Santos Tour Down Under: Simon Gerrans out-sprints Andre Greipel to claim stage one win

Last Updated: 22/01/14 8:38am

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Simon Gerrans: Continued his storming start to the season with a big stage win

Simon Gerrans: Continued his storming start to the season with a big stage win

Sky Bet

Simon Gerrans pulled off a surprise sprint victory over Andre Greipel on stage one to move into the early lead of the Santos Tour Down Under.

The Australian national champion (Orica-GreenEdge) timed his kick perfectly into a headwind, coming around established sprinter Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) and taking advantage of a tough finish into Angaston.

Steele Von Hoff (Garmin-Sharp) rounded out the podium on the day, while Gerrans was able to open out a five-second lead at the top of the standings.

"I guess I surprised a few today, myself included," Gerrans said after the stage. "Obviously Andre is one of the fastest guys around so I'm pretty pleased to be able to get over him on the line.

Left it late

"Everyone was pretty tired coming into the finish, so I thought that might have taken the sting out of his legs just a little bit. I left my sprint really late, got into the headwind and was just able to get by."

As expected, there was an attack from the gun on the 135km stage, with Australian duo William Clarke (Drapac Cycling) and Neil Van Der Ploeg (Uni-SA) forming a breakaway, but they were never allowed more than a four-minute gap.

Mid-way through the stage, with Team Sky and Orica-GreenEdge controlling the peloton, Gerrans showed his intent by nipping out to take a one-second bonus at the second intermediate sprint in Bethany.

However, all eyes were on Menglers Hill, with the final categorised climb proving a more selective first stage than previous years.

Gerrans prevails

The speed ramped up on the approach to the climb and the two escapees were duly caught with 16km to go.

Greipel was able to drag himself over the hill, but was unable to hold off a rampant Gerrans in the sprint finish.

"We see every year this race is won or lost by a matter of seconds," Gerrans added. "Every second counts, so you have to take every opportunity as it comes up.

"Looking towards the end of the week, it probably would have been better if Andre had the lead going into tomorrow to give us a bit of a hand. But like I said, you have got to take every opportunity that comes up. This season is starting off like a dream come true."

Stage one result

1 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge, 3:20:34
2 Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol, same time
3 Steele von Hoff (Aus) Garmin-Sharp, st
4 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida, st
5 Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
6 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana, st
7 Simon Geschke (Ger) Giant-Shmano, st
8 Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Lampre-Merida, st
9 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC, st
10 Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin, st
Selected others
11 Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky, st
29 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky, +4secs

General classification

1 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge, 3:20:23
2 Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol, +5secs
3 Steele von Hoff (Aus) Garmin-Sharp, +7
4 Simon Geschke (Ger) Giant-Shimano, + 10
5 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida, +11
6 Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
7 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana, st
8 Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Lampre-Merida, st
9 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC, st
10 Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin, st

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