Spaniard gets 9th place at opening ride in Australia and an identical top-10 overall after earning 1" bonus in the 2nd intermediate sprint of the day. Greipel (LTB) wins, takes ochre jersey
Movistar Team proved prepared for the demanding pace of the first WorldTour stagerace of the 2013 season with an active role in the opening stage of the 15th Tour Down Under, whose first 135km from Prospect to Lobethal witnessed another sprint victory from German André Greipel (LTB), the first leader of the Australian event. The squad directed by José Luis Arrieta tried to harden things up for the mass sprint, only confronted by lone attacks from Jordan Kerby (UNA), the day’s sole long escapee, and Jérôme Pineau (OPQ), who jumped away in the finale.
Gutiérrez, Herrada, Amador or Capecchi pulled at the front in the final 15k to favor the chances by José Joaquín Rojas, who earned a bonus second in the second of three intermediate sprint, yet suffered from tremendous pace and final turns for a last rush where he could only get 9th. The telephone squad’s rider is now also within the best ten overall -9 seconds behind Greipel- as the top finishers will have another shot on Wednesday, with a short ride -117km from Mt. Barker and Rostrevor- and interesting due to the Montacute KOM being placed just 7k from the end.
No chance for Ventoso at first Argentinian sprint
In turn, the action at the 7th Tour de San Luis took its start on Monday with the 164km stage one from the department’s capital city to Villa Mercedes, a flat race with textbook tactics where the sprinters’ teams took perfect control of the seven-man breakaway that stayed away until the final fifteen kilometers of racing. Within those fast men tried to stay Fran Ventoso, whose usual good position for the mass sprint was ruined by a change of direction in the final meters that left him with no chance at the end. Briton Mark Cavendish (OPQ) took the first victory and the orange leader’s jersey, which he will try to conserve today with another apparently suiting finish in Terrazas del Portezuelo, 171km after the start in Tilisarao.
Photo (c): Santos Tour Down Under / Regallo – Only for editorial use