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Tour Down Under 2018: People's Choice Classic

Hello and welcome to live coverage from the People's Choice Classic.

 We're in downtown Adelaide, it's Sunday night and it's the pre-event race to the Tour Down Under. 50.6km of racing  - 22 laps and in the end Caleb Ewan wins.

The young Australian has been in fine form once again, and is surely the race favourite for this evening's race. He won last year, and then went on to win four stages of the Tour Down Under. He has the full backing of Mitchelton Scott at the race but there are a few more rivals kicking around who will be looking to spoil the party for the local team.

 

One of those riders is Germany's Andre Greipel. He has 16 stage wins in the TDU, and and two overall titles. He didn't have his best year in 2017 but is eager to turn the page and win here tonight. We sat down with Greipel a couple of nights ago, and here's our interview

 

We're about 30 mins or so from the official race start but riders are already out there and riding the circuit. It's a pretty straight forward  crit though, with few surprises. 

 

Breaking news: Spratt has one the Santos Women's Tour - defending her title from last year. Chloe Hosking won the final stage, just moments ago. You can find the report, results and soon photos, just here.

 

In less important news, Richie Porte went for a swim today. I know this because he told me.
 

"Where are you going?" I asked as he left the hotel, earlier today.
 

"For a swim, Daniel," he said.


"Good luck," I replied. 


And then he left.

 

In terms of conditions, they are perfect for this time of year. The sun is slowly setting and there's just a gentle breeze out on the roads. 

 

Here's the complete start list for today. We're about 15 minutes away from the start of the race. 

 

Peter Sagan is here too. His team have been hit with illness since arriving here in Australia but in the world champion, Oss, Bennett, Kennaugh and McCarthy they have one of the strongest teams on paper. Here's what Sagan had to say before the race.

 

Four minutes. Four minutes until the crit starts. Riders are lining up on the start line, and Sagan, Porte and Simon Gerrans are front and centre. 

 

Here's the Mitchelton Scott team in full. It just screams full leadout doesn't it. Interestingly Ewan is out of contract at the end of the year but surely he'd be mad to leave this team.

 

21 Caleb Ewan (Aus)
22 Daryl Impey (RSA)
23 Alex Edmondson (Aus)
24 Mathew Hayman (Aus)
25 Jack Bauer (NZl)
26 Damien Howson (Aus)
27 Cameron Meyer (Aus)

 

And we're about to start. Here we go. I hope you've packed your suitcase of courage because you're going to need it today. Actually, maybe not a full suitcase. I carry-on would probably be enough. Maybe a bum-bag even. 

 

Bahrain Merida. Who called it? They'e just sent a rider up the road but EF are chasing the move down. We're already lined out on the first lap.

 

And EF are keeping the move going with a few more riders trying to jump across. 

 

Now it's Trek who take over at the front and fire a rider up the road. 

 

Dempter, Bohli, and Beppu are in the break now and they're creating a short gap. The trio have a few seconds but it's going to take  a huge effort to build on this advantage. That said the bunch have sat up and spread out over the road as two more riders try and make the split too.

 

Dempter, Bohli, and Beppu are in the break now and they're creating a short gap. The trio have a few seconds but it's going to take  a huge effort to build on this advantage. That said the bunch have sat up and spread out over the road as two more riders try and make the split too.

 

The trio have around 15 seconds at the moment as they're about to be joined by  a rider from Katusha and one from Bahrain. Who will chase? 

 

These five leader are working well together and i can see them getting 30 seconds pretty quickly if they keep this up. 

 

At the start our own Zeb Woodpower spoke to Ewan:

 

I am feeling pretty good. National crit compared to this is obviously very different so it will be good to test my legs out against all the other guys that I will be racing next week.
 

I think the sprint field is better this year and a lot of teams have come here with good sprint trains so I think it will be a bit more competitive than it has in previous years.

 

It is hard to tell without how good everyone is going. I guess the usual guys like Greipel, Sagan and maybe Sam Bennett as well. Depends on whom they ride for. Viviani as well. There are plenty of guys here who can challenge for the win.


 

 

Lap 4 and the break are holding. Restrepo and Boaro have joined the break. Restrepo is from Colombia and I spoke to him at the Katusha team camp last month. He was tenth on GC at the TDU last year and won the white jersey. He's a decent young talent and will work well with Nathan Haas in this year's race. 

 

The gap to the break is holding ta 12 seconds. Howson is doing the work on the front of the bunch, with Lotto Soudal sat behind him. Lap 5.

 

Beppu takes the intermediate sprint. Never in doubt. 

 

Actually it was Boara. Sorry. It was a doubt. Beppu was second there.

 

Lap 6. 

 

Zeb also also spoken to Lancaster from Team Sky. 

 

We have a good little lead out team, a very young team and Kristoffer Halvorsen is obviously our guy. Lawless has a turn of speed as well.
 

Today is also a good chance to have a hit out and get the order right with the lead out for Tuesday. It is a good opener, the boys are keen and we are going to have some fun out there for the first race of the race.
 

We have our work cut for sure to beat Caleb Ewan. Go back to China at the end of last year and that was the start of his 2018 season then. He is going to be in great form. I was in Ballarat and saw him in the criterium title and he was super fast. Different competition here. They nailed the lead out last year Orica so it will be tough but for Halvorsen, he has nothing to lose., he is a young guy, and I’ve said to them don’t think about any other big sprinters. Just get in there and mix it from the start and see what you can do.


Luckily a lot of our guys worked together last year. The three of them did a lot of lead work out together and they have some experience there. Guys coming off the track, Jon Dibben is ex points world champion and also Owain Doull. They have a very good turn of speed and Puccio is experienced. Everyone is nervous out there today. First race of the season so it can get sketchy but fingers crossed.

 

And two more riders are coming over. Morton an and Roe but they have a gap to still close. Lap 7.

 

Porte is at the back as we see the two leading groups link up once more. Bora and Scott are starting to organise the chase with a bit of help from Lotto Soudal. 

 

The seven leaders are working well as we see De Gendt leading the chase. Lap 8/22.

 

Another sprinter  to watch is Viviani. Again, we spoke to him earlier in the week about his move from Team Sky to Quick-Step. The story is here.

 

41 seconds. That's the gap. As we see QuickStep put a man on the front too.

 

Bora are starting to look a lot more organised as we look back through the peloton. Up ahead and the seven leaders are still swapping turns as Howson moves up and sets the pace for the main field. 

 

Bora are starting to look a lot more organised as we look back through the peloton. Up ahead and the seven leaders are still swapping turns as Howson moves up and sets the pace for the main field. 

 

Restrepo takes the second intermediate sprint. He came from a long way back to take the points. 

 

Onto lap 11 and the gap is holding at around 30 seconds. 

 

And the break have started to attack each other, already. That's not a great sign at this point in the race. It shows they're not working well together. Restrepo attacked but he's caught. They're talking to each other and the gap drops to 24 seconds.

 

Team Sky are staring to move up a well. They've a young team here but they have options, such as Bernal, for the GC later in the week. Up ahead the seven leaders have found some cohesion. 

 

With 14/22 laps complete, the break's gap has fallen to 20". The #ArgyleArmada is riding as a unit in the front thi… https://t.co/FKuWD8ulcU

@Ride_Argyle Sun, 14th Jan 2018 09:27:43

#TDU The People's Choice Classic is over halfway and the break has 24" advantage on the bunch led by @Lotto_Soudal,… https://t.co/o1aJVy1Won

@Lotto_Soudal Sun, 14th Jan 2018 09:23:39

More attacks from the break and it's Restrepo again as he goes for the next prime. He's going to take it. 

 

And the break splits with Boara, Restrepo and Bohli going clear with 16 laps completed. 

 

And now Restrepo has been dropped. Just two leaders now as Quick-Step set the pace.

 

Bernal: I'm not thinking too much about winning just yet https://t.co/iv39qVkxoq https://t.co/psNqpghp1Y

@Cyclingnewsfeed Sun, 14th Jan 2018 09:35:48

Here's the CN podcast. You can download all our latest editions right now for free

 

And the break have been caught on lap18. Four laps to go. It's Sunweb on the front now as they whip up the speed. The bunch immediately line up as we see Ewan on Hayan's wheel a bit further back.

 

Sky come over the top and now they're setting the pace. Too far out, surely. 

 

AG2R. Attack. Attack. 

 

Sagan, meanwhile, has moved up. Montaguti was the Ag2R rider but he's about to be caught. Lap 19. 

 

Sunweb again are on the front. 

 

Astana are now on the front but here come Scott as well as they come through the inside. 

Apologies but we have some technical problems here. 

 

#TDU 2 laps to go! https://t.co/phonJugnKc

@BMCProTeam Sun, 14th Jan 2018 09:48:12

It appears the live stream has been cut by the TV broadcaster. 

 

"What is happening?" asks a panicked race organiser. 

 

"Surely it's working..." says another.

 

"Dont call me Surely"

 

We know that there's one lap to go. 

 

We are hearing on race radio that Sagan has won. We do not have confirmation on that yet though. 

 

Confirmation now that Sagan has one the race. 

 

Given the state of the information we're getting, we're going to triple check that for you. Again we apologise for all of this. 

 

Greipel was second and Ewan was third but confirmation that Sagan has indeed won the race. 

 

Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) claimed his first win of the season with victory in the People's Choice Classics in Adelaide. The world champion beat Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) and Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) to win the race and take his first victory of the campaign.

 

Again, sincere apologies. We were relying on the broadcaster feed and with two laps to go they decided to cut the feed. 

 

While we wait for more information on what happened, why not read this piece on Team Sky's new signing Egan Bernal

 

Here's the top 10:

 

1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
2 Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
3 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Mitchelton Scott
4 Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
5 Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
6 Christopher Lawless (GBr) Team Sky
7 Sam Welsford (Aus) UniSA-Australia
8 Enrico Battaglin (Ita)
9 Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar Team
10 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Dimension Data

 

You can find our brief report, photos, and results, right here.

Thanks for joining us today. You can find our complete race report, photos and results, right here.

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