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Greipel makes show of force in Tour Down Under prologue

By:
Jane Aubrey & Alex Hinds

German sprints home in bunch kick over Boasson Hagen and Haussler

Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) celebrates as he crosses the line the clear winner of the Down Under Classic in Adelaide.

Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) celebrates as he crosses the line the clear winner of the Down Under Classic in Adelaide.

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German Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) has given his Tour Down Under rivals an early warning sign that he means business in 2012, looking almost untouchable in the final sprint to take out the Down Under Classic in Adelaide.

Sky rider Edvald Boasson Hagen opened the sprint after Lotto-Belisol's last lead-out man Greg Henderson swung off but when Greipel put the foot down he seemed to effortlessly sail past the Norwegian - harking back to the way he dominated the 2008, and 2010 tours. Heinrich Haussler completed the top three.

Asked what today’s result was an indication of heading into the first WordTour event of the year, Greipel was frank.

"That we didn’t sleep in the winter," he grinned. "I tried to get a lead out train for this season and we got Greg Henderson in the team.

"I worked with him pretty good in previous seasons so he is a main part in the success of the team for me. But I can't forget Jurgen Roelandts, Marcel Sieberg and Adam Hansen – they are all really important to keep the train going. I think we’ve shown a pretty good effort today."

"I think the guys were awesome. I just needed to stay on the wheels. I saw Rabobank and Sky - they couldn’t pass so I think that meant we have a lot of horsepower in our team.

"Today takes a bit of pressure off. Especially for the young riders who are in Mallorca at the moment. Hopefully it will give them a bit of extra motivation to train well and to keep the Lotto streak running."

Greg Henderson, who was instrumental in positioning Greipel for the sprint was full of emotion at the stage finish, enraptured by his German team mate's performance.

"You know how much power he’s got. I’m leading out at 70km/h and he just comes past me," said Henderson. "I just don’t understand how anyone can go so fast. You’ve seen it. He’s right up there with the likes of Cavendish. The two are going to have a great rivalry this year."

Boasson Hagen who many have tipped as a pre-race favourite on the hillier parcours of this year's race explained that he isn't quite up to top competition form - yet.

"We lost Chris Sutton in the lead up to the final turn, I'm not sure what happened but that's cycling."

"Everyone in the team did a great job, so at least we can be satisfied with that."

The finale of the race was dominated by three teams, with Lampre-ISD, Rabobank and Lotto-Belisol all taking turns stringing the field out. On the penultimate lap Sky also arrived to make it a crowded run to the line. Renshaw punctured on the final lap and that left Lampre-ISD, Lotto-Belisol and Sky to fight it out.

Lotto-Belisol would not be thrown off and with less than a kilometre to go they had their man firmly placed near the front. In the final duel, two riders; Greipel and Boasson Hagen went head-to-head. Greipel however was clearly a level above and sporting a skin suit, he made the well-credentialled Boasson Hagen look almost amateurish in an ominous sign for the week ahead.

Earlier in the day, neo-pro Nathan Haas (Garmin-Barracuda) showed some class to take three of the four intermediate sprints, with Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Movistar) taking out the fourth.

Haas was part of nine-man break that featured throughout the mid-stages of the race. The break never held more than 25 seconds over the chasing bunch, with Lotto-Belisol, Rabobank and GreenEdge keeping a watchful eye at the front of the peloton.

On each and every sprint prime Haas jumped away easily from his fellow breakaway riders. Impressively he made a reasonably renowned fast-man in William Bonnet (FDJ-BigMat) look slow.

When the break was caught with around seven laps to go, the sprint teams began to ramp up for what was a thrilling finale.

An honourable mention goes out to UniSA-Australia rider Steele Von Hoff who finished in front of some big names including Alessandro Petacchi in his first WorldTour outing.


Results

# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol 1:03:17  
2 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling    
3 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin-Barracuda    
4 Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar    
5 Steele Von Hoff (Aus) UNI SA-Australia    
6 Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Team Saxo Bank    
7 Chris Sutton (Aus) Sky Procycling    
8 José Ivan Gutierrez (Spa) Movistar    
9 Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto-Belisol    
10 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-ISD    
11 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre-ISD    
12 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Omega Pharma-QuickStep    
13 Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM    
14 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) FDJ-BigMat 0:00:02  
15 Robbie Mcewen (Aus) GreenEDGE    
16 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 0:00:05  
17 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto-Belisol 0:00:07  
18 Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana    
19 Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale    
20 Angel Madrazo (Spa) Movistar    
21 Takashi Miyazawa (Jpn) Team Saxo Bank    
22 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:00:11  
23 Manuel Belletti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:13  
24 Ricardo Garcia (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:17  
25 Adrián Saez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
26 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar    
27 Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar    
28 William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ-BigMat    
29 Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
30 Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha    
31 Davide Vigano (Ita) Lampre-ISD    
32 Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha    
33 Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM    
34 Tom Palmer (Aus) UNI SA-Australia    
35 Jaroslaw Marycz (Pol) Team Saxo Bank    
36 Will Clarke (Aus) UNI SA-Australia    
37 Jay Mccarthy (Aus) UNI SA-Australia    
38 Wouter Mol (Ned) Vacansoleil -DCM    
39 Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin-Barracuda    
40 Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto-Belisol    
41 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC    
42 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Rabobank    
43 Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana    
44 Robbie Hunter (RSA) Garmin-Barracuda    
45 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling    
46 Kristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale    
47 Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
48 Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) FDJ-BigMat    
49 Federico Canuti (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale    
50 Arnaud Courteille (Fra) FDJ-BigMat    
51 Julien Vermote (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep    
52 Pablo Urtasun (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
53 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep    
54 Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky Procycling    
55 Victor Cabedo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
56 Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale    
57 Rohan Dennis (Aus) UNI SA-Australia    
58 Xavier Florencio Cabrè (Spa) Katusha    
59 Matt Goss (Aus) GreenEDGE    
60 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC    
61 Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC    
62 Hayden Roulston (NZl) RadioShack-Nissan    
63 Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank 0:00:27  
64 Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) FDJ-BigMat 0:00:33  
65 Frédéric BallanAlessandro (Ita) BMC    
66 Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto-Belisol    
67 David Lopez (Spa) Movistar 0:00:35  
68 Daniele Bennati (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan    
69 Vincente Reynes (Spa) Lotto-Belisol    
70 Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-ISD    
71 Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Katusha 0:00:37  
72 Jonas Jörgensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank    
73 Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha    
74 Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM    
75 Alan Marangoni (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale    
76 Oscar Freire (Spa) Katusha    
77 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Barracuda    
78 Ruben Perez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
79 Sérgio Paulinho (Por) Team Saxo Bank    
80 Simon Gerrans (Aus) GreenEDGE    
81 Anders Lund (Den) Team Saxo Bank    
82 Romain Lemarchand (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
83 Romain Sicard (Fra) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
84 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM    
85 Assan Bazayev (Kaz) Astana    
86 Valentin Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana    
87 Valentin KaisenOlivier (Bel) Lotto-Belisol    
88 Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ-BigMat    
89 Marcello Pavarin (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM    
90 Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan    
91 Grega Bole (Slo) Lampre-ISD    
92 Stefano Agostini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale    
93 Daniele Ratto (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale    
94 Tiago Machado (Por) RadioShack-Nissan    
95 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan    
96 Matthew Brammeier (Irl) Omega Pharma-QuickStep    
97 Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin-Barracuda    
98 Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC    
99 Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan    
100 Andreas Klier (Ger) Garmin-Barracuda    
101 Andreas ShpilevskyBoris (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale    
102 Lachlan Norris (Aus) UNI SA-Australia    
103 Javier Moreno (Spa) Movistar    
104 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha    
105 Mattéo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale    
106 Kristijan Koren (Slo) Liquigas-Cannondale    
107 Massimo Graziato (Ita) Lampre-ISD    
108 Luke Roberts (Aus) Team Saxo Bank    
109 Bernard Sulzberger (Aus) UNI SA-Australia    
110 Stuart O'grady (Aus) GreenEDGE    
111 Francesco Masciarelli (Ita) Astana    
112 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Rabobank    
113 Adam Blythe (GBr) BMC    
114 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma-QuickStep    
115 Dmitri Muravyev (Kaz) Astana    
116 Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Lampre-ISD    
117 Martijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin-Barracuda    
118 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC    
119 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank    
120 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Rabobank    
121 Jos Van Emden (Ned) Rabobank 0:00:52  
122 Andrew Fenn (GBr) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 0:01:00  
123 Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ-BigMat 0:01:02  
124 Leigh Howard (Aus) GreenEDGE 0:01:05  
125 Tom Leezer (Ned) Rabobank 0:01:29  
126 Alex Dowsett (GBr) Sky Procycling    
127 Mauro Da Dalto (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:01:34  
128 Jesse Sergent (NZl) RadioShack-Nissan 0:03:06