CYCLING: Ed Clements strikes early in 2016 Tour of the North

Ed Clements who claimed the first yellow jersey of the Tour of the North
Ed Clements who claimed the first yellow jersey of the Tour of the North

Ed Clements (Spirit Bikes) is the first yellow jersey of the 2016 Tour of the North after winning the opening stage at Kirkistown Motor racing circuit.

Clements was one minute four seconds clear of his (Spirit Bikes) team-mate Jake Hales with 18-year-old Declan Mulholland (Team Asea Wheelworx) third and last year’s Tour of the North winner David Watson (North Down CC) fourth.

The one-hour stage on the exposed circuit was an aggressive contest with the high winds causing splits in the 110 strong peloton early in the race.

Clements powered clear of a 10-man leading group just after half distance and soloed to an impressive win.

His team-mate Hales took the sprint for second to end a memorable night for the Bedfordshire based Spirit Bikes Team, which won the team competition in last year’s Tour.

Mulholland leads the Under 23 Competition and will wear the White leaders jersey in today’s Stage 2 on the Ards Peninsula which starts in Portaferry 11am.