A huge crowd of 95,000 turned out to watch the prelude to the Santos Tour Down Under proper that starts on Tuesday. In sunny Adelaide conditions the 51km race got underway, but not before special honour had been paid to Cadel Evans who will riding as a professional for the final time at the Santos Tour Down Under before he retires from the sport later this year.
Once the race got underway the pace was predictably high as riders tackled the short circuit on their way to the finish. But between them were four intermediate sprints that would also provide points of interest. The first was taken by UniSA-Australia’s Miles Scotson; the new U23 road champion of Australia.
After the catch was made though the heat began to turn up a notch as the finishing sprint edged closer. GIANT-Alpecin were very prominent on the front, looking to send Marcel Kittel to his second consecutive Classic win. But as the bell lap sounded it was anybody’s race. GIANT-Alpecin led out the sprint with Greg Henderson well positioned behind Kittel, but the German powerhouse was on song, storming away to take the win ahead of Juan Jose Lobato of Movistar and Wouter Wippert of Drapac Professional Cycling.
“My boys did an awesome job,” Kittel said in a team statement afterwards. “We always try to come back and stay together as much as possible and it was a good lead out with all the chaos.” After his second consecutive Classic win one has to ask, are the signs pretty ominous for this year’s Santos Tour Down Under in the absence of Lotto Soudal’s Andre Greipel?
|2||Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle||Movistar||st|
|3||Wouter Wippert||Drapac Professional Cycling||st|
|4||Christopher Sutton||Team Sky||st|
|5||Heinrich Haussler||IAM Cycling||st|
|6||Gianni Meersman||Etixx-Quick Step||st|
|8||Samuel Dumoulin||AG2R La Mondiale||st|
|9||Mark Renshaw||Etixx-Quick Step||st|
|10||Greg Henderson||Lotto Soudal||st|
|25||Jack Bauer||Team Garmin-Cannondale||st|
|41||Sam Bewley||Orica GreenEDGE||st|
|53||Hayden Roulston||Trek Factory Racing||st|
|101||George Bennett||Team LottoNL- Jumbo||+0.24|
By: Ed Wright