Tour Down Under: Stage 1 cycling live race updates, blog

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    The 2017 UCI WorldTour finally gets underway in Adelaide with the Tour Down Under. Stage 1 takes the riders on a 145-kilometre trip, you can join The Roar for live coverage from 11:55am (AEDT).

    The stage starts out from Unley, riding to the north-east for about 85 kilometres, before finishing on three laps of a 26.5-kilometre circuit that links Williamstown and Cockatoo Valley.

    There is one categorised climb on the day, leading into Kersbrook and coming inside the first 40 kilometres – while it won’t have any significance in the outcome of the stage, it will decide who becomes the first leader in the king of the mountains classification – watch for the UniSA team to attack hard early.

    The final circuit itself doesn’t have any categorised climbs, but there is certainly enough up and down to keep the riders interested and the sprinters nervous.

    The first half of the circuit takes the riders more or less on an undulating uphill turn, before the final three kilometres of the circuit, which they will pass three times before the finish line, which is on a downhill false flat, ensuring a fast end.

    Being on a circuit, this will certainly suit the smarter riders who are able to learn something each time around, and the bigger teams.

    For that reason, Orica-Scott are in a good position here. Caleb Ewan, while still young, has plenty of skill and his team, looking after Simon Gerrans and Esteban Chavez, have more than a couple of reasons to stay out of trouble.

    The problem for Ewan is going to be getting the support he needs, but on a downhill run to the line he can easily jump on closest competitor Peter Sagan’s Bora train.

    Sagan will be led out to the line by his new team, with Sam Bennett and Jay McCarthy the men likely to lead the charge.

    Mark Renshaw is another rider who can’t be counted out in the run to the finish. While he is normally the lead out man for Mark Cavendish, he is plan A here and despite never having outrageous success in Australia, Nathan Haas and Tyler Farrar means he has a strong support cast.

    Others to watch out for include Tom Jelte-Slagter (Cannondale), Australian national champion Miles Scotson (BMC), Matti Breschel (Astana), Ben Swift (UAE) and the Uni-SA team who will try to cause an upset.

    The first stage of the year is always a difficult one to predict, but the course does suit Sagan right until the last couple of kilometres. A downhill sprint will play into his bike handling skills, but not so much the pace ones.

    Caleb Ewan, who handles the bike with the best of them should take out the first stage of 2017 in a bunch sprint ahead of Sagan and Mark Renshaw.

    Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of the first stage of the Tour Down Under from 11:55am (AEDT) and don’t forget to drop your own comments in the section below.

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    The Crowd Says (112)

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    • Roar Guru

      Scott Pryde said | 3:19pm | ! Report

      Thanks for joining me today for The Roar’s live coverage of the Tour Down Under as Caleb Ewan claimed the first victory of the season. Hopefully you enjoyed the coverage.

      Be sure to join Connor Bennett tomorrow for Stage 2.

      Before then, I’ll be live with Daria Gavrilova’s opening round match at the Australian Open.

      Bye for now.

    • Roar Guru

      Scott Pryde said | 3:18pm | ! Report

      Top 10

      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. Niccolo 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)

    • Roar Guru

      Scott Pryde said | 3:08pm | ! Report

      Race Results

      Caleb Ewan has claimed the first leader’s jersey at the 2017 Tour Down Under on a scorching day in Adelaide after taking out the opening stage in a tense final sprint ahead of Danny Van Poppel and Sam Bennett.

      The race, which was originally supposed to be 145 kilometres in length was shortened by to 117 due to the 40 degree temperatures in the west of Adelaide, meaning the final circuit around Lyndoch would only be raced twice.

      After Laurens De Vreese (Astana) sat in a solo breakaway for most of the day, but the scorching conditions were always going to catch up with him as he was eventually caught. He will take home the prize of most aggressive rider and leader of the King of the Mountains competition for his efforts though.

      On the final lap of the circuit, Jan Bakelants (Ag2r) and Adam Hansen (Lotto-Soudal) decided to make things interesting by attacking, but never actually formed as a two man break and Bakelants was caught with just 2 kilomtres to go.

      Caleb Ewan would then win the sprint after a messy lead out from his Orica-Scott team. Even though they didn’t quite get it right, Peter Sagan provided the perfect lead out trying to set up Sam Bennett, with Ewan sneaking down the left hand side of the road for the win ahead of Van Poppell and Bennett.

    • Roar Guru

      Scott Pryde said | 2:56pm | ! Report

      Marko Kump, not Ben Swift for fourth.

      Full results to come shortly.

    • Roar Guru

      Scott Pryde said | 2:55pm | ! Report

      Fantastic sprint from Ewan but you can just sense the exhaustion in his voice as he is interviewed behind the finish line.

      Riders will be straight into ice baths to try and prepare for tomorrow, get core body temperatures down.

      Ewan will also be off to the podium for the ochre jersey.

    • Roar Guru

      Scott Pryde said | 2:53pm | ! Report

      Danny Van Poppel did a good job coming up the middle of the road there, but just didn’t have the legs to get up to Ewan. Bennett came through for third, not quite capitalising on the lead out of Sagan.

      Looks like Swift came through for fourth.

      Great work from Ewan to get out on the left hand side of the road and put the hammer down for the first victory of the UCI 2017 World Tour.

    • Roar Guru

      Scott Pryde said | 2:52pm | ! Report

      Sagan went way to early there and ended up giving Caleb Ewan the perfect lead out! Caleb Ewan wins the first stage of the 2017 Tour Down Under!

      Looks like Sagan was trying to go for Bennett who was up there while Danny Van Poppel might have snuck over for second place.

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