Tour Down Under Stage 1 recap
Tuesday was the official start of the Pro Tour season as the peloton of 133 riders rolled out of Norwood, South Australia in Stage One of the 2009 Tour Down Under. Sunny skies and boiling hot temperatures set the stage for the sprinters to make their mark on the season opener. Last year’s defending champion did just that as Team Columbia’s Andre Greipel bore down on the finish line in a strong sprint to grab the win over Aussie contenders Stuart O’Grady (Saxo Bank) and Baden Cooke (UniSA). Team Astana’s Lance Armstrong was well-tended to throughout the day and all the boys in blue made it safely to Mawson Lakes at the end of the day, stage one tucked into the books.
After a roll-out at 11AM, Silence-Lotto rider Olivier Kaisen and Spaniard Andoni Lafuente (Euskaltel Euskadi) put in an early attack that saw them gain more than a six minute advantage over the peloton. Not willing to let them get too far ahead, the sprinters’ teams of Columbia and Katusha kept a careful watch on the two out front and controlled the speed of the peloton to ensure a timely catch, first bringing back Lafuente while Kaisen remained at large. But local rider and recent U23 Australian National Road champion Jack Bobridge (UniSA) tried to outfox them all by bridging across to Kaisen with 10km left to race. Once he made the catch he simply motored on by, making a big solo effort in front of his home crowd.
However as the peloton approached the 7km/4mi mark Bobridge’s time off the front was finished and the peloton was all together as they roared into the finish area. Team Columbia took tight control of the front, followed closely by Rabobank and Liquigas. After Sunday’s efforts to stay in front saw Columbia wash away in the closing kilometers, they were able to hold a tighter rein on Tuesday’s approach with Greipel scoring his first win of the season.
Wednesday’s stage Two to Stirling offers up more South Australian flatlands but should be somewhat more challenging with 19 short, nasty climbs along the way to split things up on the run to the line. Johan is Twittering from the car so be sure to follow his on-the-spot race commentating!
2 Baden Cooke (Aus) UniSA
3 Stuart O’grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank
4 Robbie Mcewen (Aus) Team Katusha
5 Jacopo Guanieri (Ita) Liquigas
6 Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step
7 Willem Stroetinga (Ned) Team Milram
8 Timothy Gudsell (NZl) Francaise Des Jeux
9 Luca Barla (Ita) Team Milram
10 Andrea Grendene (Ita) Lampre – N.G.C
2 Baden Cooke (Aus) UniSA 0.05
3 Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Silence – Lotto
4 Stuart O’grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank 0.07
5 Andoni Lafuente (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi
6 William Walker (Aus) Fuji-Servetto 0.10
7 Robbie Mcewen (Aus) Team Katusha 0.11
8 Jacopo Guanieri (Ita) Liquigas
9 Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step
10 Willem Stroetinga (Ned) Team Milram