Tour Down Under (st. 1)
A crash just before of the final kilometer avoids the Spaniard contesting the opening sprint of the Tour Down Under. Gerrans (OGE) beats Greipel (LTB) for the leader’s jersey
The 2014 UCI WorldTour kicked off on Tuesday with stage one of the 16th Tour Down Under, a short -135km between Nuriootpa and Angaston-, yet intense day with the Menglers Hill just over ten kilometers from the finish. The pace by the Sky and Garmin squads neutralized the early break from Van der Ploeg (UNI) and Clarke (DPC) and avoided attacks into a bunch strung out and ultimately splitted to leave only about 50 riders at the front after the climb.
The selected group featured Movistar Team’s Javi Moreno, Rubén Plaza and José Joaquín Rojas, after good positioning work from Erviti and Gutiérrez leading up to the ascent. However, both Rojas and Moreno couldn’t contest the final sprint after a small crash just before the flamme rouge, with no remarkable physical consequences. Aussie champion Simon Gerrans (OGE) beat German counterpart André Greipel (LTB) to take the ochre jersey, with Plaza -19th across the finish- now 15 seconds behind together with the other two Blues up-front.
Wednesday will mark another opportunity for the tougher sprinters as the complicated final circuit in Stirling includes a slight ascent at the end of the 150km route from Prospect.