Marcel Kittel wins People's Choice Classic ahead of Andre Greipel and Caleb Ewan
Last Updated: 19/01/14 1:46pm
Marcel Kittel beat compatriot Andre Greipel into second place
Marcel Kittel opened his account for the 2014 season by sprinting to victory at the People's Choice Classic in Adelaide.
The 25-year-old German beat compatriot Andre Greipel into second place and Australian prodigy Caleb Ewan into third following 50km of evening racing around the city centre.
The race acts as a warm-up for the Santos Tour Down Under, which starts on Tuesday.
Kittel said afterwards: "I'm really impressed by the boys, they did a great job. We immediately had a good feeling for the track and the lead-out in the end. It was a great start to the new season.
"It is always a bit of a waiting game. You need that bit of luck to be in the perfect position at the right moment. I think we did great work and in the end it worked out that I was in the perfect position to do my sprint."
With only a short distance to negotiate, the race was fast and frantic from the starting flag, with Lotto-Belisol setting out their stall by marshalling the early part of the 25-lap race.
The momentum was halted at the end of lap six, however, as a mass crash took down a number of riders, including Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), who had to leave the race in an ambulance. It was later confirmed that the Italian suffered a broken tibia in his right leg and will undergo surgery.
By that time a four-man group had established itself, with Axel Domont (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp), Luca Wackermann (Lampre-Merida) and Anthony Roux (FDJ) combining well.
Greipel's Lotto-Belisol team helped haul them back and then took to the front of the peloton in the closing stages, only for Giant-Shimano to deliver Kittel in perfect position to claim victory.
People's Choice Classic result
1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Giant-Shimano, 1:04:34
2 Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol, same time
3 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Uni-SA, st
4 Christ Sutton (Aus) Team Sky, st
5 Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar, st
6 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st
7 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st
8 Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Drapac, st
9 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale, st
10 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto-Belisol, st