Andre Greipel back on top at Tour Down Under, edges out RadioShack’s Gert Steegmans
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Greipel back on top at Tour Down Under

by Conal Andrews at 6:44 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour Down Under

Click for larger image...For the third consecutive year, German sprinter André Greipel has shown his superior speed on the opening stage of the Santos Tour Down Under.

The Vuelta a España points winner benefited from some strong team-work from the HTC Columbia riders and easily won a big bunch gallop into Tanuda. He kicked for home inside the final 300 metres and finished a length clear of Gert Steegmans (Team RadioShack) , Jurgen Roelandts (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Danilo Wyss (BMC Racing Team).

Sunday’s Cancer Council Helpline Classic victor Greg Henderson (Team Sky) was fifth, one place ahead of top Australian finisher Baden Cooke (Saxo Bank), while last year’s overall winner Allan Davis had a bad day and finished over eight minutes back. He had been distanced on a climb and, due to a lack of race radios carried by his Astana team, it was too late by the time they realised he was missing.

Greipel’s HTC-Columbia team had lost out in Sunday’s race, getting the leadout wrong. There were no such problems today. “It's very nice to start the season this way," he said after the lumpy 141 kilometre stage, which started in Clare. 'We took control of the race and my team-mates did a very good job to get me to the finish in good position.

"It was a very good day, starting with Grabschy [Bert Grabsch] who did a lot of work to bring the break back during the race, and finishing with the rest of the team who set me up for the sprint at the end.”

Greipel’s bid for a second overall victory was derailed last year when he collided with a stationary motorbike. He wants to stay out of trouble this time round and is not thought to have been involved in a big crash which took down almost half the peloton soon after the start.

World champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) was one of those who hit the dirt, but without any serious consequences.

Gorka Izaguirre (Euskaltel Euskadi) had attacked just before the mayhem, but was brought back several kilometres later. Tim Roe (UniSA), Martin Kohler (BMC Racing) and Biel Kadri (Ag2R La Mondiale) were next to try, jumping away 20 kilometres into the stage, and these built a maximum lead of just under ten minutes.

Roe made a solo bid for glory on the slopes of Menglers Hill, taking the KOM points at the summit which was just 27 kilometres from the finish. His former breakaway companions were mopped very soon afterwards by the chasing peloton and he too finally succumbed.

HTC Columbia had been doing the bulk of the work and the squad ramped up its speed as the line drew closer. “At seven kilometers to go we started to build up for the finish…it was a little early, so it wasn't until three kilometers to go that we really started,” said Greipel. “Matt Goss had a broken spoke so was one of the first in the lead out rather than the last and Bernie [Eisel] kept me out of trouble at the end. Liquigas started the sprint and I waited until the last moment to come around."

Greipel now has a four second lead over Steegmans and Kohler, with Roelandts and Kadri a further two seconds back. Henderson, Cooke, Evans, Lance Armstrong (Radioshack) and most of the other big names are ten seconds behind after the sprint bonuses were factored in.

The Texan was 46th on the stage, rolling in as part of the main bunch. "I think for everybody it was a hard, up-and-down stage,” he told reporters afterwards. “I think on that hill everybody was suffering a bit."

HTC Columbia will aim for two from two tomorrow, but know that tougher terrain later in the race will be dangerous. "Tomorrow is another flat stage and could be another sprint," said Greipel, "but after that we have a few hard stages which will be harder to control. However we have a strong team and we will try our best."


Santos Tour Down Under, Australia (ProTour, January 19-24)

Stage 1: Clare – Tanunda:

1, Andre Greipel (Ger) HTC-Columbia, 141 kilometres in 3 hours 15 mins 30 secs
2, Gert Steegmans (Bel) Team RadioShack
3, Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
4, Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team
5, Greg Henderson (NZl) Team Sky
6, Baden Cooke (Aus) Team Saxo Bank
7, Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
8, Robbie McEwen (Aus) Katyusha
9, Jose Rojas (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
10, Valeriy Dmitriyev (Kaz) Astana, all same time

Jayco Sprint 1, Riverton (km 44.6):

1, Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team, 6 pts
2, Biel Kadri (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, 4
3, Timothy Roe (Aus) Team UniSA-Australia, 2

Jayco Sprint 2, Kapunda (km 74.5):

1, Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team, 6 pts
2, Biel Kadri (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, 4
3, Timothy Roe (Aus) Team UniSA-Australia, 2

KOM - Menglers Hill (km 114):

1, Timothy Roe (Aus) Team UniSA-Australia, 16 pts
2, Biel Kadri (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, 12
3, Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team, 8


1, Ag2R La Mondiale, 9 hours 46 mins 30 secs
2, BMC Racing Team
3, Astana
4, Rabobank
5, Team Sky
6, Caisse d'Epargne, all same time

General classification after stage one:

1, Andre Greipel (Ger) HTC-Columbia, 3 hours 15 mins 20 secs
2, Gert Steegmans (Bel) Team RadioShack, at 4 secs
3, Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team, same time
4, Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto, at 6 secs
5, Biel Kadri (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, same time
6, Timothy Roe (Aus) Team UniSA-Australia, at 8 secs
7, Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team, at 10 secs
8, Greg Henderson (NZl) Team Sky
9, Baden Cooke (Aus) Team Saxo Bank
10, Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank, all same time

Points classification:

1, Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team 12 pts
2, Andre Greipel (Ger) HTC-Columbia 8
3, Biel Kadri (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale 8

Mountains classification:

1, Timothy Roe (Aus) Team UniSA-Australia 16 pts
2, Biel Kadri (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale 12
3, Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team 8

Teams classification:

1, Ag2R La Mondiale, 9 hours 46 mins 30 secs
2, BMC Racing Team
3, Astana
4, Rabobank
5, Team Sky
6, Caisse d'Epargne


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