Throughout the race, service vehicles were kept busy by numerous punctures, including one suffered by Paul Curran which proved significant.
The Optimum Performance team leader was in the stage-winning break 30 miles into the first day, when he came to a juddering halt on a fast descent, his front wheel bumping on the rim. 'It was my last Pirelli,' he groaned later.
Some followers criticised Curran for chasing alone over the next 10 miles, arguing he should have sought refuge in the bunch. Former rival Shane Sutton, who was managing the Wales team, took the opposite view: 'He's a great rider, he really got stuck in. And then, when he did decide to go back to the bunch, he organised the chase. It was bad luck on Paul, but it probably made for a better race.'
Meanwhile the break blew apart on the run-in to Girvan, where North Wirral strongman Chris Newton took the stage and the first yellow jersey from Stuart Dangerfield (Parker International) and Drew Wilson (Optimum Performance).
Had Curran, last year's winner and chasing his fourth Girvan victory, been in at the kill, the race might have turned out differently.
Williams, who had a brief career as a professional, is enjoying a late flowering at the age of 30. National criterium champion in 1994, he achieved his best stage race result last year when he finished second in Ireland's FBD Milk Ras. His highest previous Girvan placing was 14th, but with good morale after a successful spring campaign, he was always a leading contender.