Gallery: Baptism of fire at the Tour Down Under

With thermometers reaching a sweltering 40° Celsius and wind speeds getting up to almost 50km/h, Tuesday's first stage of the 2012 Tour Down Under tested the riders to the very edge of their limits. The 149km stage, from Prospect in the north of Adelaide to the town of Clare, was won in a controversial finish by Germany's Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) and the first thing he probably wanted to do afterwards was to find a nice cool shower.

As you will see from our gallery, keeping as hydrated and as cool as possible was at the forefront of all the riders' minds, and that need also wasn't lost on the crowds that generously lined the streets. If the weather carries on like this then the rest of the race, which runs over five more stages up until Sunday 22 January, will be a war of attrition and a real test of who is able to handle not only the demands of the individual stages best, but also the conditions.


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