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Santos Tour Down Under 2012

Date range:
January 17-22, 2012

January 17, Stage 1: Prospect - Clare 149km

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Alex Hinds

Welcome to Cyclingnews live coverage of the first stage of the 2012 Santos Tour Down Under. After an excitement filled Down Under Classic on Sunday night that saw Andre Greipel gain a confidence boosting victory of Edvald Boasson Hagen we hit the road today for a 149 kilometre run from Prospect to Clare. It will be Prospect's first time hosting a stage start so we expect a healthy crowd at that stage start.

  1. 11:04:04 CST

    We're just about to get underway from Prospect. Stage start has been slightly delayed.

  2. 11:09:57 CST

    We're underway. It's an extremely hot day in South Australia today. Lucky for me, I'm in the aic conditioned confines of the media centre. No help for the riders though.

  3. 11:11:04 CST

    We're still in the neutral zone, before the official racing gets underway. Still about a kilometre of neutral racing to go.

  4. 11:11:43 CST

    Jane Aubrey was on hand at the stage start earlier this morning. She spoke to Matthew Goss (GreenEdge).

  5. 11:13:30 CST

    Goss - "I think the heat today will really favour the Aussies. This is our own home advantage."

  6. 11:14:14 CST

    Out of the neutral zone and racing!

  7. 11:19:34 CST

    Tour Down Under Classic winner Andre Greipel also had some interesting thoughts.

    "The conditions are the same for everyone. The criterium for us means nothing, from today it all count."

  8. 11:25:38 CST

    UniSA rider Steele Von Hoff hopes that things will be pretty selective with the heat and cross winds.

    "I misjudged it on Sunday, I just didn't have the legs in the end but there a bit better today. Hopefully we can work a bit more as a team in our second race.

    Von Hoff was 5th on Sunday, someone to look out for.


  9. 11:26:27 CST

    3 riders off the front 183, 154, 5.

  10. 11:28:39 CST

    So that's Goss, Dennis and Pavarin. Still need confirmation whether it's definetely Goss.

  11. 11:30:56 CST

    The break has 30 seconds on the bunch. Peloton is strung out, doesn't seem they're totally happy with the Goss in the break.

  12. 11:32:12 CST

    It's not Goss, we've been misled.

  13. 11:32:35 CST

    The break is:

    Rohan Dennis (Team UniSA-Australia)

    Marcello Pavarin (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team)

    Martin Kohler (BMC Racing Team)

    Eduard Vorganov (Katusha Team)

  14. 11:35:18 CST

    Yauheni Hutarovitch:

     "I’ve been told that the finish in Clare is quite similar to the one at Malaga where I beat Cavendish in stage 2 of the Vuelta in 2010, so I’ll give it a go if I can. I arrived in Adelaide a bit late and I had a stomach bug the first night but I’m fine now. I’ve had a very good night of sleep before starting today."


  15. 11:37:27 CST

    Rohan Dennis in the break is a rider with a big future ahead of him. He won both national titles, road and time trial, in the under 23 category a week ago in Ballarat.

    You can read more about him here.

  16. 11:39:31 CST

    Frederic Guesdon (FDJ-BigMat) said he was surprised at just how windy things are today.

    "I don't think it'll make it any worse than Qatar though," he joked.

  17. 11:41:15 CST

    The break of 4 riders meanwhile are out to more than 2 minutes. This looks like it may be the break of the day.

  18. 11:45:27 CST

    A lot of people have been talking about how the first day of the Tour can be a funny one. Many riders will be unsure of their form, then there is the heat and win.

    It will be interesting to see whether any one team takes control. A sure sign of their confidence in their sprinter.


  19. 11:49:57 CST

    2011 winner Cameron Meyer previewed today's stage for us, and seemed certain we'd see a bunch kick today:

    My pick for this one is that it will definitely be a sprint finish. I don't think there'll be much to do for the climbers who think they can win the Tour, I think they'll stay quiet.


  20. 11:52:50 CST

    The break has moved out to more than 6 minutes now. Peloton is happy riding steadily behind. Lotto-Belisol are setting false tempo for de facto leader Andre Greipel at the front.

  21. 11:58:21 CST

    Steegmans (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) punctured. Getting a spare wheel.

  22. 133km remaining from 149km

    11:59:03 CST

    Time gap according to the race commisaires is now 10:20. Lots of leeway.

  23. 12:00:12 CST

    Let's go through the guys in the break.

  24. 12:04:13 CST

    Marcello Pavarin is a rider without a single win to his name. This is his second season with Vacansoleil. He's 25 years old and is a reasonably good climber. We'll see if he has his eye on the day's only KOM.

  25. 12:07:06 CST

    Contrast that with Eduard Vorganov. He's riding his 10th year in the professional peloton. This is his third time riding the Tour Down Under, and came seventh in the points classification in 2010.

  26. 12:11:20 CST

    Meyer is caught behind in the second group.

  27. 12:13:19 CST

    Romain Feillu has crashed, just as the peloton re-groups.

  28. 121km remaining from 149km

    12:16:21 CST

    Gap has come back a little bit after this split.

  29. 12:17:53 CST

    Feillu back up and riding. Liquigas riding at the front now. Looking to split things up again?

  30. 12:19:09 CST

    Robbie McEwen is riding a cool 270 Watts in the main bunch. Maybe we'll see that spike up to over a thousand at the finish.

  31. 12:20:33 CST

    Just to address some of the twitter feed. The time bonuses on offer are 3, 2, 1 at both sprints, and 10, 6, 4 at the finish.

  32. 12:21:03 CST

    Considering how close the GC almost always ends up the value of these bonifications cannot be underestimated.

  33. 12:23:03 CST

    Jens Voigt spoke to us at the stage finish, and like Cameron Meyer said that there was no chance of a break staying away:


    “There’s 0 chance for a breakaway to succeed today. It’s windy but after the crosswind, there’ll be head wind, breakaway riders will die there. The peloton is smart enough to not let a group of 20 go up the road, because it’s a World Tour race, it’s going to be a bunch sprint today, 100 per cent.”


  34. 12:23:35 CST

    *stage start

  35. 12:25:12 CST

    Rohan Dennis (UniSA Australia) putting out 330 Watts on average in the break. They're on a gradual uphill now. The key difficulty on these roads though is the quality of the bitumen. On a hot day it can become really sticky, and don't be surprised to see a few crashes as a result.

  36. 12:25:37 CST

    Break has gone back out to 11:10.

  37. 12:31:16 CST

    Back to the break, the final rider is Martin Kohler from the American BMC team. Martin is the reigning Swiss time trial champion after picking up the win Pfauffnau in June of last year. He'll be taking the pressure off Greg Van Avermaet and the team back in the main field.

  38. 12:33:28 CST

    Seems that Lachlan Norris (UniSA-Australia) might be struggling. He's gone back to the team car.

  39. 111km remaining from 149km

    12:36:39 CST

    38 kilometres gone and we're starting the gentle climbing now. From Roseworthy (km 45) onward the course becomes really up and down. It'll test the legs of some of the Euros who aren't quite in shape.

  40. 12:38:08 CST

    Rojas has gone back to the team car for an early feed and a talk with the team boss.

    Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil

  41. 12:42:12 CST

    • Red Jersey

    Norris normally rides for the Drapac cycling team. Jonathan Breekveldt told me at nationals that the young mountain biker wasn't riding there due to a leg injury to make himself in the best possible shape for TDU. Perhaps still not recovered?

  42. 102km remaining from 149km

    12:47:54 CST

    Really not too much happening at the moment. The gap has once again stabilised around the 11 minute mark. Dennis and Kohler doing plenty of work on the front. Still around 30 kilometres till the first intermediate sprint.

  43. 12:49:56 CST

    So guys at this point might be a good time to ask who you believe will take today's stage?

  44. 12:53:14 CST

    Andre Greipel is clearly in form, but the names at this year's race reads like a Tour de France.

  45. 12:53:55 CST

    Petacchi, Freire, Boasson Hagen, Bennati, Goss. No shortage of fast men in Adelaide this year.

  46. 12:55:21 CST

    Profile image for Gazman_57

    Bunch sprint ? Robbie McEwen or Matt Goss I hope #cyclingnewstdu

    @Gazman_57 Tue, 17th Jan 2012 02:24:14

  47. 12:57:31 CST

    • Rabobank Cycling Team's 2011 Jersey

    Personally I'm on Rabobank rider Mark Renshaw. I saw him at nationals - he's looking fierce. Just a bit of bad luck on Sunday.

  48. 13:06:57 CST

    Just another race update. The break of four remains out in front at over 11 minutes.

  49. 96km remaining from 149km

    13:09:49 CST

    The domestiques are going back to team cars on very regular basis. One of the Vacansoleil riders has gone back to get bottles three times in the last 15 minutes.

  50. 13:13:11 CST

    Less than 20 kilometres to go now till the opening sprint at Kapunda. Riders are going flat out but are going no faster than 42-43 km/h.

  51. 91km remaining from 149km

    13:13:54 CST

    • Puncture

    Greipel has flatted, teammates immediately going back to help him.

  52. 13:20:17 CST

    Greipel rejoins the peloton. Well looked after by Adam Hansen. The two are good friends off the bike - Greipel insisted on having Hansen with the team last year.

  53. 13:23:22 CST

    Movistar and BMC back at the team cars for feeding. The official feed zone is at Kapunda, but with the heat I think race officials are allowing a little leeway.

  54. 13:27:00 CST

    Gatis Smukulis (Katusha) is at the medical car. Heat stroke?

  55. 13:28:25 CST

    This is the importance of drinking as much as the riders will need to be doing today.

  56. 13:30:50 CST

    Martin Kohler (BMC) takes the opening sprint. The kilometre count the race organisation is giving is wrong. Sorry about that!



  57. 74.3km remaining from 149km

    13:31:44 CST

    Still waiting on the names of the other two places.

  58. 13:40:30 CST

    KOM also coming up.

    The break's gap has gone down to 9 minutes.

  59. 13:40:47 CST

    Simply no information yet on the final two places.

  60. 67km remaining from 149km

    13:42:23 CST

    KOM is 2 kilometres away.

    Official results for sprint

    1. Kohler

    2. Dennis

    3. Pavarin

  61. 13:46:15 CST

    Pavarin makes a little dig and gets the KOM points. He's got a 150m gap.

  62. 13:47:42 CST

    The other three riders led by Kohler with Vorganov third.

  63. 13:50:17 CST

    So just a recap there -

    1. Marcello Pavarin (Vacansoliel-DCM)

    2. Martin Kohler (BMC)

    3. Eduard Vorganov (Katusha)

  64. 13:51:04 CST

    No time bonuses for the KOM.

  65. 13:51:15 CST

    The group of four has now reformed.

  66. 13:51:53 CST

    Pavarin saw the better part of valor.

  67. 58km remaining from 149km

    13:53:41 CST

    Break goes over the rail crossing at Main North Rd. No sign of any trains luckily!

  68. 13:54:50 CST

    GreenEdge looking prevalent at the front of the bunch as the peloton crest the KOM.

  69. 13:55:53 CST

    No one team seems to be chasing yet though. Happy to let the break remain out in front.

  70. 13:57:45 CST

    Ok let's get on to today's Cyclingnews trivia question!

  71. 14:01:13 CST

    Ok so today's question -

    "Who won the first young rider classification at the inaugural Tour Down Under?"

    Answer with the hashtag #cyclingnewstdu. Winner be selected at random and awarded some brand spanking new Bont shoes.

  72. 51km remaining from 149km

    14:04:12 CST

    Coming up to the third KOM. Break still looking really good at the front.

  73. 14:06:26 CST

    Matt White speaking from the team car to ABC national radio. Says it's the toughest opening stage he's seen in a long time.

  74. 14:07:45 CST

    White adds that Durbridge was okay for the start today, they have him on the front working for the team. Not getting a lot of help though.

  75. 14:08:27 CST

    Keep the answers coming guys - a lot of you are on the money, winner will be selected at random.

  76. 14:08:51 CST

    An easy one to start us off!

  77. 14:09:49 CST

    The gap is coming down. Chase is starting to get organised from a few teams. Lots of teams still happy to let GreenEdge do the work.

  78. 14:13:03 CST

    Interestingly Cameron Meyer is the man directly behind Durbridge. Keeping out of trouble or is he being put to work? A sign that Gerrans is their man?

  79. 14:16:17 CST

    Will be taking answers until the stage finish. Winner will be contacted afterwards. But don't worry, one pair to give away everyday!

  80. 14:20:39 CST

    Pat Jonker at the finish line says he thinks the break may well stay away to the finish. He says the gap could be too big to totally bring back in the final 45 kilometres. Jonker won the race in 2004 in a very similar situation. Be interesting to see how this plays out.

  81. 14:22:01 CST

    Back then it was Dave McPartland, now GreenEdge-AIS women's team manager who won the stage.

  82. 47km remaining from 149km

    14:23:38 CST

    Closing on this final sprint point for the day. (I think I said it was a KOM before - it's not)

  83. 14:24:07 CST

    Time bonuses again on offer. Even if the break gets caught these will be important.

  84. 14:25:30 CST

    Clouds coming over at the stage finish. Seems like a cool change could be expected later in the day.

  85. 14:27:00 CST

    Temperature dropping to a much more cooling "34".

  86. 14:27:50 CST

    Reports the gap is down further to just over 6 minutes.

  87. 14:35:10 CST

    Fatigue setting in in the break. Gap down to less than 5 minutes.

  88. 40km remaining from 149km

    14:36:01 CST

    We've gone through the final intermediate sprint but no word on the places.

  89. 14:36:27 CST

    Sky reported to be ramping up the pace in the main field.

  90. 14:37:03 CST

    Official race radio - 4 minute gap.

  91. 14:39:31 CST

    So with a sprint now seemingly looming perhaps it's worth hearing Petacchi's thoughts.


    The Lampre-ISD riders said:

    “I’m used to win my first race of the year but it’s different here than in Europe. There are many strong teams and many sprinters in contention. Sunday’s criterium was a special one. Technically it was difficult. We have young riders in the team. We’ve spoken about the lead out and we hope for an improvement today. I’ll always try and win.”


  92. 29km remaining from 149km

    14:48:24 CST

    Gap still falling. The peloton can see the break ahead of them now.

  93. 14:55:03 CST

    Henderson crashed. However has got back up and rejoined.

  94. 14:55:15 CST

    Bad news for Greipel.

  95. 25km remaining from 149km

    15:02:10 CST

    Really fast clip at the moment from the peloton.

  96. 15:07:32 CST

    The break's once 11:40 lead is now within in two minutes.

  97. 20km remaining from 149km

    15:13:01 CST

    This is defintely going to be a sprint. Break looks shattered.

  98. 15:14:12 CST

    Might be worth saving the legs - if they have any energy left - to see if they can hang on to the main field when they get caught.

  99. 15:16:21 CST

    For those wanting to know how the final 10 kilometres look. It's a fairly straight forward lead into town, mostly downhill.

  100. 15:19:05 CST

    Rohan Dennis has left the breakaway. He's flying. More than a minute of his companions we're hearing!

  101. 15:21:01 CST

    Seems GreenEdge are leading the peloton. No love lost between an Australian team and an Australian rider out front it seems.

  102. 13km remaining from 149km

    15:24:12 CST

    Leaders have gone through watervale less than 15 k to go. Break still ahead of main bunch. Dennis still solo. Remember he can time trial.

  103. 15:26:23 CST

    Dennis just needs to keep concentrating. He's right on the rivet. It's a downhill run as I already mentioned but I'm sure he'd like less of a block headwind.

  104. 15:27:33 CST

    Recap - Kohler won both sprints of the day. That gives him a useful six seconds.

  105. 15:28:28 CST

    Dennis has less than 30 seconds, the rest of the break has been swallowed up.

  106. 8km remaining from 149km

    15:30:17 CST

    Can he hang on? It'll be tight.

  107. 15:32:19 CST

    Dennis may just have been caught. Will confirm shortly.

  108. 15:32:58 CST

    Dennis' day is over, he's in the bunch.

  109. 15:34:53 CST

    There is one final little rise to come for someone to go for a solo bid for the stage, but I expect it's now going to be a sprint.

  110. 15:36:45 CST

    Sky, Lotto-Belisol don't want to commit to setting up their trains just yet. Are both represent at the front.

  111. 5.5km remaining from 149km

    15:40:05 CST

    Not long now, bunch strung out. As with Sunday Rabobank, Sky, Lotto-Belisol, Lampre-ISD fighting for control.

  112. 15:41:02 CST

    Will Clarke (UniSA) is having a go on the rise I mentioned.

  113. 15:41:35 CST

    Will is in some career best form. Had a great national championships.

  114. 15:42:27 CST

    15 second gap immediately.

  115. 4km remaining from 149km

    15:44:26 CST

    Clarke gets re-absorbed.

  116. 1.5km remaining from 149km

    15:45:29 CST

    This is it. We can hear the sirens at the race finish as the convoy leads their way through.

  117. 15:45:36 CST


  118. 15:46:08 CST

    Sky leading!

  119. 15:46:26 CST

    Greipel it is!

  120. 15:46:39 CST

    Petacchi second, Sabatini third..

  121. 15:46:51 CST

    photo finish.

  122. 15:47:07 CST

    They're re-checking.

  123. 15:47:32 CST

    Could be Petacchi or Greipel. We'll have to wait.

  124. 15:49:29 CST

    It is Greipel. Official.

  125. 15:49:46 CST

    Thanks for joining us today. See you tomorrow for stage 2.