Sky proves the goods with Henderson win

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

Swipe to scroll horizontally
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Gregory Hederson (NZl) Team Sky1:04:33
2Christopher Sutton (Aus) Team SkyRow 1 - Cell 2
3Andre Greipel (Ger) HTC-ColumbiaRow 2 - Cell 2
4Robbie McEwen (Aus) KatushaRow 3 - Cell 2
5Baden Cooke (Aus) Team Saxo BankRow 4 - Cell 2
6Graeme Brown (Aus) RabobankRow 5 - Cell 2
7Allan Davis (Aus) AstanaRow 6 - Cell 2
8Jose Rojas (Spa) Caisse d’EpargneRow 7 - Cell 2
9Anthony Ravard (Fra) Ag2R La MondialeRow 8 - Cell 2
10Manuel Cardoso (Ita) Footon-ServettoRow 9 - Cell 2
11Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo BankRow 10 - Cell 2
12Mathew Goss (Aus) HTC-ColumbiaRow 11 - Cell 2
13Daryl Impey (RSA) Team RadioShackRow 12 - Cell 2
14Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) UniSA-Australian National TeamRow 13 - Cell 2
15George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 14 - Cell 2
16Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Team RadioShackRow 15 - Cell 2
17Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) KatushaRow 16 - Cell 2
18Gert Steegmans (Bel) Team RadioShackRow 17 - Cell 2
19Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Française des JeuxRow 18 - Cell 2
20René Mandri (Est) Ag2R La MondialeRow 19 - Cell 2
21Robbie Hunter (RSA) Garmin-TransitionsRow 20 - Cell 2
22Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma – LottoRow 21 - Cell 2
23Wim Stroetinga (Ned) Team MilramRow 22 - Cell 2
24Robert Foester (Ger) Team MilramRow 23 - Cell 2
25Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr) Ag2R La MondialeRow 24 - Cell 2
26Ivan Velasco (Spa) Euskaltel – EuskadiRow 25 - Cell 2
27Peter Sagan (Skv) LiquigasRow 26 - Cell 2
28Gorka Izaguirre (Spa) Euskaltel – EuskadiRow 27 - Cell 2
29Maciej Paterski (Pol) LiquigasRow 28 - Cell 2
30Sebastien Rosseler (Bel) Team RadioShackRow 29 - Cell 2
31Benjamin Swift (GBr) Team SkyRow 30 - Cell 2
32Valeriy Dmitriyev (Kaz) AstanaRow 31 - Cell 2
33Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 32 - Cell 2
34Fabio Sabatini (Ita) LiquigasRow 33 - Cell 2
35Jonas Ljungblad (Swe) Omega Pharma – LottoRow 34 - Cell 2
36Mathieu Drujon (Fra) Caisse d’EpargneRow 35 - Cell 2
37Stuart O'grady (Aus) Team Saxo BankRow 36 - Cell 2
38Bernard Eisel (Aut) HTC-ColumbiaRow 37 - Cell 2
39Cameron Meyer (Aus) Garmin-Transitions0:00:08
40Josep Jufre Pou (Spa) AstanaRow 39 - Cell 2
41David Gutierrez (Spa) Footon-ServettoRow 40 - Cell 2
42Ivan Gutierrez (Spa) Caisse d’EpargneRow 41 - Cell 2
43Bert Grabsch (Ger) HTC-ColumbiaRow 42 - Cell 2
44Michael Rogers (Aus) HTC-ColumbiaRow 43 - Cell 2
45Pierre Cazaux (Fra) Française des JeuxRow 44 - Cell 2
46Frank Hoj (Den) Team Saxo BankRow 45 - Cell 2
47Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) KatushaRow 46 - Cell 2
48Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) AstanaRow 47 - Cell 2
49Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Team RadioShackRow 48 - Cell 2
50Mickael Delage (Fra) Omega Pharma – LottoRow 49 - Cell 2
51Rick Flens (Ned) RabobankRow 50 - Cell 2
52Romain Sicard (Fra) Euskaltel – EuskadiRow 51 - Cell 2
53Eduard Vorganov (RSA) KatushaRow 52 - Cell 2
54Mikel Nieve (Spa) Euskaltel – EuskadiRow 53 - Cell 2
55Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d’EpargneRow 54 - Cell 2
56Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d’EpargneRow 55 - Cell 2
57Gerben Lowik (Ned) Omega Pharma – LottoRow 56 - Cell 2
58Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Française des JeuxRow 57 - Cell 2
59Nikolas Maes (Bel) Quick StepRow 58 - Cell 2
60Aitor Perez Arrieta (Spa) Footon-ServettoRow 59 - Cell 2
61Peter Mcdonald (Aus) UniSA-Australian National TeamRow 60 - Cell 2
62Lance Armstrong (USA) Team RadioShackRow 61 - Cell 2
63Jose Alberto Benitez Roman (Spa) Footon-ServettoRow 62 - Cell 2
64Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 63 - Cell 2
65Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Omega Pharma – LottoRow 64 - Cell 2
66Kristjan Koren (Slo) LiquigasRow 65 - Cell 2
67Christian Meier (Can) Garmin-TransitionsRow 66 - Cell 2
68Andriy Grivko (Ukr) AstanaRow 67 - Cell 2
69Thomas Vedel Kvist (Den) Quick StepRow 68 - Cell 2
70Kasper Klostergaard (Den) Team Saxo BankRow 69 - Cell 2
71Ludovic Turpin (Fra) Ag2R La MondialeRow 70 - Cell 2
72Mauro Finetto (Ita) Liquigas0:00:16
73Anthony Roux (Fra) Française des Jeux0:00:17
74Michele Merlo (Ita) Footon-ServettoRow 73 - Cell 2
75Marcel Sieberg (Ger) HTC-ColumbiaRow 74 - Cell 2
76Luke Roberts (Aus) Team MilramRow 75 - Cell 2
77Thomas Frei (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:00:23
78Evans Cadel (Aus) BMC Racing TeamRow 77 - Cell 2
79Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Française des JeuxRow 78 - Cell 2
80Matthew Wilson (Aus) Garmin-TransitionsRow 79 - Cell 2
81Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 80 - Cell 2
82Michael Matthews (Aus) UniSA-Australian National TeamRow 81 - Cell 2
83Stef Clement (Ned) RabobankRow 82 - Cell 2
84Alexander Pliuschin (Mda) KatushaRow 83 - Cell 2
85Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Euskaltel – EuskadiRow 84 - Cell 2
86Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Omega Pharma – LottoRow 85 - Cell 2
87Miguel Minguez (Spa) Euskaltel – EuskadiRow 86 - Cell 2
88Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) LiquigasRow 87 - Cell 2
89Daniel Sesma (Spa) Euskaltel – EuskadiRow 88 - Cell 2
90Thomas Rohregger (Ger) Team MilramRow 89 - Cell 2
91Trent Lowe (Aus) Garmin-TransitionsRow 90 - Cell 2
92Tiziano Dall'Antionia (Ita) LiquigasRow 91 - Cell 2
93Timothy Roe (Aus) UniSA-Australian National TeamRow 92 - Cell 2
94Arthur Vichot (Fra) Française des JeuxRow 93 - Cell 2
95David Kemp (Aus) UniSA-Australian National TeamRow 94 - Cell 2
96Christopher Froome (GBr) Team SkyRow 95 - Cell 2
97Jesus Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) AstanaRow 96 - Cell 2
98Davide Vigano (Ita) Team SkyRow 97 - Cell 2
99Oscar Pereiro (Spa) AstanaRow 98 - Cell 2
100Anders Lund (Den) Team Saxo BankRow 99 - Cell 2
101Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo BankRow 100 - Cell 2
102Simon Clarke (Aus) UniSA-Australian National TeamRow 101 - Cell 2
103Cyril Dessel (Fra) Ag2R La MondialeRow 102 - Cell 2
104Julian Dean (NZl) Garmin-TransitionsRow 103 - Cell 2
105Sergey Klimov (Rus) KatushaRow 104 - Cell 2
106Joan Ripoll Horrach (Spa) KatushaRow 105 - Cell 2
107Biel Kadri (Fra) Ag2R La MondialeRow 106 - Cell 2
108Martin Elmiger (Swi) Ag2R La MondialeRow 107 - Cell 2
109Jos Van Emden (Ned) RabobankRow 108 - Cell 2
110Mauro Facci (Ita) Quick StepRow 109 - Cell 2
111Markus Fothen (Ger) Team MilramRow 110 - Cell 2
112Jack Bobridge (Aus) Garmin-TransitionsRow 111 - Cell 2
113Rohan Dennis (Aus) UniSA-Australian National TeamRow 112 - Cell 2
114Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Quick StepRow 113 - Cell 2
115Mikael Cherel (Fra) Française des JeuxRow 114 - Cell 2
116Dominik Roels (Ger) Team MilramRow 115 - Cell 2
117Hayden Roulston (NZl) HTC-ColumbiaRow 116 - Cell 2
118Jason Mccartney (USA) Team RadioShackRow 117 - Cell 2
119Karsten Kroon (Ned) BMC Racing TeamRow 118 - Cell 2
120Pieter Weening (Ned) RabobankRow 119 - Cell 2
121Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Omega Pharma – LottoRow 120 - Cell 2
122Jose Garcia (Spa) Caisse d’EpargneRow 121 - Cell 2
123Koos Moerenhout (Ned) RabobankRow 122 - Cell 2
124Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Quick StepRow 123 - Cell 2
125Addy Engels (Ned) Quick StepRow 124 - Cell 2
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’EpargneRow 128 - Cell 2
130Russell Downing (GBr) Team SkyRow 129 - Cell 2
131Björn Schroder (Ger) Team Milram0:01:34
DNSMartin Pedersen (Den) Footon-ServettoRow 131 - Cell 2
DNSAndreas Stauff (Ger) Quick StepRow 132 - Cell 2

 

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1