Supporters took to the streets as the Tour of Britain cycle race came to the area for the first time in four years.

The region welcomed Stage One of the event around four years after it welcomed Stage Eight of the event.

This stage, also known as the Grand Départ, was between Altrincham and Manchester but it took in all of the boroughs of Greater Manchester.

In Altrincham, almost 100 riders processed through the town centre then started the cycle race once into the countryside to the south of the town.

They rode anti-clockwise around all of the boroughs of Greater Manchester with highlights including climbs on Grains Bar and Ramsbottom Rake.

On the course the big winner was Olav Kooij, of Jumbo-Visma, after the Dutchman sprinted to success on Deansgate in the city centre.  Belgium's Wout van Aert, of Jumbo-Visma, and Ireland's Sam Bennett, of Bora-Hansgrohe, were in second and third.

Messenger Newspapers: Olav Kooij sprinted to success

Kooij said: "I cannot ask much more than to get a one-two. With Wout in front to get us first and second into the last corner I knew it was straight to the line and we got it.

"We will see day-by-day but we know there is a lot of responsibility on us as a team to control things and to get things together for the sprints or the GC [General Classification]. It is a hard task to get it right and we will see day-by-day how to get it right."

Messenger Newspapers: Olav Kooij sprinted to success

Off the course the big winner was the crowd of thousands who were treated to a star-studded showing wherever on the 160km route they stood.

Amongst them was Tom Ross, the leader of Trafford Council, who stood alongside Dolores O'Sullivan, the Mayor of Trafford, at the start line. 

Cllr Ross said: "To host Stage One of the Tour of Britain is prestigious for us in Altrincham. 

"It brings positive attention to cycling and positive attention to the town."

On Monday the action crosses to North Wales before stages across England.

The Tour of Britain comes to a conclusion in South Wales on September 10. 

This article was written by Jack Tooth. To contact him, email or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.