Posted by Editoress on 01/21/14
Australian Simon Gerrans has continued his impressive season start and signalled his intention to claim his third Santos Tour Down Under crown with a stunning sprint to win the San Remo Pasta Stage 1 in Angaston.
Gerrans, who won the Australian Open Road Race title a little over a week ago, has given his Orica-GreenEDGE team more reason to celebrate with today's win ahead of the more fancied sprinter André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) of Germany. Australian Steele Von Hoff (Garmin-Sharp) was third across the line.
Photo courtesy Orica-GreenEDGE
"I guess I’ve surprised a few, myself included," said Gerrans who won the Santos Tour Down Under in 2006 and 2012. "Obviously André (Greipel) is one of the fastest sprinters around.
"It was a tough finale and everyone was tired. I had to sprint really late because of the head wind (and) looking towards the end of the week, it might have been better if André had the lead but we’ve seen in the past few years that this race is won or lost by seconds, so you have to take every opportunity.
"Every second counts," said Gerrans. "I hope it’s not too early to hold the jersey but we have a fantastic squad here, so I’m optimistic for keeping the lead till the end."
He crossed the line in a time of 3h20m34s and his results today has put him into the Santos Ochre Leader's jersey and with the time bonuses he collected today he now has a lead of five seconds on Greipel with Von Hoff third at seven seconds.
The 135 kilometre stage began in the town of Nuriootpa and wound it's way through the Barossa winegrowing region to the nearby town of Angaston. The stage had been in doubt due to a bushfire at Eden Valley, 18km south of Angaston that had been burning since Friday, but after getting the all clear from the Country Fire Service and South Australian Police the 138 world class cyclists lined up to kick off the 2014 WorldTour. They were greeted enthusiastically by an estimated 88 thousand fans who flocked to the area to support both the event and the local economy.
"We'd like to say thanks to all those who came out today and at this difficult time would like to especially thank the locals for their support," said Race Director Mike Turtur. "The riders really appreciate it and we hope the race going ahead today has provided a boost for the region."
The race travelled through scenic vineyards for two circuits before being led onto Menglers Hill by Team Sky for the Category 1 Climb that tested the legs of the peloton
The main contenders stayed in touch up the climb before Australian Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol) attacked close to the top to score the major points for the day and in the process the lead in the Skoda King of the Mountain classification. Second over the line was Frenchman Axel Domont followed by Laurent Didier (LUX | Trek Factory Racing).
"Garmin-Sharp and Sky were pulling in the climb but I was in a very good position, so I decided to have a go and see what happened," said Hansen who is a key workhorse for team mate Greipel. "It’s a nice jersey to have but I don’t think I’ll fight to defend it. Our main goal remains to win a stage and I’ll work for that as a priority."
Hansen was reeled in soon after before Japanese rider Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar) and team mate Bjorn Thurau from Germany broke away. But despite a second surge from Thurau and a bid by Australian Rory Sutherland (Tinkoff-Saxo) to escape the sprinter's trains brought it back together to set up a bunch sprint.
All bets were on Greipel, a prolific stage winner and 2008 and 2010 overall winner of the Santos Tour Down Under, but after the stage he admitted today's course wasn't suited to his style of sprinting.
"It was a perfect finish for Gerro [Gerrans] today," said Greipel. "The gearing was just too hard for me today.
"It wasn't a bunch sprint today, it was very hard today, and I am no climber. I tried to go up as fast as possible, so it's a good sign that the condition is there but the headwind played against us today."
Third placed Von Hoff was pleased to be in the placings.
"We had really good teamwork today," said Von Hoff of his Garmin-Sharp line up. "They rode for me all day. The sprint was very hard. I didn't quite have the legs to come around Gerro [ Gerrans].
"The legs are going well, so we're hoping for a good week," he said. "Third is not bad. It shows I'm in good condition."
Early in the stage two riders broke way and forged a lead of more than three minutes. Drapac's Will Clarke (AUS) won the first of the Adam Internet intermediate sprints in Bethany at 26km while his breakaway companion Neil van der Ploeg of the UniSA-Australia team was second. Simon Geschke (GER | Giant-Shimano) led the the main field across the line for third.
At the second Adam Internet sprint, also at Bethany, 72km into the stage it was van der Ploeg who crossed ahead of Clarke while Gerrans grabbed a one second time bonus for third place.
Clarke was named the Europcar Most Competitive rider of the day for his efforts in the early breakaway.
"The team’s plan was to have one of us in the breakaway. The first attempt worked, which is not really that common," said Clarke. "It was me and Neil Van der Ploeg. It was nice to be up there. But they worked pretty well together in the peloton. They never let us go far. I was hoping for a lead of six or seven minutes but we didn’t even reached four minutes.
"Possibly some teams remembered that I won in Stirling two years ago surviving such a breakaway."
Spain was also represented today with Carlos Verona taking the lead in the Cycle Instead Young Rider category. The Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider is ranked 15th overall at 15 seconds.
"In the last climb, we were going to prepare the finale for Matteo Trentin but he didn’t overcome the climb," said Verona. "Jan Bakelants, Julian Alaphilippe and I made the front group. I was working for Bakelants but I found myself ahead of him and I finished seventh, which gives me the best young rider jersey.
"I’m happy about that but our goal remains to ride GC (overall) for Bakelants," said Verona. "If I can remain the best young rider, it would be a bonus."
Tour Down Under press release
|Stage 1: Nuriootpa to Angaston, 135 km|
|1 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE||3:20:34|
|2 Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol|
|3 Steele von Hoff (Aus) Garmin-Sharp|
|4 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida|
|5 Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale|
|6 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana|
|7 Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano|
|8 Rafael Valls (Esp) Lampre-Merida|
|9 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC|
|10 Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin|
|11 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky||all s.t.|
|12 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto-Belisol||0:04|
|13 Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin-Sharp|
|14 Daryl Impey (Rsa) Orica-GreenEDGE|
|15 Carlos Verona (Esp) Omega Pharma-Quick Step|
|16 Rory Sutherland (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo|
|17 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC|
|18 Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing|
|19 Ruben Plaza (Esp) Movistar|
|20 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step|
|21 George Bennett (NZl) Cannondale|
|22 Angelo Tulik (Fra) Europcar|
|23 Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Astana|
|24 Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Drapac|
|25 Darren Lapthorne (Aus) Drapac|
|26 Philip Deignan (Irl) Team Sky|
|27 Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE|
|28 Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC|
|29 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky|
|30 Laurent Didier (Lux) Trek Factory Racing|
|31 Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ.fr|
|32 Christpher Juul Jensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo|
|33 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana|
|34 Cameron Wurf (Aus) Cannondale|
|35 Bernard Sulzberger (Aus) Drapac|
|36 Luca Wackermann (Ita) Lampre-Merida|
|37 Amael Moinard (Fra) BMC|
|38 Steve Morabito (Sui) BMC|
|39 Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Europcar|
|40 Danny van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory|
|41 Axel Domont (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale|
|42 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step|
|43 Robbie Hucker (Aus) Drapac|
|44 Jan Bakelants (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step|
|45 Anthony Giacoppo (Aus) UniSA -Australia|
|46 Stig Broeckx (Bel) Lotto-Belisol|
|47 Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC|
|48 Mark O'Brien (Aus) UniSA -Australia|
|49 Julien Berard (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale|
|50 Caleb Fairly (USA) Garmin-Sharp|
|51 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto-Belisol|
|52 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE|
|53 Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha|
|54 Pierre-Henri Lecuisinier (Fra) FDJ.fr|
|55 Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ.fr|
|56 Danilo Wyss (Sui) BMC|
|57 Bjorn Hurau (Ger) Europcar|
|58 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana|
|59 Egor Silin (Rus) Katusha|
|60 Jack Haig (Aus) UniSA -Australia|
|61 Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto-Belisol|
|62 Nathan Earle (Aus) Team Sky|
|63 Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin-Sharp|
|64 Lachlan Morton (Aus) Garmin-Sharp|
|65 Jens Voigt (Ger) Trek Factory Racing|
|66 Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto-Belisol|
|67 Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Astana|
|68 Javier Moreno (Esp) Movistar|
|69 Jose Joaquin Rojas (Esp) FDJ.fr||all s.t.|
|70 Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Drapac||2:20|
|71 Travis Meyer (Aus) Drapac|
|72 Matejv Mohoric (Slo) Cannondale|
|73 Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida|
|74 Thierry Hupond (Fra) Team Giant-Shimano|
|75 Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Katusha|
|76 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma-Quick Step|
|77 Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) FDJ.fr|
|78 Boy van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory|
|79 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale|
|80 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano|
|81 William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ.fr|
|82 Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha|
|83 Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ.fr|
|84 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale|
|85 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quick Step|
|86 Andrew Fenn (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step|
|87 Guillaume Boivin (Can) Cannondale|
|88 Guillaume Bonnafond (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale|
|89 Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin-Sharp|
|90 Arnaud Courteille (Fra) FDJ.fr|
|91 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin-Sharp|
|92 Nicki Sorensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo|
|93 Kevin Reza (Fra) Europcar|
|94 Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky|
|95 Caleb Ewan (Aus) UniSA -Australia||all s.t.|
|96 Michael Kolar (Slo) Tinkoff-Saxo||3:52|
|97 Nicolay Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo|
|98 Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory Racing|
|99 Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano||all s.t.|
|100 Stef Clement (Ned) Belkin||3:56|
|101 Jack Bobridge (Aus) Belkin|
|102 Bradley Linfield (Aus) UniSA -Australia|
|103 Jérome Cousin (Fra) Europcar|
|104 Ivan Jose Gutierrez (Esp) Movistar|
|105 Calvin Watson (Aus) Trek Factory Racing|
|106 Mikhail Ignatyev (Rus) Katusha|
|107 Matthias Krizek (Aut) Cannondale|
|108 Imanol Erviti (Esp) Movistar|
|109 Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano|
|110 Aleksandr Porsev (Rus) Katusha|
|111 Evan Huffman (USA) Astana|
|112 Bram Tankink (Ned) Belkin|
|113 Michael Andersen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo|
|114 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana|
|115 Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha||all s.t.|
|116 Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Astana||5:53|
|117 José Juan Lobato (Esp) Movistar||6:54|
|118 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE||8:08|
|119 Matthew Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE|
|120 Bernard Eisel (Aut) Team Sky|
|121 Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE|
|122 Luke Rowe (Gbr) Team Sky|
|123 Jay McCarthy (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo|
|124 Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Lotto-Belisol|
|125 Campbell Flakemore (Aus) UniSA -Australia|
|126 Neil van der Ploeg (Aus) UniSA -Australia|
|127 Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale|
|128 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida|
|129 Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre-Merida|
|130 Graeme Brown (Aus) Belkin|
|131 Damien Gaudin (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale|
|132 Maxime Daniel (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale|
|133 William Clarke (Aus) Drapac|
|134 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano|
|135 Thomas Peterson (USA) Team Giant-Shimano|
|136 Rick Flens (Ned) Belkin|
|137 Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida||all s.t.|
|138 David Tanner (Aus) Belkin||0:00|
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