Tour Down Under - st. 1
Spanish champion suffers during Tour Down Under’s inaugural stage finale, with a mechanical and a bike change with 6k to go and a crash into the final kilometer preventing him to contest the sprint won by Greipel
Misfortune stroke José Joaquín Rojas during the opening day of the 2012 World Tour calendar. The current Spanish road race champion had several troubles during the finale of stage 1 in the Tour Down Under, 149 rolling kilometers from Prospect to Clare, which avoided him getting into the bunch kick deciding the win that went again to Germany’s André Greipel (LTB), the first leader of the Australian race. Rojas was forced to switch bikes after a mechanical with 6k to go and, after reconnecting with the main group, got involved -as well as team mate Javi Moreno- into a pile-up during the final kilometer of racing. Fortunately, the Spaniard went unscathered from the incident and won’t have any problems to stay into the course.
For the rest of the Movistar Team riders, it was a calm race yet hard due to the heat -with temperatures even close to 40ºC- and wind always in contrary to the riders’ direction, causing some minor echelons and taking the race of five hours of endurance on the saddle. A long 4-man break right from the start with Rohan Dennis (UNI), Marcello Pavarin (VCD), Martin Kohler (BMC) and Eduard Vorganov (KAT) took all sprint bonus and stayed until the final 10k after having amassed a 11-minute gap. Tomorrow will see the first complicated finish in Stirling -where Alejandro Valverde took 2nd in 2010- after 148 kilometers where 3-2-1 bonus will be again played into the two intermediate sprints (km 23 and 62) and 10-6-4 at the finish, in the last of three passes into a local circuit in the Adelaide Hills.