Matt Holmes snuck into fifth position on general classification on the opening day of the Tour du Loir-et-Cher, thanks to gaining a bonus second at the intermediate sprint.
On a stage ruled by a duo of breakaway riders, who took the top-two spots on the road to Vineuil, the peloton followed 22-seconds behind.
All six Madison Genesis riders were safely in the main group, as a high speed sprint for third followed.
Speaking after the stage, Holmes was surprised at the outcome of the first stage and confident for the rest of the race.
“It is a surprise to learn I am fifth on general classification, but I was looking out for the bonus seconds if the chance came to take them.
“The first sprint was full-on with every team involved, so I couldn’t contest that one. But the second one wasn’t contested very much at all – to the point that I thought I had made a mistake and that I had won a sprint without any bonification.”
However, Holmes did just that and with the one-second bonus gained, moved into fifth place overall, on equal time with fourth position, and a single second ahead of 138 other riders.
For the team it was a great start to a race for which, Holmes says they have high ambitions.
“I think we have a good chance to win here. Stages three and four have some good climbs and that’s where either Bibby or I can do well.
“But we can’t wait until then. We’ll be looking to be in a move whenever it comes, because it could be the one that wins the race.
“And when we do make the move, the job isn’t done, you still have to chase the bonus seconds. I think that’s where the race will be won.”
The Tour du Loir-et-Cher continues with stage two and travels 188km from Les Montils to Chailles.