Matt Goss took his second win in three days, crossing the line with arms aloft at the opening stage of the Tour Down Under, Australia, on Tuesday. On Sunday, Goss won the TdU warm-up Council Council Classic criterium for his HTC-Highroad team.
In-form Goss sprinted clear of defending TdU champion Andre Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto) in second and Robbie McEwen (RadioShack) in third.
Team Sky’s Chris Sutton placed fourth, with team-mate Greg Henderson in tenth.
The clash of the three big name sprinters – Greipel, Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) – failed to materialise. Greipel was the only one of the trio to contest the win, with Cavendish and Farrar content to ease into the race rather than go all out on the first day.
Cavendish and Farrar finished the stage in 62nd and 59th respectively, in the same time as Goss.
The day’s racing was shaped by a five-man escape group consisting of Mathieu Perget (Ag2r), Simon Clarke (Astana), Mitchell Docker (Uni SA-Australia), Miguel Minguez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Jon Izaguirre (Euskaltel-Euskadi). The breakaway was caught within the final 20km as the sprinters’ teams wound up the pace to set up a bunch finish.
Lance Armstrong (RadioShack) also kept himself in the main bunch, starting his last race outside the USA in relatively anonymous fashion.
Goss will wear the leader’s ochre jersey going into Wednesday’s second stage, a 146km stretch from Tailem Bend to Mannum. Goss sits four seconds ahead of Greipel on general classification, with McEwen at six seconds.
The six-stage Tour Down Under concludes on Sunday, January 23.
Tour Down Under 2011, stage one: Mawson Lakes to Angaston, 138km
1. Matt Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad in 3-17-08
2. Andre Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto
3. Robbie McEwen (Aus) RadioShack
4. Chris Sutton (Aus) Team Sky
5. Elia Viviani (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
6. Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM
7. Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing
8. Inaki Isasi (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
9. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar
10. Greg Henderson (NZ) Team Sky all same time
59. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Cervelo
62. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Highroad
64. Ben Swift (GB) Team Sky
74. Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky
81. Lance Armstrong (USA) RadioShack all same time
Overall classification after stage one
1. Matt Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad in 3-16-58
2. Andre Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto at 4secs
3. Robbie McEwen (Aus) RadioShack at 6secs
4. Mitchell Docker (Aus) Uni SA-Australia at 7secs
5. Mathieu Perget (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale at 7secs
1. Matt Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad
King of the Mountains classification
1. Luke Roberts (Aus) Uni SA-Australia
Robbie McEwen (left) chats to Mark Cavendish
Matt Hayman chases for Team Sky
Matt Goss takes the win
Tour Down Under 2011: Related links
Tour Down Under 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index
Cavendish-Greipel duel: Let the fun begin
Sky’s Thomas keeping covered Down Under
Armstrong faces questions on doping investigation and 2009 payments
Armstrong in Adelaide: One more time
Tour Down Under 2011: Who will win?
Tour Down Under 2011: Start list
Farrar heads Garmin-Cervelo’s Down Under assault
Cavendish to face Greipel Down Under with in-form Goss
Cavendish to start 2011 Tour Down Under
Farrar to ride Tour Down Under
Tour Down Under 2011: Stage reports
Cancer Council Classic: Goss wins Down Under opener after Sky crash