Orica-GreenEDGE’s Simon Gerrans outsprinted Andre Greipel in a tight finish to win Stage 1 of the Santos Tour Down Under.

The newly crowned Australian road champion launched a perfectly-timed sprint in the Lotto-Belisol rider’s slipstream to claim the opening stage and Tour Down Under race lead.

Australian criterium champion Steele von Hoff (Garmin-Sharp) completed the podium.

The two-time Tour Down Under champion was quoted as saying: “I guess I surprised a few today, myself included.”

[quote_center]”Obviously Andre is one of the fastest guys going around, I’m pretty pleased to get over him on the line.[/quote_center]

Gerrans’ Orica-GreenEDGE team-mate Daryl Impey lead out the peloton as it hurtled towards the finish in Angaston. Greipel was quick to claim Impey’s wheel with Gerrans slotting in behind the big German.

Greipel launched a long sprint but Gerrans was able to slip out behind him in the uphill finishing straight and claim his second victory of the season.
Australian pre-race favourites Cadel Evans (BMC) and Richie Porte (Sky) were among the leaders, with Gerrans and Greipel.

A perfect, 30 degree day welcomed riders to first WorldTour stage of the year, a 135km course through the Barossa Valley from Nuriootpa to Angaston.

Gerrans Wins Stage One of TDU
As soon as the flag dropped,  Drapac’s Will Clarke and Neil van der Ploeg (UniSA-Australia) attacked.  The pair quickly established a lead and were three minutes ahead of the peloton only seven kilometres into the race.

With 50km to go and the race heading towards the days major climb at Mengler Hill, Sky and Orica-GreenEDGE’s Luke Durbridge ramped up the speed, with Clarke and van der Ploeg’s lead dipping below three minutes.

With four kilometres to Menglers Hill Clarke was reeled in, but his efforts were rewarded with the most aggressive rider prize.

Team Sky neo-pro Nathan Earle lead onto the 3.3km climb, with a fast tempo preventing any rider going off the front, while a handful of riders were unhitched from the back on the peloton.

Mid-way up the climb the fast tempo split the peloton, with a group of about 50 riders going clear while young Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan, amongst others, were tailed off.

Lotto-Belisol’s Adam Hansen launched a well-timed attack to claim the King of the Mountains points.

Gerrans holds a five second lead over Greipel ahead of Stage 2 from Prospect to Stirling.

Stage 1: 135km, Nuriootpa – Angaston
1 Simon Gerrans (AUS) Orica-GreenEDGE 3hr 20min 34sec
2 Andre Greipel (GER) Lotto-Belisol
3 Steele von Hoff (AUS) Garmin-Sharp
4 Deigo Ulissi (ITA) Lampre-Merida
5 Maxime Bouet (FRA) Ag2r La Mondiale
6 Francescoe Gavazzi (ITA) Astana
7 Simon Geschke (GER) Giant-Shimano
8 Rafael Vallis Ferri (ESP) Lampre-Merida
9 Cadel Evans (AUS) BMC Racing
10 Robert Gesink (NED) Belkin

General Classification
1 Simon Gerrans (AUS) Orica-GreenEDGE 3hr 20min 34sec
2 Andre Greipel (GER) Lotto-Belisol 0:00:05
3 Steele von Hoff (AUS) Garmin-Sharp 0:00:07
4 Simon Geschke (GER) Giant-Shimano 0:00:10
5 Deigo Ulissi (ITA) Lampre-Merida 0:00:11
6 Maxime Bouet (FRA) Ag2r La Mondiale
7 Francescoe Gavazzi (ITA) Astana
8 Rafael Vallis Ferri (ESP) Lampre-Merida
9 Cadel Evans (AUS) BMC Racing
10 Robert Gesink (NED) Belkin

 

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Haydn has been bitten by the cycling bug and bitten hard. Like most Aussie kids, he grew up riding his beloved chrome BMX before moving onto a Mountain Bike. Haydn describes his transition onto a road bike as a Renaissance and since that time has never looked back. If not riding the awesome roads of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Haydn can often be found photographing local cycling events. As Pedaltorque co-founder, Haydn is responsible for editing and photography. He rides a Specialized Tarmac.