Just two days after Team Sky’s domination of the Cancer Council Classic, 2008 Tour Down Under champion Andre Greipel of HTC-Columbia showed his intentions for the season by winning stage 1 and thereby earning the Santos Tour Down Under leaders jersey.
“I think we deserved it. Now we have to take the responsibility to try and win every stage now, like we did in the last two years,” said Greipel, a comfortable winner by two bike lengths from Gert Steegmans of RadioShack and Omega Pharma-Lotto’s Jurgen Roelandts.
The stage began with a crash and a bang before it had even left the town of Clare. More than 30 riders bit the tar including Australian rider Cameron Meyer(Garmin-Transitions).
“I went down as part of the crash in the first 50 metres,” said the World Champion track rider and newly crowned Australian time trial Champion. “I crashed pretty hard and banged up my knee.”
“It was painful for the first hour but gradually got better, our team staff is great and really helping me out,” he added. “Tomorrow’s a new day.”
Euskadel-Euskadi rider Gorka Izagirre (ESP) launched an very early attack but it didn’t last and UniSA-Australia rider Timothy Roe then had a go taking with him, Kohler and AG2R la Mondiale rider Biel Kadri (FRA).
Roe eventually launched a solo attack at the base of Menglers Hill and managed to crest in the lead. HTC-Columbia had different ideas and reeled him in while dominating pelton to setup Andre Greipel for the win.
The leaner, fitter 37-year-old Lance Armstrong expended no more energy than what he deemed absolutely necessary, finishing safely in the first pack of 90 riders in 46th place and summarized stage 1 as “a fairly uneventful day”