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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.

 

As the riders climb North East Rd with a gentle cross wind the temperature should stay a fairly constant 35 degrees. From KoM (Lower Hermitage) up and down the hills to the Barossa the temperature should be 35-to-37 degrees. A bit of cloud will develop to the north and take the edge off the heat.

 

Wind should generally be a cross-head wind and become a bit more of a battle as it steadily increases to 15-20 km/h as while turning from northerly to northwesterly. 2:30pmish finish at Lyndoch - equal mix of sun and cloud, 37 degrees and a northwesterly of 15-20 km/h. Overall, fairly tough conditions given the heat and non-favourable winds (the only tail wind will be Cockatoo Valley to Williamstown) but thankfully the humidity will be a typically low 15-20 percent.

 

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

The break is slowly building its advantage over the peloton, they now have 1:20 with just a few kilometres until the sole KOM of the day

 

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

Orica-GreenEdge are patrolling the front of the peloton at the moment

 

120km remaining from 130km

The three leaders are approaching the KOM. Who will take the points?

 

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

Sean Lake took out the KOM points ahead of Keizer and Gougeard

 

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

The three leaders have built their lead to over two and a half minutes now

 

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

Feeding is now allowed so there will be  plenty of domestiques dropping back to team vehicles for bidons and small ice packs

 

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

The breakaway's advantage continues to fall with the trio 1:30 ahead of the peloton

 

99km remaining from 130km

We've dipped under 100km to race now as the three leaders sit 1:45 minute ahead of the peloton

 

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

The wind has picked up with the riders heading toward some dusty roads the leading trio extend their lead out to over two minutes now

 

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

 

"We believe in a bunch sprint finish today because Orica wants that. I feel good. And everyone has seen in the crit on Sunday that our team is good for a lead out. I missed out on the sprint, that's all. But I'm not worried. Some sprinters are more advanced in terms of condition than I am, Caleb Ewan of course, he'll be the man to beat but Nizzolo has demonstrated to be close to winning on Sunday too."

 

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

 

"I have won a lot of races last year (18) but mostly at continental level so it's another story here. There's a big difference of level in the world tour but I hope to be at the front for sprinting even though it's my first race of the year. Racing in the world tour is every rider's dream so I'm delighted to be here."

 

81km remaining from 130km

The riders are around 10km from passing through the finish arch for the first of three laps

 

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

 

"We have an opportunity to win today with Nizzolo but no stress because our goals are further ahead. We hope for the best. It'll be a different sprint than on Sunday because the finale is an 8km long straight line. Nizzolo prefers a curve or two. He's more technical than powerful but he'll try and win in Lyndoch."

 

87km remaining from 130km

We are approaching the finish arch to start the laps of the Barossa circuit as the three leaders enjoy a lead of 2:15 minutes 

80km remaining from 130km

It was Sean Lake leading over the finish line in Lyndoch to start the first of the finishing circuits with the break two minutes ahead of the peloton

 

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.

"Everyone's excited to be back for the Tour Down Under. For our team, it's one of the most important races of the year. We have a strong team and can race for the GC and stages. It won't be easy to win, because there are strong teams here, with BMC, Lampre, Movistar, Astana, and others. It won't be easy to win again."

 

73km remaining from 130km

The breakway's lead is sitting at 1:42 minutes at the moment

 

72km remaining from 130km

Two kilometre to the first sprint sprint point today

 

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

 

60km remaining from 130km

The gap to the breakaway has dropped down again following the intermediate sprint point to 1:20 minutes

 

66km remaining from 130km

 The gap to the breakaway has dropped down again following the intermediate sprint point to 1:20 minutes

65km remaining from 130km

The gap has dropped to under one minute now

 

63km remaining from 130km

Orica-GreenEdge continue to do the work in the peloton as the trio's lead now moves back out to over 1:10 minutes

 

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

 

58km remaining from 130km

There are plenty of riders sitting up at the moment, having a sip or two from their bidons and having a bite to eat

 

57km remaining from 130km

The breakaway riders are taking turns out in front with their lead hovering around the one minute mark

 

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

There are reports of rain in the Barossa hopefully cooling things down for the riders with the temperature having hovered around 35 degrees since racing begun

 

49km remaining from 130km

Inside the final 50km of the stage now with GreenEdge still leading and the three leaders sitting around 1:15 minutes ahead

 

46km remaining from 130km

We are approaching the second intermediate sprint point now

 

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

Lake and Gougeard lead the peloton by 1:50 minutes

 

35km remaining from 130km

The two leaders are holding a 1:25 minute lead with Hepburn still doing the work on the front with a couple of AG2R riders sitting on his wheel

 

31km remaining from 130km

The two leaders have their advantage cut down to 39 seconds as they approach the start of the final lap

 

30km remaining from 130km

We are inside the final 30km of the stage now with the sprinters team getting organised at the front

 

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

The peloton has passed through the finish line as the bell sounds with the two leaders one minute ahead on the road

 

23km remaining from 130km

The current temperature in the Barossa is a little cooler than when the stage started with thermometers recording 33.6C

 

22km remaining from 130km

The pace is lifting with a sprint finish looking very much to be on the cards. Lake and Gougeard have a gap of just 45 seconds

 

22km remaining from 130km

Sean Lake is trying to ride away solo now with 22km to race

 

22km remaining from 130km

Back in the bunch, Drapac and Movistar have moved forward in anticipation of the sprint finish

 

21km remaining from 130km

Gougeard is back with the peloton now as Lake holds a slender 20 second advantage

 

Alexis Gougeard is the most aggressive rider for today

 

19km remaining from 130km

Lake initiated the breakaway today and is now the sole leader on the road. He's surely winning a few new fans with his efforts today

 

16km remaining from 130km

Sean Lake has increased the gap to 55 seconds now

 

14km remaining from 130km

Lampre-Merida and AG2R-La Mondiale are now controlling the tempo

 

14km remaining from 130km

Sky and FDJ also move forward now to join the front row on the road

 

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

Sean Lake's advantage is now 40 seconds

 

10km remaining from 130km

It's now Luke Durbridge leading the peloton with Lake leading by 35 seconds

 

10km remaining from 130km

10km to race and solo leader Lake leads by  25 seconds

 

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

 

7km remaining from 130km

Lake is about to be aught by the peloton with the pace picking up for the sprint finish

 

6km remaining from 130km

The peloton is starting to get a little strung out now

 

5km remaining from 130km

Lake has been caught so a sprint finish is now on the cards

 

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

 

4km remaining from 130km

Team Sky are also at the front looking to deliver Ben Swift to the win

 

3km remaining from 130km

Jack Bobridge on the front as he is looking to help Nizzolo take the stage win

 

3km remaining from 130km

So we are inside the final 3km now

 

2km remaining from 130km

Orica-GreenEdge are at the front again with loads of riders moving up and down the outsides

 

2km remaining from 130km

Tyer Farrar doing the job here for Dimension Data

 

1km remaining from 130km

Sky and Farrar leading into the final 1500m

 

1km remaining from 130km

Team Sky are working hard here, they'll want Swift to finish the job

 

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:

"I was briefed for breaking away but in case there would be more riders up the road. However we don't count and I rode away because this was my job today. It was a good test. I don't have great feelings yet but I had good legs today, certainly better than one year ago in this same race. Physically I feel good, mentally too. We'll try to do a good job for Pozzovivo on GC."

 

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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