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Santos Tour Down Under 2014: Stage 1

Hello and welcome to stage 1 of the 2014 Santos Tour Down Under due to get started at 11am Adelaide time. Cyclingnews will be providing live updates throughout the race

 If you haven't caught up on the People's Choice Classic yet, here are the highlights of Marcel Kittel's win

 If you haven't caught up on the People's Choice Classic yet, here are the highlights of Marcel Kittel's win, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubGuCYLNOXU&list=UUm0Qjs5OBrv3-d6kKBshEbg&feature=share&index=3

 If you haven't caught up on the People's Choice Classic yet, here are the highlights of Marcel Kittel's win, click here

 If you haven't caught up on the People's Choice Classic yet, here are the highlights of Marcel Kittel's win, click here

With the inclusion of Menglers Hill on today's stage, Marcel Kittel told Cyclingnews that he is unlikely to make it over at the front end to contest the sprint. Read what he said here

Its now just under an hour till racing starts but we'll keep you updated until the riders head out for the 135km ride to Angaston

 

There will be two sprint points in today's race at 26.1km and 71.6km while the KOM points on offer come after 123.3km of racing atop of Menglers Hill

 

Giovanni Visconti will miss the Tour Down Under after his crash on Sunday night but there is some good news regarding the three time Italian road race champion who had successful surgery on his fractured leg

 

 Over in Argentina at the Tour de San Luis, Garmin-Sharp recorded their first win of the year courtesy of Phillip Gaimon. Can the American team take another today?

While we wait for the action to begin it’s a chance to stroll down memory line with this gallery of images from previous editions of the Tour Down Under. From Pat Jonker’s win all the way to wins for Gerrans, Davis and Rogers.  Click here to see the images

 

And who are you tipping for success in this year’s race? We’ve already seen Marcel Kittel win the People’s Choice Classic but the Cyclingnews team have picked out another riders you should keep you eye on in this year’s race: Click here to see who they are

 

Simon Gerrans comes into the race as perhaps the red hot favourite. He’s won the race on two occasions and will be looking to set a new record with a third overall title. He’s red hot form having claimed the national road race last weekend and has a highly motivated and experienced team on hand.

Add your source here: Baden Cooke

That’s going to be a really interesting race. It’s the first WorldTour event of the year; you can expect a 52km/h average for the first hour. A break should move around the 60 or 80km mark and it will be interesting to see who takes the bull by the horns in the finish because of the Menglers Hill climb 10km out and it’s possible for the break to then stay away.

 

Baden Cooke

That’s going to be a really interesting race. It’s the first WorldTour event of the year; you can expect a 52km/h average for the first hour. A break should move around the 60 or 80km mark and it will be interesting to see who takes the bull by the horns in the finish because of the Menglers Hill climb 10km out and it’s possible for the break to then stay away.

 

With racing about to get under way, here is the forecast for Stage 1. Sunny with SSE winds that will average 18-23km/h and gusts of 30km/h at times, potentially gusting to 45-50km/h towards the end of the stage, adding to the difficulty of the Menglers Hill climb.

The temperature is 21 degrees for the start, reaching 27-28 degrees at the finish.

 

The talk of today is all about Menglers Hill and who will make it over the top to challenge for the win. What are the specifics of the climb? 

The first 2.5km of the climb starts at about 330 metres altitude to about 500 metres altitude (gradient mostly 10-15%, peaking at about 20%)

 

Racing is just about to start with riders making their way forward and team cars getting into position

Another rider to watch is Richie Porte. The Sky leader is targeting the Giro but will be looking for a strong result here in the Tour Down Under. You can read all about his aspirations, right here in his exclusive blog for Cyclingnews.

 

The riders are away up Murray Street Nariootpa

 

Mark Renshaw

It depends how the gc guys will show their legs. If they look at each other we might have a sprint finish but if they attack it'll be hard for us

 

Will Clarke (Drapac) and Neil van der Ploeg (UniSA) have attacked quickly forming a 25 second gap

 

Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) is after a new rear wheel

 

130km remaining from 135km

The gap by the two leaders has swelled to 1:30

 

Nathan Earle

I'm a little bit nervous after getting this late call up to replace CJ Sutton. But it's all part of being a professional I guess. Luckily I was in Tasmania not too far away. Today I'll just support Richie (Porte) and Geraint (Thomas) and make sure they're out of trouble.

 

Drapac are making their TDU debut and have started with a bang by sending Will Clarke up the road. Clarke has won from a break before but will today yield another win and his first in the red of Drapac?

 

128km remaining from 135km

Clarke and van der Ploeg have grown their lead to 3 minutes

 

Making his WorldTour debut is Matej Mohoric and his Cannondale  teammate Cameron Wurf has him down as a darkhorse for the win today

 

Cameron Wurf

Michael Matthews is the favourite today. But watch out for my teammate Matej Mohoric. He's the youngest rider in this peloton but also a great downhill rider. Remember how he won the U23 World's.

 

127km remaining from 135km

Clarke and van der Ploeg have increased their lead to 3:20 minutes over the peloton

 

Yesterday BikeRadar had a look at Jens Voigt's Madone 7 and you can have a look at it here

 

121km remaining from 135km

The break has continued to build its lead and now have 4 minutes between them and the peloton

 

Bernie Eisel and Jonathan Cantwell are the next riders to suffer a mechanical

 

117km remaining from 135km

Orica-GreenEdge and Belkin have moved forward and are staring to control the chase which is at 3:10

 

The two men out in front will soon enter through Tunuda, cross the railway line in Bethany and then contest for the first sprint points of the 2014 race

 

Trek have now come forward to help with the chase as the leaders approach the sprint point

 

108km remaining from 135km

The gap is at 3:30

 

Taking out the sprint and picking up 5 points and a  three second bonus was Will Clake

 

Sprint point #1

Will Clarke - 5 points

Neil van der Ploeg - 3 points

Simon Geschke - 2 points

 

Michael Matthews is an outside chance for the win today. While he will be riding in support of Gerrans, if he gets over Menglers with the first group he could take out the sprint. Click here to read about Matthews and his aim's for 2014

 

104km remaining from 135km

Clarke and van der Ploeg are maintaining their lead at around the 3:30 mark with the peloton pulling back 10 seconds then conceding it again. Its all a bit cat and mouse so far

 

102km remaining from 135km

Once the riders come back through Angaston they will see the feedzone outside of the commercial centre. Will anyone try an attack while their rivals are collecting bidons?

 

Jussi Veikkanen has dropped back to the team car for some help

 

98km remaining from 135km

its under 100km for the break now who have passed through the feedzone

 

Having gone through Angaston the peloton has slowed with the feedzone approaching and are 3:20 behind the two men out in front

André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) is the next rider to call for his team car

 

95km remaining from 135km

Clarke and van der Ploeg's lead is being cut down to 3:00 minutes

91km remaining from 135km

Team Sky are the next team to come to the front of the race with 3:10 now the lead that Clarke and van der Ploeg have

 

43km remaining from 135km

Jack Bobridge (Belkin) calls for the team car but its nothing serious

 

89km remaining from 135km

 Jack Bobridge (Belkin) calls for the team car but its nothing serious

85km remaining from 135km

The gap is at 3:10 and nothing much is happening in the main bunch yet. Drapac and UniSA will be happy to get some more exposure but there is no TV coverage for another 10 minutes.

 

78km remaining from 135km

The lead is still hovering just over 3:00 minutes with TV coverage about to start

 

Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) is back at the team car asking for some assistance

 

Luke Durbrdige (Orica-GreenEdge) is on the front of the peloton with Team Sky just tucked in behind him

 

77km remaining from 135km

The gap is down to under three minutes now

 

72km remaining from 135km

Durbridge's efforts has seen the breakaway's lead cut to 2:50 minutes

 

64km remaining from 135km

The break is about to contest for the second set of sprint points

 

With one hour and 45 minutes raced so far, these two out in front, have been away for just about every second of the race

 

63km remaining from 135km

van der Ploeg has won the second sprint point ahead of Clarke

 

Both riders have picked up 5 bonus seconds now from those two sprints which will be very handy at the end of the day and possibly in the overall

 

Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) just let the peloton know that he wants this race after chasing down third place in the sprint for just 1 bonus second

 

63km remaining from 135km

Rojas (Movistar) and Danilo Wyss (BMC) had tried to take the sprint but mistimed their efforts as Gerrans came past

 

Back in the peloton, its Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge) controlling the chase with Team Sky still waiting in the wings

 

As Turbo Durbo takes a break to have a it to eat, Sky have moved forward to continue the chase with the leaders at 2:20 minutes ahead.

 

55km remaining from 135km

The race clock has just clicked over two hours out on the road

 

There are some winds around today as we said prior to the race starting so we'll see how that impacts on certain riders launching attacks on Menglers

 

The riders are making their way through the town of Angaston and next time they come through will be for the finishline so expect the breakaway to be swallowed up soon

 

Team Sky are moving forward to reel in the break but the lead has gone back out to 3:05

 

44km remaining from 135km

The peloton has gone through Angaston and head out for the final lap of course

 

37km remaining from 135km

The gap is now 2:49 as Eisel (Sky) has come to the front

 

Durbridge is taking turns on the front with Sky while Lampre-Merida have a few riders back there with Europcar moving forward

 

Lampre-Merida may just be working to get Diego Ulissi over Menglers Hill and set him up for the win

 

For the first 90km the average pace has been 39km/h

 

The break's lead is 2:21

 

40km remaining from 135km

While Durbridge insists on remaining at the front of the race, Sky are right behind him and then its Orica-GreenEdge sitting back

 

39km remaining from 135km

The gap is now 2:26 as Europcar and Ag2r are moving forward but still letting Sky control the chase

 

His teammate may be in the break but that hasn't stopped Caleb Ewan (UniSA) from moving up to around 10th wheel. Is he chasing the win today?

 

 

The lead is slowly getting closer to two minutes with the peloton led by Sky are chipping away at the breakaway

 

35km remaining from 135km

Its just 1:54 now between the break and the Sky led peloton

 

The TV footage has found Evans (BMC) who is sitting mid-pack as Astana make their move forward on the right but its still all Sky at the front

 

32km remaining from 135km

The brown shoulder of Ag2r are becoming more evident while Lotto-Belisol are moving up now

In the last 10km the average speed has increased to 45km/h as the breakaway's chances of survival become ever smaller

 

Caleb Ewan

It's great to be racing here. I've watched this race on TV and dreamed of being here. It's a hard climb so I will try to get over it with the first group. It won't be easy. We have other options if it doesn't come down to a sprint.

 

30km remaining from 135km

The lead is down to 1:34 now and the break may not make it to Menglers alone now

 

Cadel Evans

It's a new season, a new start. Everyone is ready to race. It's not going to be an easy stage today. It's windy, there's a selective climb, no one knows where their form is. It makes everyone nervous. A sprinter who can go uphill, maybe can win today. I don't know if you can save much energy today, but it's a short stage. We're ready to race

 

29km remaining from 135km

The break can look over their shoulders and see the cars and motorbikes of the race now

 

28km remaining from 135km

Looking to set up the win for Robert Gesink is Belkin who have moved up to the front now

 

26km remaining from 135km

Its a green looking peloton now as Belkin and Cannondale have moved forward and Sky have relaxed a little now

 

There are 15km left before the peloton hits the climb of Menglers Hill and everyone will be fighting for position until then

 

Bernard Sulzberger (Drapac) has a front wheel flat

 

24km remaining from 135km

Tinkoff-Saxo is now at the front and Marcel Kittel is also there but don't expect him to cause any selections of the climb.

The lead is under 1:30 now as all the teams are getting ready for the final fast km's

Belkin are back in front with Sky and Lampre tucked in behind

 

The lead is at 1:12 and its only a matter of time now that the break will be caught

 

21km remaining from 135km

The peloton is making its last foray into Tanunda for the last time today

 

18km remaining from 135km

Its Will Clarke by himself now

 

van der Ploeg is caught and its Will Clarke who will win the most aggressive rider for the day

 

17km remaining from 135km

The gap that Clarke has is just 22 seconds

 

16km remaining from 135km

Its Team Sky chasing now

 

15km remaining from 135km

GreenEdge are moving up but with Gerrans

 

Porte leads the peloton up the climb

 

14km remaining from 135km

Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) is up there

 

Frank Schleck has gone down but he's up again

 

With the high pace, sprinters and riders caught up in the crash are all going backwards

 

13km remaining from 135km

With Clarke having been caught at the base of the climb, Sky and Garmin are causing a selection with riders continually going backwards

 

Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp) is leading the race up the climb

 

12km remaining from 135km

Evans is sitting on teammate Brookwalter's wheel with Gerrans sitting nearby just watching the race

 

Adam Hansen wins the KOM

 

11km remaining from 135km

Hansen is now flying down the other side of hill and he could time trial his way to the win here

 

10km remaining from 135km

The riders who are left are starting to drive what's left of the peloton home with 40 or so riders in that group

9km remaining from 135km

Philip Deignan (Sky) is on the front now

 

8km remaining from 135km

Europcar are now attacking off the front here

 

Bjorn Thurau and Yukiya Arashira are the riders off the front

 

7km remaining from 135km

The small peloton that's left will need to get organised here is they want to catch the Europcar riders

 

5km remaining from 135km

There are about 50 riders in this group now with Lotto and Greipel together

 

4km remaining from 135km

With Greipel in that group it looks like it may come down to a sprint here as Lotto have several riders who got over that climb. They will need to catch the Europacr duo first

 

There is a slight left hander in the finish with 365m to go then its a straight drag to the finish line

 

2km remaining from 135km

Thurau is off alone now and its too tough for Arashiro

 

The Eruopcar duo had a lead of 20 seconds but couldn't hold on

 

1km remaining from 135km

The chasers have crashed but the chase is still on

 

Rory Sutherland attacks

Lotto are setting it up for Greipel

 

Gerrans wins ahead of Greipel

 

Gerrans takes the win and with it the Ochre Jersey

 

Results results#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult 1Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge3:20:24  2Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol   3Steele von Hoff (Aus) Garmin-Sharp   4Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida   5Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale   6Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana   7Simon Geschke (Ger) Giant-Shimano   8Rafael Valls (Esp) Lampre-Merida   9Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC   10Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin  

There you have it. Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) takes a huge win ahead of Andre Greipel to take a commanding overall lead and a brilliant start to his 2014 season.

Greipel now has two second places and it was the slight uphill finish that was to Gerrans' advantage.

The Australian champion will now look to defend to his lead. Join us tomorrow for another day of live coverage and check for a full report.

 

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