Lotto set the pace in cycling sprints

By Roger Vaughan,

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    Australian cycling team Orica-GreenEDGE have the blueprint for developing a leadout that can propel sprinter Matt Goss to a Tour de France stage win.

    They only have to look across at German rival Andre Greipel and his Lotto-Belisol powerhouse.

    Lotto have given two sprinting master classes over the last three days in Adelaide.

    They were going so fast, they split the peloton on Sunday in the frenetic last few hundred metres of the People’s Choice Classic street race.

    At the end of Tuesday’s opening stage in the Tour Down Under, Greipel incredibly opened up a gap of about three bike lengths before coasting to another win.

    Goss was runner-up on Sunday night, but missed the charge on Tuesday and was 20 seconds off the pace in 93rd place.

    He was disappointed with Tuesday’s result, but far from discouraged – noting it took Lotto two years to reach this level.

    “You look at their first year – they weren’t setting the world on fire,” Goss said of Lotto.

    “They were good at the start of (last) season, but really the Tour de France last we saw how good they were.

    “That’s an 18-month process.

    “We are doing the same thing and hopefully you will see us take a similar path throughout the rest of the year.”

    The finish to Tuesday’s stage was not easy for the sprinters, but Lotto set up Greipel perfectly after withstanding a strong challenge from the Sky team.

    “The team did an awesome job again,” Greipel said.

    “It was hard to control and keep me up the front.

    The Lotto express features Australian Adam Hansen and New Zealander Greg Henderson, with German Marcel Seberg also providing significant firepower.

    Australian sprinter Mark Renshaw, who was third in Tuesday’s stage, noted that Henderson is no slouch himself in high-speed finishes.

    “Henderson is as good a sprinter as I am and he was leading him (Greipel) out,” Renshaw said.

    © AAP 2018

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