Riders Battle Heat as Caleb Ewan Wins Stage 1
Stage shortened after temperatures exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit
The Road Race season started in blazing temperatures down under. Orica Scott favourite Caleb Ewan won stage 1 of the UCI WorldTour in Lyndoch, Australia on Tuesday.
Organizers cut the stage short after temperatures reached 103 degrees fahrenheit.
The small Aussie pipped Team Sky's Danny Van Poppel to the line, with Bora – Hansgrohe’s new sprinting ace Sam Bennett third.
“I think everyone felt the heat. It was probably a good idea for the race to shorten a little bit,” said Ewan. “I’m super happy to get that win — it was a really close one in the end.”
Belgian Astana rider Laurens de Vreese went on the attack a mile into the race. Jan Bakelants from AG2R La Modialee caught de Vreese and then went on a solo attack himself. However a bunch sprint was the order of the day as the riders turned into a head wind in the final mile.
Ewan said that many of his rivals ran out of lead-out men for what he described as a “super messy sprint.”
World champion Peter Sagan did his best to lead out Bennett, who chose the right side of the road for his final sprint. Ewan dashed up the left side, in his low, aerodynamic sprint position. Van Poppel charged hard into the final 50 meters, but Ewan had the edge and claimed the race’s first leader’s jersey.
“It’s like a repeat of last year so I’m super happy with that,” he added.
The Adelaide Hills town of Stirling is the setting for the start of Staging Connections Stage 2 of the Santos Tour Down Under.
The peloton will sweep through Stirling five times before setting off through the Adelaide Hills. A sharp descent on Norton Summit and the KOM climb up Torrens Hill Road are sure to split the group and provide a thrilling finish into Paracombe.
Tour Down Under 2017 – Stage 1 Results
1 Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) 3:24:18
2 Danny van Poppel (Team Sky) ,,
3 Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe) ,,
4 Marko Kump (UAE Abu Dhabi) ,,
5 Niccolò Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida) ,,
6 Nikias Arndt (Sunweb) ,,
7 Baptiste Planckaert (Katusha-Alpecin) ,,
8 Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) ,,
9 Miles Scotson (BMC) ,,
10 Sean De Bie (Lotto Soudal) ,,
Tour Down Under 2017 - Stage 1, Highlights
Tour Down Under 2017 - Stage 1, Full Stage