Tour Down Under 2012, stage one photos gallery by Graham Watson>>

André Greipel won a photo-finish sprint over Alessandro Petacchi to win the opening leg of the Tour Down Under in Clare, Australia. After a review, the jury ruled the German of Lotto-Belisol had edged ahead of Petacchi.

“I’m lucky that I won today,” Greipel said due to a crash. “Two of my team-mates crashed, that’s all I care about after winning this stage.”

Greipel also won the pre-tour Down Under Classic criterium two days ago in Adelaide’s centre, just south of Clare. Today’s win, was marked with a crash with 800 metres from finish line the after a hot day of temperatures at 39°C.

Frédéric Guesdon (FDJ-BigMat) and Jürgen Roelandts (Lotto-Belisol) are worst off according to early reports. The 40-year-old Paris-Roubaix winner, Guesdon said his career may now be over. Around 15 riders were involved.

Greipel said he slipped back from fifth to 20th position. He also complained of Petacchi’s sprint, “Petacchi went all the way from the left to the right. He’s a big star, but he shouldn’t do this.”

“Ah, I moved over slightly, but I gave him all the space he needed. In fact, he passed me,” Petacchi explained. He moved to the right, but he added that “you do that to avoid losing momentum and enable yourself to win.”

Petacchi was concerned the slightly downhill sprint would act against him. He worked off the wheels of team-mates Davide Viganò and Danilo Hondo, and then followed Rabobank’s Graeme Brown.

Sky’s Mathew Hayman and Geraint Thomas led Chris Sutton to the line. Thomas said that the team had worked well despite the crash and the headwind. He added, “I just didn’t really happen in the last bit, but we keep putting ourselves in the right place.”

“I just avoided a guy’s tyre and was grateful I didn’t come down,” Sutton said of the crash. “G [Thomas] waited for me, but I probably came off of G’s wheel too early.”

The sprint came after the riders crossed the windy wine valleys from Adelaide’s Prospect suburb to the finish in Clare. Four riders rode free in the first 10 kilometres – Eduard Vorganov, Martin Kohler, Marcello Pavarin and Dennis Rohan – and gained up to 11 minutes mid-way into the stage. Rohan attacked solo with 40 kilometres remaining, but he and the others were all together for the final 10 kilometres.

Tomorrow’s stage to Sterling will suit attackers like Sky’s Edvald Boasson Hagen and GreenEdge’s Simon Gerrans.

Results

Tour Down Under 2012, stage one: Prospect to Clare, 149km

1. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol


2. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-ISD

3. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) FDJ-Big Mat

4. Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale

5. Daniele Bennati (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan

6. Christopher Sutton (Aus) Sky

7. Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Saxo Bank

8. Xavier Florencio (Spa) Katusha

9. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Rabobank

10. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Ag2r all same time

Other

15. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky at same time

25. Alex Dowsett (GBr) Sky at same time

117. Andrew Fenn (GBr) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 2-27

121. Adam Blythe (GBr) BMC Racing at same time *

* Riders caught in crash near finish line were given same time as peloton

Overall classification after stage one

1. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol


2. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-ISD at 4 secs

3. Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC at 4 secs

4. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) FDJ-Big Mat at 6 secs

5. Dennis Rohan (Aus) UniSA-Australia at 7 secs

6. Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha at 8 secs

7. Marcello Pavarin (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM at 9 secs

8. Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 10 secs

9. Daniele Bennati (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan at 10 secs

10. Christopher Sutton (Aus) Sky at 10 secs

Other

19. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky at 10 secs

29. Alex Dowsett (GBr) Sky at 10 secs

114. Adam Blythe (GBr) BMC Racing at 10 secs

130. Andrew Fenn (GBr) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 2-37



Martin Kohler heads the escape





Garmin’s Heinrich Haussler was one of those caught in the crash





Andre Greipel takes the win





Andre Greipel takes the early race lead

Related links



Tour Down Under 2012, stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson



Tour Down Under 2012: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

  • Teddy

    s**t small race

  • Phil Riley

    There must be some sort of mistake in the stage results, how can Adam Blythe finish the stage at 2:27 but only be 10 secs down on GC?

  • Tony Brazier

    I watched Graham watson taking many photo’s on Sunday and again this morning in prospect, just how many shots he would take in the course of one day ?
    I am from the uk verulam cc watching the tour for the third time (great race if you can stand the heat)