The first highly-ranked stage race of the year, Australia's 2.HC-category Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, kicked off in Adelaide yesterday evening with a 50km criterium 'prologue' won by Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto). McEwen beat Italians Daniele Colli (Liquigas-Bianchi) and Simone Cadamuro (Milram) to the line in a bunch sprint finale to the Jacob's Creek Down Under Classic.
It was McEwen's fourth stage win in Adelaide. "It's fantastic," he said. "I wasn't sure how it was going to be, but I felt when I went out this morning that it wasn't too bad; in the warm up before the race I felt good and even had a go early in the race."
Securing the win meant a last-minute battle with eventual fifth-place finisher Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros-Würth).
"It was the Italian from Milram, Cadamuro who's a very fast guy who took over the lead from the Credit Agricole boys," said McEwen. "You saw (Thor) Hushovd pulling the sprint from Mark Renshaw and I was in a bit of a battle with Allan Davis for the wheel of Cadamuro because we could see that was the place to be.
"I was able to out-manoeuvre Alby to get on the wheel then I waited for the moment and down the finish straight, slightly downhill, no wind, you just get up to enormous speeds down there," he said. "I had a look behind and no-one caught my slipstream and I could just enjoy those last 25 metres."