Sky proves the goods with Henderson win

British team debuts with one-two

Last year Greg Henderson entered the Tour Down Under week as a support rider for André Greipel. A year later, as part of Team Sky's lineup, the kiwi sprinter is the Cancer Council Helpline Classic champion.

The 33-year-old from Dunedin went into the race the team's go to man in the anticipated sprint finish according to directeur sportif Sean Yates and he delivered, taking a one-two with in-form Australian Chris Sutton as Greipel finished third after hitting out for the line a long way from home.

Team Sky put on a two-lap masterclass in how to execute the perfect leadout train at the right time - the final couple of times around the Adelaide East End circuit - to make good on the hype that has surrounded the recent launch of the British squad.

"The lead out was so fast, I've never been on the back of anything faster," said Henderson after the finish. And over the final 200 metres nobodyw as faster than Henderson and Sutton, the Antipodean connection crushing the opposition in a finale dominated by the boys in black (and blue).

One of those riders contributing the most to the team's finishing flourish was Russell Downing, the British stalwart finally proving to the world that he has what it takes to transport the world's best sprinters to the line in the best way possible.

"We were there from two to go," he explained after the finish. "Then Columbia got it organised on the left hander down the back; we were still in formation so I lead it round the outside and straight out of the corner and took the Columbia train off. The boys were yelling behind and I took it all the way down the straight and into the corner.

Downing and Mat Hayman - whose services were sorely missed today by former team Rabobank - continued to drive the Sky train despite the attempts of HTC-Columbia to negate the effects of the British team's dominance. "We had at least five guys there - it was an amazing team effort," continued Downing. "We had a plan, and it worked. That was the first race of the year and it's a dream come true."

"We said that was the deal - if we could stick to the plan and it worked, then we were a possible chance of winning, and it did," said Downing.

Runner up Sutton looked like a possible winner until the final metres, when Henderson surged forward and confirmed his status as the team's captain for the race. While the pair rode well during the recent Jayco Bay Classic, today's performance was an appetiser for season 2010.

"We were just doing our own thing," said and elated Sutton, who celebrated with uncle Shane after the stellar performance. "There's been a lot of hype in the media about Columbia versus Sky; we weren't having much to do with it, really... just concentrating on ourselves and trying to get it all right.

"It's always difficult doing one thing out training and then getting to a race - we knew that if we could put it together today it would pay off. I can't believe it - it's a dream start.

As for the squad's plans heading into the Santos Tour Down Under, Sutton reiterated team manager Dave Brailsford's comments that it won't be going for an overall victory: "We're going to take it one day at a time and just keep cool and level-headed. It's just a matter of staying calm; we've had our first win and as I said before the start, there's no pressure on us - the only pressure we feel is that which we put on ourselves," he said.

Two Tour champions make a break

The race was animated by two unlikely characters to find in a criterium breakaway, Lance Armstrong and Oscar Pereiro, the pair joined by Mathieu Perget (Caisse d'Epargne), Mikael Cherel (Française des Jeux) and Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Doimo) to establish a healthy lead off the front of the peloton with approximately two-thirds of the race distance covered.

The move was initiated following the third prime sprint, with the star-studded quintet quickly forming and stamping its authority on the front of the race. "I had a small desire to be in a group like that, but that one stayed away longer than we all expected and longer than I saw last year," said Armstrong, who proved he's here in much better condition that last January.

"Everybody was completely going for it, no talking and only a little bit of looking around after the corners to see how close they [the peloton] were," he added. "In terms of the mix, it was a nice balance, everybody did their work. Some guys started to taper off at the end, but that's to be expected, we get out there and don't expect to be out there that long."

And while the break remained at the head of proceedings for a lot longer than expected, the final three laps belonged to the sprinters' teams and in particular Team Sky, which blanketed the front of the field with precision and pace, resulting in the dominant finale that netted the team a 100 percent strike rate in its first outing.

Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Gregory Hederson (NZl) Team Sky1:04:33 
2Christopher Sutton (Aus) Team Sky  
3Andre Greipel (Ger) HTC-Columbia  
4Robbie McEwen (Aus) Katusha  
5Baden Cooke (Aus) Team Saxo Bank  
6Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank  
7Allan Davis (Aus) Astana  
8Jose Rojas (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne  
9Anthony Ravard (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
10Manuel Cardoso (Ita) Footon-Servetto  
11Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank  
12Mathew Goss (Aus) HTC-Columbia  
13Daryl Impey (RSA) Team RadioShack  
14Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) UniSA-Australian National Team  
15George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing Team  
16Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Team RadioShack  
17Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha  
18Gert Steegmans (Bel) Team RadioShack  
19Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Française des Jeux  
20René Mandri (Est) Ag2R La Mondiale  
21Robbie Hunter (RSA) Garmin-Transitions  
22Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma – Lotto  
23Wim Stroetinga (Ned) Team Milram  
24Robert Foester (Ger) Team Milram  
25Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr) Ag2R La Mondiale  
26Ivan Velasco (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi  
27Peter Sagan (Skv) Liquigas  
28Gorka Izaguirre (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi  
29Maciej Paterski (Pol) Liquigas  
30Sebastien Rosseler (Bel) Team RadioShack  
31Benjamin Swift (GBr) Team Sky  
32Valeriy Dmitriyev (Kaz) Astana  
33Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
34Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas  
35Jonas Ljungblad (Swe) Omega Pharma – Lotto  
36Mathieu Drujon (Fra) Caisse d’Epargne  
37Stuart O'grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank  
38Bernard Eisel (Aut) HTC-Columbia  
39Cameron Meyer (Aus) Garmin-Transitions0:00:08 
40Josep Jufre Pou (Spa) Astana  
41David Gutierrez (Spa) Footon-Servetto  
42Ivan Gutierrez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne  
43Bert Grabsch (Ger) HTC-Columbia  
44Michael Rogers (Aus) HTC-Columbia  
45Pierre Cazaux (Fra) Française des Jeux  
46Frank Hoj (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
47Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Katusha  
48Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Astana  
49Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Team RadioShack  
50Mickael Delage (Fra) Omega Pharma – Lotto  
51Rick Flens (Ned) Rabobank  
52Romain Sicard (Fra) Euskaltel – Euskadi  
53Eduard Vorganov (RSA) Katusha  
54Mikel Nieve (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi  
55Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne  
56Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne  
57Gerben Lowik (Ned) Omega Pharma – Lotto  
58Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Française des Jeux  
59Nikolas Maes (Bel) Quick Step  
60Aitor Perez Arrieta (Spa) Footon-Servetto  
61Peter Mcdonald (Aus) UniSA-Australian National Team  
62Lance Armstrong (USA) Team RadioShack  
63Jose Alberto Benitez Roman (Spa) Footon-Servetto  
64Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
65Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Omega Pharma – Lotto  
66Kristjan Koren (Slo) Liquigas  
67Christian Meier (Can) Garmin-Transitions  
68Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana  
69Thomas Vedel Kvist (Den) Quick Step  
70Kasper Klostergaard (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
71Ludovic Turpin (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
72Mauro Finetto (Ita) Liquigas0:00:16 
73Anthony Roux (Fra) Française des Jeux0:00:17 
74Michele Merlo (Ita) Footon-Servetto  
75Marcel Sieberg (Ger) HTC-Columbia  
76Luke Roberts (Aus) Team Milram  
77Thomas Frei (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:00:23 
78Evans Cadel (Aus) BMC Racing Team  
79Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Française des Jeux  
80Matthew Wilson (Aus) Garmin-Transitions  
81Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
82Michael Matthews (Aus) UniSA-Australian National Team  
83Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank  
84Alexander Pliuschin (Mda) Katusha  
85Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi  
86Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Omega Pharma – Lotto  
87Miguel Minguez (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi  
88Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Liquigas  
89Daniel Sesma (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi  
90Thomas Rohregger (Ger) Team Milram  
91Trent Lowe (Aus) Garmin-Transitions  
92Tiziano Dall'Antionia (Ita) Liquigas  
93Timothy Roe (Aus) UniSA-Australian National Team  
94Arthur Vichot (Fra) Française des Jeux  
95David Kemp (Aus) UniSA-Australian National Team  
96Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky  
97Jesus Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Astana  
98Davide Vigano (Ita) Team Sky  
99Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Astana  
100Anders Lund (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
101Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo Bank  
102Simon Clarke (Aus) UniSA-Australian National Team  
103Cyril Dessel (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
104Julian Dean (NZl) Garmin-Transitions  
105Sergey Klimov (Rus) Katusha  
106Joan Ripoll Horrach (Spa) Katusha  
107Biel Kadri (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
108Martin Elmiger (Swi) Ag2R La Mondiale  
109Jos Van Emden (Ned) Rabobank  
110Mauro Facci (Ita) Quick Step  
111Markus Fothen (Ger) Team Milram  
112Jack Bobridge (Aus) Garmin-Transitions  
113Rohan Dennis (Aus) UniSA-Australian National Team  
114Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Quick Step  
115Mikael Cherel (Fra) Française des Jeux  
116Dominik Roels (Ger) Team Milram  
117Hayden Roulston (NZl) HTC-Columbia  
118Jason Mccartney (USA) Team RadioShack  
119Karsten Kroon (Ned) BMC Racing Team  
120Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank  
121Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Omega Pharma – Lotto  
122Jose Garcia (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne  
123Koos Moerenhout (Ned) Rabobank  
124Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Quick Step  
125Addy Engels (Ned) Quick Step  
126Tom Leezer (Ned) Rabobank0:00:35 
127Mathew Hayman (Aus) Team Sky0:00:55 
128David Vitoria (Spa) Footon-Servetto0:01:16 
129Perget Mathieu (Fra) Caisse d’Epargne  
130Russell Downing (GBr) Team Sky  
131Björn Schroder (Ger) Team Milram0:01:34 
DNSMartin Pedersen (Den) Footon-Servetto  
DNSAndreas Stauff (Ger) Quick Step  

 

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