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Santos Tour Down Under 2016: Stage 1

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Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage for the first stage of the 2016 Tour Down Under. Racing gets underway at 11am local time in Adelaide but before then we'll be counting down to the first day of WorldTour racing for season 2016.
 

The start of the 2016 WorldTour season is just one hour away! Stage one of the Tour Down Under starts in Prospect, finishing in Lyndoch 130.8km later which is expected to suit the sprinters

Phil Anderson, the first non-European to wear the Tour de France's maillot jaune, is the latest former professional to name his dream team for Cyclingnews. To see who made the cut, click here

Along with the 18 WorldTour teams, Pro-Continental team Drapac and wildcard selection UniSA-Australia complete the line up at the Tour Down Under with 140 riders to start. For the full start list, click here

Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan won the Down Under Classic in convincing fashion on Sunday night. He and Orica-GreenEdge will start today's stage 1 as favourites for the win now. To read the race report from the pre-Tour Down Under criterium, click here

The Tour Down Under isn't the only race taking place today, earlier on the first stage of the Tour de San Luis was raced and won with Etixx-Quick Step taking out the team time trial ahead of Movistar. Click here to read the race report

Rider's have started to sign in on Prospect in anticipation of stage 1 where current weather conditions are a warm 34 degrees with a gentle northerly of 10-18 km/h.

Earlier today, the Cannondale Pro Cycling team hosted its team launch for season 2016. To catch up and watch the team presentation launch, click here.  

Drapac's Graeme Brown will debut SwiftCarbon's first ever first aero road bike today at the Tour Down Under. We had a look at the custom painted HyperVox which you can have a closer look at by clicking here

Drapac sports director Tom Southam has penned his latest blog for Cyclingnews. To read his comments on the race, click here

If you haven't yet seen our five riders to watch at the Tour Down Under, click here for the video

Just a little less than 15 minutes until stage one of the Tour Down Under gets underway. To read Matt White's, Orica-GreenEdge sports director, stage preview and predicted winner, click here

And in case you haven't seen the stage map and profile for today, here is what awaits the peloton

Also taking place today in Adelaide is the Santos Women's Tour. Katrin Garfoot leads the GC courtesy of winning stage 1 but is timed at top of the classification with Lauren Kitchen (Hitec Products), Shelley Olds (Cylance Pro Cycling) and Danielle King (Wiggle High5). For the stage 3 race report, click here

The neutral zone for today's stage is 8.1km with Walkey Heights given as the race start proper following the roll out from Prospect

The sole KOM today is 12.8km into the stage and with the first jersey up for grabs, expect a fast start as riders look to snare the blue polka dot jersey

We then have intermediate sprint points at Cockatoo Valley on kilometre 59.6km and then 86.4km with sprint points also awarded on the finish line in Lyndoch

Defending champion Rohan Dennis has been called to the start line with the peloton all but ready to commence the first race day of the 2016 WorldTour season

Still rolling through the neutral zone with little to report so far but once the flag drops, expect the attacks to com thick and fast. Astana attacked from the gun at the Down Under Classic, will they do so again today?

There are 29 countries represented in the 140-rider 2016 Tour Down Under peloton. Australia is best represented with 29 riders, Italy is second with 16 riders while the Netherlands is the only other country with double figures, fielding 11 riders

The race is officially underway!

2km in to the race and there is yet to be an attack from the peloton

Alexis Gougeard (AG2r), Martijn Keizer (Lotto-Jumbo), Sean Lake (UniSA) launch the first attack of the race!

The three leaders have one minute on the peloton 

124km remaining from 130km

Alexis Gougeard rode the Tour Down Under last year with Ag2R-La Mondiale, going on to have a successful year with French team animating several stages and claiming a win from a breakaway at the Vuelta a Espana

UniSA-Australia rider Sean Lake is making his debut at a WorldTour race this week. The former rower finished third at the Australian national time trial titles earlier this month and will be one the riders to watch on the books of New Zealand Continental team Avanti IsoWhey

Dutchman Martijn Keizer is the third member of the breakaway and one of the tallest riders in the peloton, standing at 1.93m

122km remaining from 130km

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The 3.5km climb averages six per cent. It should take the riders around nine-and-a-half minutes to ten minutes

118km remaining from 130km

The three leaders have a 2:10 minute advantage over the peloton following the KOM

Michael Hepburn led the peloton over the climb in chase of the three leaders

Adam Blythe just changed bikes and is now rejoining the peloton

113km remaining from 130km

Just some confirmation of the KOM, Sean Lake will wear the blue polka dot jersey on stage 2 having claimed the maximum 10 points on offer. UniSA-Australia punching above their weight again

Overnight, the UCI announced the quotas for the men's Olympic Games road race and time trial events. To see how many riders nations such as Spain, Australia and France qualified, click here

Over in Tour de San Luis, Max Richeze pulled on the first leader's jersey following Etixx-Quick Step's stage win. Click here to read more about the Argentine rider

105km remaining from 130km

The three leaders have their advantage over the peloton drop down to 1:20 minutes now

The Lampre-Merida team have moved up to the front of the peloton to share the work with Orica-GreenEdge

Defending champion Rohan Dennis sitting on the start line this morning

103km remaining from 130km

99km remaining from 130km

As we approach one hour of racing, the three leaders are working together at the moment with  Michael Hepburn sitting on the front of the peloton for Orica-GreenEdge, followed by several AG2R-La Mondiale riders

95km remaining from 130km

IAM Cycling's Matteo Pelucchi spoke with media before the stage today, here's what e had to say;

New Lampre-Merida signing Marko Kump also had a few words to say this morning;

81km remaining from 130km

Trek-Segafredo's Adriano Baffi had a few words this morning on the chances of his sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo

87km remaining from 130km

80km remaining from 130km

The wind gusts are reportedly reaching 60km/hr making a hot day on the bike just a little bit harder. Welcome to the start of the 2016 season!

Over in Argentina, second place on stage 1 of the Tour de San Luis for Movistar sees Nairo Quintana in the best position of the GC riders. 

Orica-GreenEdge are looking to take the win today with Caleb Ewan but are also looking to win the race overall with Simon Gerrans. Here's what the three-time winner had to say this morning.

73km remaining from 130km

72km remaining from 130km

Alexis Gougeard lead out the sprint and holds on to claim maximum points

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Luke Durbridge has joined Michael Hepburn in setting the tempo on the front for Orica-GreenEdge

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57km remaining from 130km

Just a few more kilometres, and the breakaway will pass through the finish arch for a second time

The riders take on more food as they pass through Lyndoch again with the breakaway at 1:25 minutes

50km remaining from 130km

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The average speed of the last five kilometres was 33.6kmh

Alexis Gougeard makes it two sprint wins in a row and he picks up six bonus seconds for his efforts

Keizer has been dropped by Lake and Gougeard

41km remaining from 130km

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The speed has picked up with the average speed of the last 10km 43km/h

Tsgabu Grmay has spent the majority of the stage at the front for Lampre who will be backing Marko Kump

26km remaining from 130km

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Alexis Gougeard is the most aggressive rider for today

19km remaining from 130km

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14km remaining from 130km

Having passed over the Whispering Wall climb, the peloton should lift the pace as team's start to prepare for the sprint finish or will Lake hold them off for a famous upset?

Race radio reporting Mathew Hayman required a new wheel. He'll need to get back on as he's a key rider for the Orica-GreenEdge lead out train

11km remaining from 130km

10km remaining from 130km

10km remaining from 130km

Inside the final nine kilometres and Lake is still holding onto his slender lead

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Dimension Data re moving up the left-hand side of the road now

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Final kilometre!

fast finish coming up

Caleb Ewan !

Vert fast, very aero spring by Ewan secure the win for Ewan

A big winning margin for Ewan ahead of Mark Renshaw in second and Wouter Wippert in third

Caleb Ewan will wear the leader's jersey tomorrow having won the stage

We are waiting for confirmation on the final results from today but it will be Caleb Ewan wearing the ochre leader's jersey after his second career WorldTour stage win

For the race report from stage 1 of the Tour Down Under, click here

Most combative Alexis Gougeard had a few words to say after the stage:

Thanks for joining us for stage 1 of the Tour Down Under/ We'll have highlights of the stage later on today for you along with a selection of news to come out of today's stage. Thanks again and see you tomorrow!

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