News: Greipel Wins Opening Stage of the Tour Down Under

Heat and a gusting wind made life difficult for the riders in the Tour Down Under where former stage winner at the Tour of Britain, Andre Greipel won his second race in the event.

Greipel dodges crash and grabs race lead
German sprint sensation Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) simply sizzled today to claim the opening stage of the Santos Tour Down Under by a mere half a wheel from Italy’s Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) with Yauheni Hutarovich from Belarus (FDJ-BigMat) a bike length back in third place.

The 149 kilometre stage took the riders from Prospect, north of Adelaide, into the searing heat of a 40-plus degrees celsius South Australian summer day with gusty, blustery winds making it tough going for the 133 world class cyclists who reached the finish line in Clare more than half an hour later than expected.

The heat didn’t deter the fans with an estimated 95 thousand grabbing whatever shade they could find to wait for the stars of world cycling to come their way with many taking part in one of the many community events staged in support of the race.

The start of stage one in Prospect, Adelaide northern suburb Photo: Santos Tour Down Under / Regallo

When the riders eventually reached Clare a high speed crash 800 metres from the line split the peloton leaving the major sprinters scrabbling for position. Greipel was one of around 20 who were quick to recover their composure and forge ahead to contest the finish. Any riders caught up in the crash were given the same time as the winner because the crash occurred within three kilometres of the finish.

“I’m lucky that I won today,” said Greipel who also won Sunday’s curtain raiser Down Under Classic. “There has been a massive crash with 800 metres to go, my pedal got touched and I lost positions from about fifth to twentieth. But I could bridge the gap.

“Two of my team-mates crashed,” said a concerned Greipel. “That’s all I care about after winning this stage. We had a really hard time today with the high temperatures.”

In the wake of the crash three riders and a spectator were taken to hospital. Italian Matteo Montaguti (AG2R-La Mondiale) was treated for grazes but later released from SportsMed Adelaide after x-rays showed no fracture of his collar bone. FDJ-BigMat rider Frederic Guesdon (FRA) has been admitted to Royal Adelaide Hospital with a fractured pelvis and is likely to remain there for at least a few days to allow the break to stabilise. Greipel’s team mate Jurgen Roelandts (BEL) was also taken to Royal Adelaide Hospital for precautionary scans with the results expected overnight. A spectator caught up in the crash was treated at Clare Hospital.

The lead group of 4 right to left UniSA-Australia’s Rohan Dennis, Germany Martin Kohler (BMC), Russian Eduard Vorganov (Katusha) and Marcello Pavarin (Vacansoleil-DCM). Photo: Santos Tour Down Under / Regallo

Greipel’s victory has put him into the Santos Ochre Leader’s Jersey with a four second margin over Petacchi. He also leads the Jayco Sprint Classification.

At the start of the stage four riders launched an early attack and established a lead of more than ten minutes by the 20 kilometre mark. Amongst them was UniSA-Australia’s Rohan Dennis, who last week claimed both the under-23 time trial and road race national titles. With the young South Australian was Marcello Pavarin (Vacansoleil-DCM), German Martin Kohler (BMC) and Russian Eduard Vorganov (Katusha).

At the first Jayco intermediate sprint at Kapunda (75km) Kohler was awarded the win with Vorganov relegated to last place in the sprint for not holding his line. Kohler also claimed maximum points and a three second time bonus at the second sprint prime in Riverton (104km).

Today’s only Skoda King of the Mountain contest was a category three climb at Taylors Run and it was Pavarin who grabbed the points to secure the early lead in the polka dot jersey competition.

Rohan Dennis collected three bonus seconds for his placings in the Jayco intermediate sprints to put him in the Cycle Instead Young Rider jersey as the best placed rider overall under the age of 25.

“It was exceptionally hot today and the wind made it virtually impossible at times. At one point we were only doing 20km an hour,” said Dennis. “At the finish I stayed well back to let the sprinters go, I am glad I did, when the crash happened I was able to avoid it and stay with the bunch.”

Two out of two so far for Andre Greipel in the Tour Down Under. Photo: Santos Tour Down Under / Regallo

Team & Rider Reactions

Teammate to Andre Greipel, Kiwi Greg Henderson said afterwards “Shame about the crashes. Bit sore tomorrow. Few stitches in my knee. Headwind sprint is hard to control. Nice win again for @Lotto_Belisol”. Aussie legend Stuart O’Grady on Twitter, that was a mad hard stage. The heat and wind was crazy! I was suffering. Imagine the europeans! Hope all that hit the deck are ok. More tomorrow! ” Liverpool’s Matt Brammeier meanwhile had this to say on Twitter, “I drank 18 bottles today and didn’t p#ss once!”

Mark Renshaw meanwhile did not get the dream start to his time as a dedicated sprinter for Rabobank saying “Very tough finish to judge today. Crazy final with the head wind. Had a good wheel at 500m but ran out of legs, congrats to Andre. 10kgs of ice is cooling me down… Brrr. One hot day !” Raleigh’s Bernard Sulzberger said “Some how I avoided the crash, had to go bush to miss it… Good ride by Rohan Dennis in the young riders jersey”. Robbie Hunter had this to say about the crash “What a day & a huge crash 900 to go! I really hope the lady who got hit is ok.. Some idiots just risk way to much in the finals…”

GreenEdge rider Cameron Meyer “That was a very uncomfortable and horrible bike race. Hope everyone in the crash are ok along with the hit spectator.” Kiwi Hayden Roulston said of the hot weather, “What a hot one out there today! I seen 50 degrees on the SRM and that was half way through the stage. Mad finish. Few mad men out there!”

Blythe down in the crash

Sheffield’s Adam Blythe (BMC) complained of suspect tactics on the SBS website in Australia, saying “Two Vacansoleil riders caused the crash. To have two teammates causing a crash when they’re not fighting against each other is just stupid.Under-eights racing don’t do that, it’s just ridiculous. They’re not riding with their eyes closed.  The two guys who came down are both on their 2nd crash each after 3 days, and are team mates!”

Blythe suffered minor road rash, but was not seriously hurt. BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Rik Verbrugghe said other than the crash, it was a good start to the six-day race. “It was unfortunate we had bad luck with Adam because he told me he was feeling good,” Verbrugghe said. “What Martin did today was good for the team and good motivation to try to do something. Our team has a good mentality.”

Adam Blythe’s teammate,  Kohler won both time bonus sprints along the 149 km route, moving him into third overall behind stage winner André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol).

The peloton suffered in the 40 degree plus heat today on stage 1. Photo: Santos Tour Down Under / Regallo

From Bennati & Voigt (Radioshack/Nissan/Trek)
Taking fifth on the stage, Daniele Bennati (RadioShack/Nissan/Trek) was satisfied with his results.  “I am happy about today.  At this point I don’t have 100% condition and I’ve been a little bit sick, but I have good sensations and tomorrow I will try for the sprint victory.  Stage 2 has an uphill sprint and that is much better for me.  Today the last 300 meters were downhill and that’s just not perfect for my type of sprint.  It was a fast sprint today and it was the first sprint of the season so many of the guys were fresh but we were going right into a head wind.  I have to say it was a good job from my teammates, especially Jesse and Hayden.”

The ever expereinced Jens Voigt speaking on RadioShack/Nissan/Trek’s website said of the crash, “As far as I saw they went too far right on that side of the road,” explained team rider Jens Voigt.  “They ran off the smooth surface of the road and got caught in the loose gravel or they hit a spectator.  Maybe someone just hit a spectator and caused the chain reaction in the peloton with another ten or twelve riders going down.  It was a fast crash and looked pretty painful too.  Nobody from our team was hurt.  We delivered Bennati just in front of that and we were more on the left side so we were safe.  I mean it was stressful and it was close, but we were safe.”

Team Sky’s Sean Yates “… a tough ordeal but relieved to see the Team Sky riders emerge unscathed from the crash. It was very hot out there and pretty tough with the headwind. Having that four-man break go away was the perfect situation for us because we wanted the sprint and knew it would eventually come back together. It was just a question of surviving as best we could in the conditions.”

“Everyone shared responsibility on the front because no one team wanted to overcook it and Danny and Alex both did their bit. The break came back with about 10km to go and we put CJ in the right place but unfortunately the others came around him. The crash disrupted things as well and hopefully no one was seriously hurt.”

NEXT STAGE: Coleman’s Group Stage 2 will take the race into the Adelaide Hills for a 148 kilometre route from Lobethal to Stirling.

RELATED LINK: Greipel sprint train delivers victory–  Down Under Classic

The peloton streams along the northern expressway. Photo: Santos Tour Down Under / Regallo

Andre Greipel dons the ochre leader’s jersey. Photo: Santos Tour Down Under / Regallo

Stage Result
1.  André Greipel, Lotto-Belisol  4:33:40
2.  Alessandro Petacchi, Lampre – ISD
3.  Yauheni Hutarovich, FDJ – BigMat
4.  Fabio Sabatini, Liquigas – Cannondale
5.  Daniele Bennati, RadioShack-Nissan
6.  Christopher Sutton, Sky Procycling
7.  Jonathan Cantwell, Team Saxo Bank
8.  Xavier Florencio, Cabrè Katusha
9.  Mark Renshaw, Rabobank
10.  Manuel Belletti, AG2R La Mondiale
11.  Tom Palmer, UNI SA – Australia
12.  Michael Matthews, Rabobank
13.  William Bonnet, FDJ – BigMat
14.  Romain Lemarchand, AG2R La Mondiale
15.  Geraint Thomas, Sky Procycling
16.  Gatis Smukulis, Katusha
17.  Andreas Klier, Garmin-Barracuda
18.  Mathew Hayman, Sky Procycling
19.  Romain Sicard, Euskaltel-Euskadi
20.  Gorka Izagirre Inausti, Euskaltel-Euskadi
21.  Adam Hansen, Lotto-Belisol
22.  Jan Bakelants, RadioShack-Nissan
23.  Ruben Perez Moreno, Euskaltel-Euskadi
24.  Blel Kadri, La Mondiale
25.  Alex Dowsett, Sky Procycling
26.  Marcel Sieberg, Lotto-Belisol
27.  Vincente Reynes Mimo, Lotto-Belisol
28.  Danilo Hondo, Lampre – ISD
29.  Luke Roberts, Team Saxo Bank
30.  Giampaolo Caruso, Katusha
31.  Romain Feillu, Vacansoleil -DCM
32.  Alessandro Ballan, BMC
33.  José Ivan Gutierrez, Movistar
34.  Ricardo Garcia Ambroa, Euskaltel-Euskadi
35.  Simon Gerrans, GreenEDGE
36.  Imanol Erviti, Movistar
37.  Pablo Urtasun Perez, Euskaltel-Euskadi
38.  Sergey Lagutin, Vacansoleil -DCM
39.  Hayden Roulston, RadioShack-Nissan
40.  Boris Shpilevsky, AG2R La Mondiale
41.  Graeme Brown, Rabobank
42.  Federico Canuti, Liquigas – Cannondale
43.  Alan Marangoni, Liquigas – Cannondale
44.  Stefano Agostini, Liquigas – Cannondale
45.  Mauro Da Dalto, Liquigas – Cannondale
46.  Michael Rogers, Sky Procycling
47.  Maxim Belkov, Katusha
48.  Serge Pauwels, Omega Pharma-QuickStep
49.  Jesse Sergent, RadioShack-Nissan
50.  David Lopez, Movistar
51.  Jens Voigt, RadioShack-Nissan
52.  Kristijan Koren, Liquigas – Cannondale
53.  Eduard Vorganov, Katusha
54.  Sérgio Paulinho, Team Saxo Bank
55.  Marcus Burghardt, BMC
56.  Sandy Casar, FDJ – BigMat
57.  Luis Leon Sanchez, Rabobank
58.  Alejandro Valverde, Movistar
59.  Oscar Freire, Katusha
60.  Mirko Selvaggi, Vacansoleil -DCM
61.  Matthew Lloyd, Lampre – ISD
62.  Kristof Goddaert, AG2R La Mondiale
63.  Ryder Hesjedal, Garmin-Barracuda
64.  Adrián Saez, Euskaltel-Euskadi
65.  Angel Madrazo, Movistar
66.  Jack Bauer, Garmin-Barracuda
67.  Arnaud Courteille, FDJ – BigMat
68.  Tiago Machado, RadioShack-Nissan
69.  Linus Gerdemann, RadioShack-Nissan
70.  Martin Elmiger, AG2R La Mondiale
71.  Edvald Boasson Hagen, Sky Procycling
72.  Mathias Frank, BMC
73.  Valentin Iglinskiy, Astana
74.  Martin Kohler, BMC
75.  Wilco Kelderman, Rabobank
76.  Jussi Veikkanen, FDJ – BigMat
77.  Greg Van Avermaet, BMC
78.  Bernard Sulzberger, UNI SA – Australia
79.  Rohan Dennis, UNI SA – Australia
80.  Assan Bazayev, Astana
81.  Marcello Pavarin, Vacansoleil -DCM
82.  Grega Bole, Lampre – ISD
83.  Lachlan Norris, UNI SA – Australia
84.  Borut Bozic, Astana
85.  Francesco Masciarelli, Astana
86  Julien Vermote, Omega Pharma-QuickStep
87.  Manuel Quinziato, BMC
88.  Anders Lund, Team Saxo Bank
89.  Jonas Jörgensen, Team Saxo Bank
90.  Daniele Ratto, Liquigas – Cannondale
91.  Davide Vigano, Lampre – ISD  0:01:20
92.  Danny Pate, Sky Procycling
93.  Jay Mccarthy, UNI SA – Australia
94.  Tom Leezer, Rabobank
95.  Javier Moreno, Movistar
96.  William Clarke, UNI SA – Australia  @1:40
97.  Jose Joaquin Rojas, Movistar
98.  Matthew Brammeier, Omega Pharma-QuickStep
99.  Matt Goss, GreenEDGE
100.  Robbie Mcewen, GreenEDGE
101.  Jaroslaw Marycz, Team Saxo Bank
102.  Leigh Howard, GreenEDGE
103.  Jacopo Guarnieri, Astana
104.  Cameron Meyer, GreenEDGE
105.  Stuart O’grady, GreenEDGE
106.  Victor Cabedo, Euskaltel-Euskadi
107.  Luke Durbridge, GreenEDGE
108.  Dmitri Muravyev, Astana
109.  Dmitriy Gruzdev, Astana
110.  Gerald Ciolek, Omega Pharma-QuickStep
111.  Matteo Trentin, Omega Pharma-QuickStep
112.  Gert Steegmans, Omega Pharma-QuickStep
113.  Greg Henderson, Lotto-Belisol
114.  Olivier Kaisen, Lotto-Belisol
115.  Jos Van Emden, Rabobank  @2:18
116.  Martijn Maaskant, Garmin-Barracuda  @2:20
117.  Andrew Fenn, Omega Pharma-QuickStep  @2:27
118.  Davide Cimolai, Lampre – ISD  @2:30
119.  Jérémy Roy, FDJ – BigMat
120.  Massimo Graziato, Lampre – ISD  @2:44
121.  Adam Blythe, BMC
122.  Nathan Haas, Garmin-Barracuda  @2:54
123.  Robbie Hunter, Garmin-Barracuda
124.  Heinrich Haussler, Garmin-Barracuda
125.  Takashi Miyazawa, Team Saxo Bank
126.  Luca Paolini, Katusha
127.  Steele Von Hoff, UNI SA – Australia
128.  Thomas De Gendt, Vacansoleil -DCM
129.  Kenny Van Hummel, Vacansoleil -DCM
130.  Wouter Mol, Vacansoleil -DCM
131.  Mattéo Montaguti, AG2R La Mondiale
132.  Jurgen Roelandts, Lotto-Belisol
133.  Frédéric Guesdon, FDJ – BigMat

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