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The McEwen massacre continues

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Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto)

Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) (Image credit: CN)
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The peloton

The peloton (Image credit: CN)
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Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto)

Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto) (Image credit: CN)
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Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto)

Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) (Image credit: CN)
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Simon Gerrans (Ag2R) signs on for stage 1

Simon Gerrans (Ag2R) signs on for stage 1 (Image credit: Mark Gunter/Cyclingnews.com)
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Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) in his Australian Champion jersey

Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) in his Australian Champion jersey (Image credit: Mark Gunter/Cyclingnews.com)
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Stuart O’Grady (Cofidis) happy to be in Adelaide

Stuart O’Grady (Cofidis) happy to be in Adelaide (Image credit: Mark Gunter/Cyclingnews.com)
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Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto) in the lime light

Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto) in the lime light (Image credit: Mark Gunter/Cyclingnews.com)
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Gilberto Simoni (Lampre-Caffita) kept a low profile this evening

Gilberto Simoni (Lampre-Caffita) kept a low profile this evening (Image credit: Mark Gunter/Cyclingnews.com)
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The peloton rides past the Stag Hotel

The peloton rides past the Stag Hotel (Image credit: Mark Gunter/Cyclingnews.com)
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Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) cuts a tight corner

Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) cuts a tight corner (Image credit: Mark Gunter/Cyclingnews.com)
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The riders corner the first bend

The riders corner the first bend (Image credit: Mark Gunter/Cyclingnews.com)
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The peloton in the fading Adelaide light

The peloton in the fading Adelaide light (Image credit: Mark Gunter/Cyclingnews.com)
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The peloton stretched out as the pace picks up

The peloton stretched out as the pace picks up (Image credit: Mark Gunter/Cyclingnews.com)
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The peloton with 2 laps to go

The peloton with 2 laps to go (Image credit: Mark Gunter/Cyclingnews.com)
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Frederic Finot (FDJeux.com) leads David McKenzie (United Water) on an attempted breakaway

Frederic Finot (FDJeux.com) leads David McKenzie (United Water) on an attempted breakaway (Image credit: Mark Gunter/Cyclingnews.com)
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Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com) corners

Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com) corners (Image credit: Mark Gunter/Cyclingnews.com)
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Gilberto Simoni (Lampre-Caffita) on the top straight

Gilberto Simoni (Lampre-Caffita) on the top straight (Image credit: Mark Gunter/Cyclingnews.com)
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Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto) once again worked hard for Robbie McEwen

Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto) once again worked hard for Robbie McEwen (Image credit: Mark Gunter/Cyclingnews.com)
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Uni SA pushing it with 3 laps to go

Uni SA pushing it with 3 laps to go (Image credit: Mark Gunter/Cyclingnews.com)
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Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) outsprints Alan Davis (Liberty Seguros)

Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) outsprints Alan Davis (Liberty Seguros) (Image credit: Mark Gunter/Cyclingnews.com)
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Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) laps up the attention after winning stage 1 of the Tour Down Under

Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) laps up the attention after winning stage 1 of the Tour Down Under (Image credit: Mark Gunter/Cyclingnews.com)
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The Most Aggressive Rider

The Most Aggressive Rider (Image credit: Mark Gunter/Cyclingnews.com)
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The Young Riders Jersey

The Young Riders Jersey (Image credit: Mark Gunter/Cyclingnews.com)
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The KOM Jersey

The KOM Jersey (Image credit: Mark Gunter/Cyclingnews.com)
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Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) gets a kiss only the winner gets

Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) gets a kiss only the winner gets (Image credit: Mark Gunter/Cyclingnews.com)
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Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) off to a great start this season

Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) off to a great start this season (Image credit: Mark Gunter/Cyclingnews.com)
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Russell Van Hout from Team Uni SA looking relaxed during his pre-race warm up

Russell Van Hout from Team Uni SA looking relaxed during his pre-race warm up (Image credit: Rachel Burke/maximumattack.biz)
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A tight knit bunch: the Cofidis team warm up

A tight knit bunch: the Cofidis team warm up (Image credit: Rachel Burke/maximumattack.biz)
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And they're off! The peloton sets off on the first lap of Stage 1 of the 2005 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under

And they're off! The peloton sets off on the first lap of Stage 1 of the 2005 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under (Image credit: Rachel Burke/maximumattack.biz)
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Javier Ramirez (Liberty Seguros) and Mickael Delage (FDJeux.com) set a cracking pace

Javier Ramirez (Liberty Seguros) and Mickael Delage (FDJeux.com) set a cracking pace (Image credit: Rachel Burke/maximumattack.biz)
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Chris Sutton (United Water) checks out the opposition

Chris Sutton (United Water) checks out the opposition (Image credit: Rachel Burke/maximumattack.biz)
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Hilton Clarke (Navigators Insurance) gets some Aussie encouragement from the crowd

Hilton Clarke (Navigators Insurance) gets some Aussie encouragement from the crowd (Image credit: Rachel Burke/maximumattack.biz)
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Aussie hero Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com) on a charge

Aussie hero Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com) on a charge (Image credit: Rachel Burke/maximumattack.biz)
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Standing out in a sea of blue is Ceramiche Panaria Navigare rider Sergey Matveyev

Standing out in a sea of blue is Ceramiche Panaria Navigare rider Sergey Matveyev (Image credit: Rachel Burke/maximumattack.biz)
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Riding strong Frederic Finot from FDJeux.com

Riding strong Frederic Finot from FDJeux.com (Image credit: Rachel Burke/maximumattack.biz)
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Ashley Humbert (United Water) tussles with Wim Vansevenant (Davitamon-Lotto)

Ashley Humbert (United Water) tussles with Wim Vansevenant (Davitamon-Lotto) (Image credit: Rachel Burke/maximumattack.biz)
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Panaria rider Mirko Allegrini with an edge on Liberty Seguros' Luis Leon Sanchez

Panaria rider Mirko Allegrini with an edge on Liberty Seguros' Luis Leon Sanchez (Image credit: Rachel Burke/maximumattack.biz)
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Quickstep teammates Filippo Pozzato and Kevin De Weert

Quickstep teammates Filippo Pozzato and Kevin De Weert (Image credit: Rachel Burke/maximumattack.biz)
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Cofidis rider Jans Koerts powers out of the corner

Cofidis rider Jans Koerts powers out of the corner (Image credit: Rachel Burke/maximumattack.biz)
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The peloton heads up East Terrace

The peloton heads up East Terrace (Image credit: Rachel Burke/maximumattack.biz)
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Hometown favourite Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis)

Hometown favourite Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis) (Image credit: Rachel Burke/maximumattack.biz)
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One of the race favourites Gilberto Simoni (Lampre-Caffita)

One of the race favourites Gilberto Simoni (Lampre-Caffita) (Image credit: Rachel Burke/maximumattack.biz)
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Local rider Matthew Rex riding strong with the bunch (Uni SA)

Local rider Matthew Rex riding strong with the bunch (Uni SA) (Image credit: Rachel Burke/maximumattack.biz)
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Nick Gates (Davitamon-Lotto) swings around the hairpin

Nick Gates (Davitamon-Lotto) swings around the hairpin (Image credit: Rachel Burke/maximumattack.biz)
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An Ag2r Prevoyance rider concentrates hard whilst negotiating the tight hairpin corner

An Ag2r Prevoyance rider concentrates hard whilst negotiating the tight hairpin corner (Image credit: Rachel Burke/maximumattack.biz)
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Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) shows the others how it's done

Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) shows the others how it's done (Image credit: Rachel Burke/maximumattack.biz)
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A United Water rider on the attack

A United Water rider on the attack (Image credit: Rachel Burke/maximumattack.biz)
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Complete determination on the face of Jan Kuyckx (Davitamon-Lotto)

Complete determination on the face of Jan Kuyckx (Davitamon-Lotto) (Image credit: Rachel Burke/maximumattack.biz)
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Stuart O'Grady powers away but keeps an eye on his opposition

Stuart O'Grady powers away but keeps an eye on his opposition (Image credit: Rachel Burke/maximumattack.biz)
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Gene Bates' great form was evident during the race

Gene Bates' great form was evident during the race (Image credit: Rachel Burke/maximumattack.biz)
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A crash took out several riders

A crash took out several riders (Image credit: Rachel Burke/maximumattack.biz)

Although surprising himself, Robbie McEwen of Davitamon-Lotto surprised no-one else when he took the yellow jersey on the first night of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under. "I honestly didn't expect to do well today," the recently crowned Australian champion said after the stage. "I am still suffering from the championships, but I figure that the others are suffering too, because either they were in the championships too, or they have came straight from European winter."

Like last year, the cycling season's starter took off with a criterium in the East End of Adelaide. A two kilometre lap was to be contested 25 times, and the attacks were on from the first lap when Dave McPartland of United Water set off. The peloton was quick on his wheels, and one of the favourites for the stage win, Graeme Brown of Ceramiche Panaria Navigare took his chance already on the second lap. Graeme told Cyclingnews before the stage that he didn't have the best of form, but that he'd give it a try. Shortly after Brown's break was eliminated, David Betts of United Water and Stephen Cunningham of UniSA took off in a break that got the biggest gap of the stage...a mere ten seconds.

After four laps, the peloton was stretched like a bungy cord, and many riders were willing to give it a go at the front. After eight laps, Davitamon-Lotto and Cofidis sent their strong men to the front, but that didn't stop the other riders from continuing their attacks. After 20 kilometres, the first sprint was contested, and Gene Bates of UniSA raced aggressively and took the sprint out in a convincing way. With good assistance from his team he also took out the second sprint at kilometre 40 and secured the sprinters jersey for at least one stage. "My objective is really a top five placing in the general classification, and the climber's jersey, but now I've got the sprinter's jersey, and that's not too bad either," Bates told Cyclingnews after the stage.

At this point of the race, most of the stars wanted to try their wings, and jumps were made by McEwen, Cadel Evans from Davitamon-Lotto and Stuart O'Grady from Cofidis, although none were given the freedom they wanted. With three laps to go, Liberty Seguros was moving up its squad to the front, and Spanish celebrity Isidro Nozal took off for a short solo show at the front. A crash took out a handful of riders, just within the three kilometre limit where the same time is given to those who abandon due to crashing, but the fall wasn't affecting the front where the riders were lining up for the likely sprint.

Ceramiche Panaria was showing off their full colours at the front with two kilometres to go, and it was looking all set for Graeme Brown, but Lotto-Davitamon had more to give and joined up at the front. However, heading towards the last stretch of the road, O'Grady surprised them all when he took off in a flying attack and entered the finishing straight first. Allan Davis from Liberty Seguros did a strong job to catch O'Grady just before the line, but could do nothing about super strong Robbie McEwen who was right on his wheel and came around him in the last metres.

"My team worked great for me, especially towards the end," Robbie said before the prize ceremony. "O'Grady took off and surprised us all, and we had to work hard to get him back in time. Allan Davis chased closest, and I got on his wheel. Although I have won the first stage before, this is the first time I actually have a time bonus on the others. Unfortunately it's no simple task to take the jersey all the way home. Normally it's the strongest rider who wins the race, but you never know when a break could go. Also I feel a bit shaky now. I think I got a bit lactic, although I probably shouldn't be telling you that. It's nothing that a good rub down can't fix though."

Gene Bates, who won the two sprints, will start tomorrow's stage in Salisbury in the sprinters jersey, and David McPartland of United Water will dress himself in the KOM jersey tomorrow, thanks to him being the highest placed rider in last years king of the mountain competition taking part this year.

Queenslander Aaron Kemps of Liberty Seguros won the young riders jersey, and United Water's David Betts received the jersey for being the most aggressive rider.

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