Contributed by Justin Burke
The cool thing about the TDU is that it is not one 5 day race, but a two week festival of cycling. Although the race started officially today there has already been Lance’s massive Twitter ride, the Sunday Cancer Council Classic criterium, and numerous Professionals out riding in the local bunches. There were supporting races Monday evening conducted by the oldest cycling club in the southern hemisphere, Norwood Cycling Club (est. 1883), with the highlight event being the women’s Rendition Homes Cup. I even got to watch my brother where he picked up third, not bad for an old guy.
Unfortunately the festival atmosphere was marred by a crash, leaving former time trial champion Amber Halliday in the hospital in critical but stable condition. Amber; we hope your recovery is rapid and you are back racing soon.
The break searching for a big gap, but only getting, well, not nearly enough.
My brother and I, with slightly sore heads from celebrating his third place, rode out to watch Stage 1 today under hot conditions. Luke Roberts (UniSA) one of the men trying to resurrect his career after the Pegasus Debacle was one of the early attackers who took the first and only KOM points for the day. From the KOM, Mitchel Docker (Aus) – UniSA, Simon Clark (Aus) – Astana, Miguel Minguez (ESP) – Ion Zagirre (ESP) both Euskatel-Euskadi, along with Mathieu Perget (FRA) – AG2R cleared out with an early attack. They cleaned up the sprint points through the magnificent Barossa Valley, home to some of the oldest Shiraz vines in the world.
Being a flat course and the first work day for 2011 for the professionals, the peloton was easily reeling in the 2 minute break as they hit the finish town of Angaston for the first of three laps. Head of the chase was Michael Rogers resplendent in his new Sky kit making the pace up the surprisingly leg sapping run up to the finish line. Dead road surface, with a 2 km steady incline. Through the feed zone with all the kids stationed 250-750 meters beyond to retrieve cast offs all looked good except for recently crowned New Zealand champion Hayden Roulston – Sky who had a musette tangle in is rear cluster result: Shimano Di2 rear derailleur ripped from its hanger. That is a bike change and he worked his way back onto the bunch in short time.
The peloton rolls through Barossa.
The gap dropped to 90 seconds, would they be reeled in easily? No. The second time through the finish line saw the 5 still away and Mick Rogers driving the peloton on the front, about a minute behind.
Jack Bobridge tried to get away late – seen here attacking up the gutter – but couldn’t get clear of the field hellbent on sprinting.
Two of the five attacked, Mitch Docker UniSA & the EE boys but it didn’t work. They were reeled in with 10kms to go and the big trains started to jostle for position. As expected it was the two big teams wrestling for bragging rights, HTC High Road trying to set up Cavendish or perhaps Goss and Sky maybe CJ Sutton or Henderson , with a third new train on the block trying to muscle their way in, the Omega Lotto guys for Greipel, Sky & HTC on the run in held the upper hand, Robbie McEwen was lurking near the front starting to show he is back in business and confidence growing. 200 meters, Goss was the HTC pea in the pod. McEwen had his wheel and was surprisingly chopped off by Greipel, all three dropped the hammer.
The lead up to the day’s sprint was anything but organized and polite.
Goss hit the front fast and hard after another awesome Renshaw lead-out. 100 m to go Greipel looked to have him covered, but it was not to be. Goss raised his arms 25 m out, Griepel second and Robbie had fought back to be hard on his wheel with CJ Sutton a lengthy 4th.
We spoke with a couple of riders post race with Andre Greipel saying he was feeling OK with the day, obviously disappointed with second but demurred to Goss’s early season lightning speed. Robbie McEwen was pleased that his legs & confidence are returning, also praising Goss’s form and development.
It was all Matt Goss in Stage 1. Talk about a team full of sprinters! Cavendish, Renshaw, Goss, Howard… Yikes.
Alan Peiper DS of HTC Highroad spoke of the team structure and made the comment they come to every race in a positive mindset and if no one else is willing to take control, their determination to control their own destiny will see them on the front. Cavendish is here to warm up whilst Goss is proving he is the real deal.
Best bit of the day – A shy 10 year old boy kitted out in Sky colours, escorted over the fence into the Sky huddle, the Team arranged for squad members to have a personal photo on mum’s camera. Chapeau to Sky! In this era of egos and media pressure, one young lad will sleep tonight with a grin wider than Cav’s arms in a victory salute.
While the sprinters vie for top honors on the flattish stages, riders like Geraint Thomas will be looking to get through unscathed and get in some good racing kilometers in the hot Australian summer sun ahead of their European goals later in the year.
And what for tomorrow? – Stage 2 Tailem Bend to Mannum 146km. Should be a fast run into the finish but tight turns.Sky, HTC, Robbie and Greipel. Come on Robbie!
Beer of the Day
Barossa is red wine country…and one of the wines from last night was from old vines, the Bethany 2006 Shiraz. The Schrapel family settled in the Barossa at the village of Bethany in 1844. Old vines result in wines with the body of Elle MacPherson and Charlize Theron….you just want more. Eat with whatever you choose, I’m having another glass.
Stage One Results: 138km, Mawson Lakes to Angaston
1. Matthew Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad 3:17:08
2. Andrй Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto
3. Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team Radio Shack
4. Chris Sutton (Aus) Sky Procycling
5. Elia Viviani (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
6. Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
7. Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team
8. Inaki Isasi (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
9. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team
10. Greg Henderson (NZl) Sky Procycling
General Classification After The First Stage
1. Matthew Goss (HTC-Highroad) 3hr16min58sec,
2. Andre Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto) 4 secs,
3. Robbie McEwen (RadioShack) 6 secs,
4. Mitch Docker (UniSA) 7 secs,
5. Mathieu Perget (AG2R) ST,
6. Simon Clarke (Astana) ST,
7. Miguel Minguez (Euskaltel Euskadi) ST,
8. Chris Sutton (Sky) 10 secs,
9. Elia Viviani (Liquigas) ST,
10. Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil) ST.
PEZ’s coverage in Australia this week is provided by the boys from CyclingNewsAsia.com, and the great pictures are courtesy of Kevin Anderson of Chameleon Photography.