Italian sprinter Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) won the opening race of the 2014 Mallorca Challenge, the Trofeo Palma, on Sunday.

Modolo cruised in ahead of Belgian Jens Debusschere (Lotto-Belisol) with Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen (De Rijke) completing the podium in third.

David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) was the top-placed British rider in 19th, kicking off his final season as a professional with a solid result. Fellow Brits Ben Swift (Sky), Peter Kennaugh (Sky), Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge), Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEdge), Erick Rowsell (NetApp-Endura) and Jonathan McEvoy (NetApp-Endura) also lined up for the early-season warm-up race.

Bradley Wiggins will make his season debut at the Trofeo Campos on Monday, the second of the four Challenge Mallorca races. The Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana takes place on Tuesday (February 11) and Trofeo Alcudia on Wednesday (February 12). Although the races are run back-to-back, the Mallorca Challenge is not a stage race, teams and riders are free to dip in and out of the individual days.

Jens DEBUSSCHERE (Lotto Belsiol), Sacha MODOLO (Lampre Merida) and Dylan GROENEWEGEN (Cyclingteam De Rijke ) on the podium following the 2014 Trofeo Palma - Mallorca Challenge

Jens Debusschere (Lotto Belsiol), Sacha Modolo (Lampre Merida) and Dylan Groenewegen (Cyclingteam De Rijke ) on the podium following the 2014 Trofeo Palma – Mallorca Challenge

Ludvigsson wins Etoile de Besseges

Tobias Ludvigsson (Giant-Shimano) won the five-stage Etoile de Besseges in France on Sunday after claiming the French race’s final time trial.

The Swedish rider finished four seconds ahead of Jerome Coppel (Cofidis) overall, with Giant-Shimano sprinter John Degenkolb in third at five seconds.

Worth noting is that Europcar fastman Bryan Coquard got the better of both Degenkolb and Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) to take two stage wins in the event.

Mark McNally (An Post-Chain Reaction) was Britain’s only finisher in the race, placing 57th overall.

Tobias Ludvigsson on his way to winning Stage 5 of the 2014 Etoile de Besseges

Tobias Ludvigsson on his way to winning Stage 5 of the 2014 Etoile de Besseges

John Degenkolb, Tobias Ludvigsson and Jerome Coppel on the final podium after Stage 5 of the 2014 Etoile de Besseges

John Degenkolb, Tobias Ludvigsson and Jerome Coppel on the final podium after Stage 5 of the 2014 Etoile de Besseges

Clarke wins bushfire-affected Jayco Herald Sun Tour

Simon Clarke continued Orica-GreenEdge’s utter dominance of home races by winning the Jayco Herald SunTour in Australia on Sunday.

However, there was no big showdown with the final stage cancelled due to danger posed by nearby bushfires.

Clarke topped the podium eight seconds ahead of Cameron Wurf (Cannondale) with Jack Haig (Avanti) in third.

There was a strong British contingent in the race, with a national Great Britain team taking part. Scott Davies was the best finisher in 31st place and seventh in the best young rider classification.

Nineteen-year-old Londoner Germain Burton made his mark in the opening prologue, placing 10th only six seconds behind  winner Jack Bauer (Garmin-Sharp).