Santos Tour Down Under: André Greipel makes it a dozen in opening day sprint
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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Santos Tour Down Under: André Greipel makes it a dozen in opening day sprint

by Ben Atkins at 3:59 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour Down Under
The Gorilla equals Robbie McEwen’s stage-winning record

andre greipelAndré Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) took his personal winning tally at the Santos Tour Down Under to 12 on the streets of Lobethal as he outsprinted the peloton to take the opening stage 135km of the 2013 race. Continuing where he left off in the People’s Choice Classic two days before, the “Gorilla” was launched to the finish by his team, and he crossed the line more than a length clear of French former under-23 World champion Arnaud Démare (FDJ) in second place, with Australian Mark Renshaw (Blanco) third.

"We expected more attacks,’’ said Greipel at the finish. "The team did an awesome job again. It was hard to control and keep me up the front but the team did an awesome job."

The attacks began from the moment the peloton rolled out of the Adelaide suburb of Prospect, with Jordan Kerby (UniSA), Christopher Juul-Jensen (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Lachlan Morton (Garmin-Sharp) getting away in the first seven kilometres. With numerous other riders eager to get into the break, the three riders were soon pulled back, only for Kerby to try again alone.

With the one Australian rider ahead of the peloton, the pace relaxed, and by the 20km point he was almost seven minutes ahead. Over the top of the first classified climb, at Checker Hill after 42km, the gap was still 4’30” as compatriot Jack Bobridge (Blanco) attacked for the remaining points.

Since it was the only climb of the stage, Kerby had done enough to secure the lead in the mountains classification at the end of the day.

"Now I’m the king of the mountains," he said at the finish. "But it’s a very big challenge to keep the jersey with what’s coming up. I’ll give it a try though!"

Following the climb Kerby’s lead began to fall more quickly, as Jen Voigt (RadioShack-Leopard) tried to escape in pursuit. The German was pulled back before he could get far, which cut the gap to Kerby to just 1’30” as he crossed the first intermediate sprint point , in Charleston after 67km. The peloton then relaxed a little, and the 20-year-old Australian managed to eke it out to 2’30” once again; as he crossed the finish line after 83.7km, to start the first of two 25.6km finishing circuits, he was still 2’05” ahead.

Kerby was still clear at the intermediate sprint point for the second time but, almost immediately after the peloton had crossed the line, Jérôme Pineau (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) attacked. The Frenchman caught and passed the now-tired Kerby after 95km, and he was 1’15” clear by the end of the first lap.

andre greipelWith Lotto-Belisol, Team Sky, Argos-Shimano and Orica-GreenEdge all controlling the peloton, Pineau was allowed to hold on to his slender lead throughout the first half of the second lap but, shortly before he reached the intermediate sprint for the final time, World champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) leapt from the peloton and beat the Frenchman to the line.

"I attacked with about 1km to go to the line and I surprised him. The time bonus is better for the car position," Gilbert explained afterwards, referring to the system that allocates positions for team cars in the convoy based on the overall classification. "We were 18th today.

“It's easier to get the water bottles,” he added.

Shortly after the sprint, with 17km to go, the race was all back together and the sprinters’ teams began to line their fast men up for the finish; Movistar’s Ivan Gutierrez tried to escape soon afterwards, but the peloton was in no mood to allow anybody clear.

A drag with six kilometres to go saw Blel Kadri (AG2R La Mondiale) launch a solo bid for glory, but the Frenchman’s attack was equally short lived as Lotto-Belisol and Team Sky began to wind up the pace on opposite sides of the road. The two teams battled for the head of the race into the final kilometres but, just as it had done two days before, Lotto-Beilsol lined up Greipel for the line and the German finished it off in emphatic style.

Ten seconds bonus on the line gave Greipel the overall race lead, and the first Ochre jersey of the race.

Result stage 1
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol
2. Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ
3. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Blanco Pro Cycling
4. Simone Ponzi (Ita) Team Astana
5. Steele Von Hoff (Aus) Garmin-Sharp
6. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
7. Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Lampre-Merida
8. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky
9. José Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team
10. Zakkari Dempster (Aus) UniSA

Standings after stage 1
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol
2. Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ @ 4s
3. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Blanco Pro Cycling @ 6s
4. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge @ 7s
5. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
6. Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step @ 8s
7. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM
8. Simone Ponzi (Ita) Team Astana @ 9s
9. José Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team
10. Steele Von Hoff (Aus) Garmin-Sharp @ 10s

Click on the thumbnails below for a gallery of images from stage 1




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