finale includes the climb up to the Medeo Sports Complex, which at 1,691m above sea level is set to decide the overall winner.
Lutsenko has won the past three editions of the Tour of Almaty, including a victory over Fabio Aru in the 2015 contest.
Prior to his suspension for testing positive for EPO in 2014, Maxim Iglinsky won the inaugural race, from Sonny Colbrelli, in 2013.
Townsend was second in the 1.2 Midden Brabant Poort Omloop, fourth in the 1.2 Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic and ninth in the 1.1 Rad Am Ring Rudi Altig Race earlier this season.
He also clinched the British Cycling HSBC Spring Cup crown with a string of superb performa