Marcel Kittel wins People's Choice Classic

German rider beats Lobato and Wippert

Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin) claimed his first win of the 2015 season with a comprehensive victory in the People’s Choice Classic in Adelaide on Sunday. The German sprinter finished off a fine leadout from his team to beat Juan Jose Lobato (Movistar) and Wouter Wippert (Drapac) to the line.

In a thrilling opener to the Tour Down Under, Kittel blew away the winter cobwebs in what proved to be chaotic and frantic dash for the line.

Giant-Alpecin, the favourites to take the win, were forced to fend off a number of challengers in the sprint but held their nerve with an excellent ride from Koen de Kort managing to drop Kittel off with 200 meters to go.

"It's actually almost impossible to control the bunch in such a short race but my team mates did an awesome job," Kittel said after the race. "In the chaos I got a good lead out. I'm very happy and proud. I'm always nervous before the first race of the year. I also always want to win the first race of the year. This is my third time in South Australia. I really like this place. I like it even more when I win like today."

Early attacks
After weeks of build-up and the Australian Nationals providing an indicator of home grown form, it was time for the European elite to strut their stuff in downtown Adelaide. However it was the Australian domestic teams who made the early impressions on the race with a volley of attacks from Drapac and UniSA-Australia.

There is rarely a chance to recover in criteriums and so it proved, with the bunch duly lined out in the opening minutes of the 30 lap event.

The first significant move came when Lars Boom instigated an attack. He was quickly joined by an in-form Miles Scotson (UniSA-Australia), who took the first intermediate sprint after five laps.

The pair were swiftly sucked back in before Matt Hayman (Orica GreenEdge) then laid down a marker after 8 laps with former teammate Peter Kennaugh giving chase. Dario Cataldo (Astana) latched on along with Calvin Watson (Trek Factory Racing) and soon the four riders established the break of the race.

It was Hayman who won the second intermediate sprint but once again the sprint for the line briefly broke any harmony within the break. They were held at 11 seconds as Kittel’s Giant-Alpecin team monitored the situation on the front of the field.

After 14 laps the foursome had pushed out to a 20 second buffer and it was Hayman who once again picked up the 500 Euro purse a lap later for the third intermediate sprint.

With ten laps remaining Giant-Alpecin formed a long train on the front of the field as up ahead Kennaugh finally picked up his first sprint of the evening.

Soon Kittel’s team were joined by Lampre, and a host of other teams on the front of the peloton, with the lead dropping to just ten seconds in less than half a lap of racing. With eight laps remaining the four leaders were caught, as Lotto and IAM Cycling, with their hopes pinned on new Australian road champion, Heinrich Haussler, moving to the front of the peloton.

Geraint Thomas launched a move with six laps left but it was Etixx-Quickstep who responded, with Mark Renshaw and Gianni Meersman neatly tucked in.

Thomas was put to the sword within a lap of the action but with five to go Team Sky marshalled themselves, and notably, Chris Sutton, to the head of affairs as speeds reached over 50 kilometres per hour. Sutton and Sky won this event during the team’s debut season in 2010 but they were caught short in the closing laps, running out of ammo as a number of teams began to assert their control.

Michael Rogers dragged his Tinkoff Saxo team to the front but Giant-Alpecin were never far from the action and duly moved towards the front inside the final three laps. They were joined by a determined IAM Cycling team and Drapac.

Behind the leadouts the fight began as sprinter after sprinter jostled for Kittel’s wheel. Greg Henderson won that battle and for the briefest of moment it looked as though Kittel’s defensives could be over-run with Sutton, Haussler and Meersman all in contention.

However just as Kittel opened the gas a number of riders began to fade and the German was left with time to celebrate as Lobato and Wippert secured their places on the podium.

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin1:02:41 
2Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar Team  
3Wouter Wippert (Ned) Drapac Professional Cycling  
4Chris Sutton (Aus) Team Sky  
5Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling  
6Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
7Rudiger Selig (Ger) Team Katusha  
8Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
9Mark Renshaw (Aus) Etixx - Quick-Step  
10Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto-Soudal  
11Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
12Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing  
13Boris Vallee (Bel) Lotto-Soudal  
14Steele von Hoff (Aus) UniSA-Australia  
15Pavel Brutt (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo  
16Barry Markus (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
17Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
18Marco Coledan (Ita) Trek Factory Racing  
19Lorenzo Manzin (Fra)  
20Alexey Tsatevich (Rus) Team Katusha  
21Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
22Alex Howes (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
23Jesper Hansen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo  
24Timo Roosen (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
25Jack Bauer (NZl) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
26Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
27Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge  
28Koen de Kort (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin  
29Enrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar Team  
30Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team  
31Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
32Tiago Machado (Por) Team Katusha  
33Luis León Sánchez Gil (Spa) Astana Pro Team  
34Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team  
35Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team  
36Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar Team  
37Davide Malacarne (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
38Jérémy Roy (Fra)  
39Thomas De Gent (Bel) Lotto-Soudal  
40Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
41Sam Bewley (NZl) Orica GreenEdge  
42Lars Boom (Ned) Astana Pro Team  
43Maxime Bouet (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step  
44Martin Velits (Svk) Etixx - Quick-Step  
45Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) IAM Cycling  
46Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto-Soudal  
47Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
48Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
49Miles Scotson (Aus) UniSA-Australia  
50Cédric Pineau (Fra)  
51Stef Clement (Ned) IAM Cycling  
52Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
53Hayden Roulston (NZl) Trek Factory Racing  
54Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica GreenEdge  
55Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling  
56Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica GreenEdge  
57Rick Flens (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
58Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana Pro Team  
59Martijn Keizer (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
60Jussi Veikkanen (Fin)  
61Bert-Jan Lindeman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
62Danilo Wyss (Sui) BMC Racing Team  
63Lars Bak (Den) Lotto-Soudal  
64David De La Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) Etixx - Quick-Step  
65Rubén Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team  
66Peter Stetina (USA) BMC Racing Team  
67Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team  
68Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Team Katusha  
69Martin Kohler (Swi) Drapac Professional Cycling  
70Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo  
71Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Tinkoff-Saxo  
72Jordan Kerby (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling  
73Arnold Jeannesson (Fra)  
74Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling  
75Kristijan Durasek (Cro) Lampre-Merida  
76Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo  
77Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky  
78Campbell Flakemore (Aus) BMC Racing Team  
79Neil van der Ploeg (Aus) UniSA-Australia  
80Roger Kluge (Ger) IAM Cycling  
81Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
82Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale  
83Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team  
84Pieter Serry (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step  
85Vladimir Isaychev (Rus) Team Katusha  
86Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Team Katusha  
87Michael Hepburn (Aus) Orica GreenEdge  
88Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo  
89Nathan Haas (Aus) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
90Eugenio Alafaci (Ita) Trek Factory Racing  
91Kenny De Haes (Bel) Lotto-Soudal0:00:22 
92Maxim Belkov (Rus) Team Katusha0:00:24 
93William Clarke (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling  
94Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
95Alex Edmondson (Aus) UniSA-Australia  
96Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica GreenEdge  
97Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica GreenEdge  
98Robert Power (Aus) UniSA-Australia  
99Jack Haig (Aus) UniSA-Australia  
100Ian Stannards (GBr) Team Sky  
101George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNL-Jumbo  
102Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
103Tsgabu Grmay (Eth) Lampre-Merida  
104Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
105Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky  
106Timothy Roe (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling  
107Daniel McConnell (Aus) Trek Factory Racing  
108Laurent Didier (Lux) Trek Factory Racing  
109Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
110Michal Kolár (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo  
111Chad Haga (USA) Team Giant-Alpecin  
112Gert Dockx (Bel) Lotto-Soudal  
113Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team  
114Calvin Watson (Aus) Trek Factory Racing  
115Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
116Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) FDJ.fr0:00:34 
117Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Team Sky0:00:41 
118José Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team  
119Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:00:43 
120Olivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ.fr0:01:32 
121Travis Meyer (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling0:01:37 
122Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky  
123Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky0:01:45 
124Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:01:53 
125Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
126Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin0:01:58 
127Albert Timmer (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin  
128Graeme Brown (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling0:02:01 
129David Tanner (Aus) IAM Cycling  
130Jack Bobridge (Aus) UniSA-Australia0:04:12 
DNFSimon Geschke (Ger) Giant-Alpecin  

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