TechPowered By

More tech

Santos Tour Down Under 2014

Date range:
January 19-26

January 19, People's Choice Classic: Adelaide - Adelaide 50km

Marcel Kittel opens account with win over Greipel

Zeb Woodpower
January 19, 2014, 8:54 GMT,
January 19, 2014, 12:48 GMT

Watch video race highlights

Marcel Kittel wins the first race for Giant-Shimano at the 2014 People's Choice Classic

Marcel Kittel wins the first race for Giant-Shimano at the 2014 People's Choice Classic

view thumbnail gallery

Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) took a narrow win over Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) to record his first People's Choice Classic win and first victory for the new Giant-Shimano team. Despite taking control of the race, Lotto had only one rider left for Greipel who has forced to start his sprint early and couldn't quite match the speed of Kittel. Greipel's team had come to the front in the final laps after Team Sky had tried to set the win up for CJ Sutton but ran out of gas letting Lotto and Giant-Shimano take over on the front and set up their German powerhouse sprinters.

The race was 10m too long by Greipel's estimation as Kittel proved the faster finisher with Caleb Ewan was a length back after being boxed in against the inside right rail 150m from the line.

"I'm really impressed by the boys today, they did a great job, a big thank you goes to the team," Kittel said after the race enjoying the taste of victory again. "I am a sprinter, I am always motivated. It doesn’t matter if it is January or October. Today I had good legs and the team was awesome so it was great to get the win."

"The first sprint of the season is always complicated so it's always a bit of a waiting game and you need a bit of luck to be in the perfect position and I was in the perfect position to start my sprint.

"It's always a relief to get the first win, now we can take it a little easy. I always love starting my season in Australia. In a race of 50km everyone is fresh at the end so I had to time my sprint just perfectly," Kittel said.

"It was a bit hectic in the two last corners before the finish line and my team did a great job and brought me in a really good position and from there I was able to go my own way and start the sprint after the last corner and then it was quite close to the finish line but I am happy I managed to win.

I think we (Greipel) started at the same time, because after the last corner you have start quite early because it is only 200m from there and I was on the outside."

The race begun with a flurry of attacks as riders tried their best to show off new team kit and let the peloton know how they were feeling. Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp), Travis Meyer (Drapac), Maxim Belkov (Katusha), Robert Gesink (Belkin) and Jack Haig (UniSA) all formed a small group but it has brought back before it got too dangerous.

Hass than attacked as the group was being caught and was joined by Axel Domont (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Luca Wackermann (Lampre-Merida). Haas took the first sprint point on offer, a cash prize, while behind him a touch of wheels saw the peloton come down.

Giovanni Visconti suffered a compound fracture of the leg while Sutton scraped his elbow and was forced to change bikes. Graeme Brown (Belkin) was another rider to go down and sat out a lap before rejoining the peloton.

Up ahead, Anthony Roux (FDJ) made his way to the leading three and the tete de la course built a lead of 30 seconds which remained steady as the peloton was organising the chase.

Haas took the second cash prize having remained cool while Wackermann launched an early attempt for the prize. Haas went early and secured his third cash prize as the lead was slowly being cut down to 17 seconds with the leaders in sight of the main group. Wackermann and Domont tried to solo away but with 7 laps left to race it was all back together.

Sky came to the front and Geraint Thomas was bossing the peloton with Ian Stannard and Bernie Eisel lending a hand. Lotto and Giant-Shimano were letting Sky do all the work waiting patiently for the final laps to position their fast men. Sky team director Kurt-Asle Arvesen explained after the race that Sutton was feeling the impact of the crash.

"There are some really good sprinters out there and it's not easy to get around those guys. CJ hurt his knee and his wrist in the crash but it was good to see him get back on the bike and finish up there with the big sprinters," Arvesan said.

Matt Hayman than tried to get away but it came back in time for Philip Deignan to claim the final cash prize. Lotto came into the final corner and had run out of riders leaving Greipel to fend for himself but couldn’t hold off Kittel.

In an impressive first showing at WorldTour level, Caleb Ewan sprinted to third place living up to the hype. With his performance should come confidence and a stage victory by this time next week could be a reality. 

Kittel's teammate and key cog in the sprint train, Koen de Kort said after the race it was a perfect start for the team with its new sponsor. "You cannot ask for more than this. We were excited to race for our new sponsor and we're happy to win the first race of the season. I had a good feeling about it all day. The team stayed together and kept Marcel in good position. It can be complicated on these tight circuits. We knew it would be really close," de Kort said.

It was de Kort who had alerted his teammate to the speed of Ewan as Kittel explained, "I heard about Caleb Ewan from my team-mate Koen de Kort who lives in Australia during the winter so I was not surprised to see him sprinting and coming third. This might only be a criterium but it gives me confidence for winning stages of the Santos Tour Down Under as well," Kittel said.

The winner of three sprints in the race, Nathan Hass, is still recovering from injury and used the criterium to test his condition, explaining "I had a big crash at the Tour of Britain in September and I didn't ride the National's because I was still dealing with the injury, so today's race was a test for my body and it was fun too.

"The biggest thing is that the time off the bike has made me really hungry. I'm anywhere near my best form but having won the intermediate sprints here tonight takes me to the start of the season with confidence."

With Stage 1 uncertain as to whether it will go ahead, Kittel empathised with local residents. "It is horrible for the people living there and it is most important that the people are safe and the sport comes in the second position. We would like to race but if it is not possible it is not possible," he said.

If the stage doesn't go ahead, Kittel will have many more opportunities to test the speed of his compatriot. "It was the first sprint against each other and it was nice that I could get the win. But there will be more sprints in the future and I am looking forward to that now," he said.

Click here to subscribe to the Cyclingnews video channel.


# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Giant-Shimano 1:04:34  
2 Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol    
3 Caleb Ewan (Aus) UniSA    
4 Christopher Sutton (Aus) Team Sky    
5 Jose Joaquin Rojas (Esp) FDJ    
6 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    
7 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    
8 Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Drapac    
9 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale    
10 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto-Belisol    
11 Steele von Hoff (Aus) Garmin-Sharp    
12 Neil Van Der Ploeg (Aus) UniSA 0:00:04  
13 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale    
14 Guillaume Boivin (Can) Cannondale    
15 Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha    
16 Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ    
17 Anthony Giacoppo (Aus) UniSA    
18 Michael Kolar (Slo) Tinkoff-Saxobank    
19 Boy Van Poppel (NED) Trek Factory 0:00:09  
20 Nicki Sorensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxobank    
21 Jack Haig (Aus) UniSA    
22 Bjorn Hurau (Ger) Europcar    
23 Bram Tankink (Ned) Belkin    
24 Guillaume Bonnafond (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale    
25 Cameron Wurf (Aus) Cannondale    
26 Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Astana    
27 Rafael Valls (Esp) Lampre-Merida    
28 Aleksandr Porsev (Rus) Katusha    
29 Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Astana    
30 José Juan Lobato (Esp) Movistar    
31 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
32 Julien Berard (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale    
33 Michael Andersen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxobank    
34 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana 0:00:16  
35 Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Katusha    
36 Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC 0:00:19  
37 Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale    
38 Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha    
39 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto-Belisol    
40 Jay McCarthy (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxobank    
41 William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ    
42 Koen De Kort (Ned) Giant-Shimano    
43 Ivan Jose Gutierrez (Esp) Movistar 0:00:22  
44 Matejv Mohoric (Slo) Cannondale    
45 Bradley Linfield (Aus) UniSA    
46 Danilo Wyss (Sui) BMC    
47 Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) FDJ    
48 Matthias Krizek (Aut) Cannondale    
49 Rick Flens (Ned) Belkin    
50 Kevin Reza (Fra) Europcar 0:00:26  
51 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    
52 Andrew Fenn (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:00:36  
53 Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale    
54 Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:00:43  
55 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
56 Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Astana    
57 Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing    
58 Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory Racing    
59 Bernard Sulzberger (Aus) Drapac    
60 Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin    
61 David Tanner (Aus) Belkin    
62 Stef Clement (Ned) Belkin    
63 Steve Morabito (Sui) BMC    
64 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC    
65 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC    
66 Imanol Erviti (Esp) Movistar    
67 Nicolay Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxobank 0:00:48  
68 Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge    
69 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana    
70 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge    
71 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana 0:01:30  
72 Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC 0:01:33  
73 Amael Moinard (Fra) BMC    
74 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana    
75 Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha    
76 Carlos Verona (Esp) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    
77 Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ    
78 Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin-Sharp 0:01:35  
79 Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Europcar    
80 Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin-Sharp    
81 Angelo Tulik (Fra) Europcar    
82 Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:40  
83 Luke Rowe (Gbr) Team Sky    
84 Bernard Eisel (Aut) Team Sky    
85 Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto-Belisol    
86 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    
87 Thierry Hupond (Fra) Giant-Shimano    
88 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Giant-Shimano    
89 Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Giant-Shimano    
90 Thomas Peterson (USA) Giant-Shimano    
91 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:46  
92 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge    
93 Egor Silin (Rus) Katusha    
94 Laurent Didier (Lux) Trek Factory Racing    
95 Pierre-Henri Lecuisinier (Fra) FDJ 0:01:49  
96 Arnaud Courteille (Fra) FDJ    
97 Graeme Brown (Aus) Belkin    
98 Jack Bobridge (Aus) Belkin    
99 Axel Domont (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale    
100 Mikhail Ignatyev (Rus) Katusha    
101 Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
102 Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
103 Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Lotto-Belisol    
104 Javier Moreno (Esp) Movistar    
105 Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Drapac    
106 William Clarke (Aus) Drapac    
107 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge    
108 Daryl Impey (Rsa) Orica-GreenEdge    
109 Matthew Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge    
110 Rory Sutherland (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxobank    
111 Philip Deignan (Irl) Team Sky    
112 Mark O'Brien (Aus) UniSA    
113 Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge    
114 Luca Wackermann (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
115 Darren Lapthorne (Aus) Drapac    
116 Calvin Watson (Aus) Trek Factory Racing 0:01:55  
117 Jan Bakelants (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    
118 Campbell Flakemore (Aus) UniSA    
119 Christpher Juul Jensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxobank    
120 Damien Gaudin (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale    
121 Simon Geschke (Ger) Giant-Shimano    
122 Jérome Cousin (Fra) Europcar    
123 Evan Huffman (USA) Astana    
124 Caleb Fairly (USA) Garmin-Sharp    
125 Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin-Sharp    
126 Robbie Hucker (Aus) Drapac    
127 Jens Voigt (Ger) Trek Factory Racing    
128 Stig Broeckx (Bel) Lotto-Belisol 0:02:04  
129 Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto-Belisol 0:02:10  
130 Ruben Plaza (Esp) Movistar    
131 Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ 0:02:20  
132 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin-Sharp 0:02:43  
133 Lachlan Morton (Aus) Garmin-Sharp    
134 George Bennett (NZl) Cannondale    
135 Maxime Daniel (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale 0:03:20  
DNF Danny Van Poppel (NED) Trek Factory    
DNF Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky    
DNF Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar    
DNF Travis Meyer (Aus) Drapac    
Sprint one
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin-Sharp    
2 Luca Wackermann (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
3 Axel Domont (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale    
Sprint two
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin-Sharp    
2 Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ    
3 Axel Domont (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale    
Sprint three
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin-Sharp    
2 Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ    
3 Luca Wackermann (Ita) Lampre-Merida    
Sprint four
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Philip Deignan (Irl) Team Sky    
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky    
3 Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky