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  Tour Down Under Report  
  Stage 1

With no neutral zone the race was off from the start in the first World Tour race of the season. Lieuwe Westra (Astana), Maxim Belkov (Katusha) and Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEDGE) were the fist to escape with Jack Bobridge (UniSA) bridging across. The peloton was happy to let the group go with the gap quickly reaching two and a half minutes after 18 kilometres.

Break - Jack Bobridge, Maxim Belkov, Lieuwe Westra and Luke Durbridge. © Non Pro Cycling

Sprint 1 (28.4km)

1 Jack Bobridge -3"
2 Lieuwe Westra -2"
3 Maxim Belkov -1"

The gap continued to hover around two and a half minutes with Giant-Alpecin controlling the peloton for Marcel Kittel. Cadel Evans's BMC team and Sky were also a constant presence near the front. The peloton began to steadily bring the gap down and with a third of the stage complete it had fallen to 2mins 5seconds.

Sprint 2 (60.4km)

1 Luke Durbridge -3"
2 Maxim Belkov -2"
3 Lieuwe Westra -1"

Approaching the half way mark Tinkoff-Saxo had joined the chase and with BMC, Sky and Giant-Alpecin working the gap was falling quickly. By the 72 kilometre mark it was down to 1min 25seconds. Passing through the feed zone with 50km remaining the gap was just over one minute as Lawson Craddock (Giant-Alpecin) lead the peloton. The gap briefly grew again but the chase was soon back on after the feed zone, with 41km remaining (91kmm done) the gap was just 35 seconds. The work being done by BMC, Sky and Giant-Alpecin.

With 10km remaining before the start of the main feature of the race the climb to Checker Hill, at 30km to go teams started fighting for position at the front of the peloton. After fighting for position the pace came off and the gap for the leaders was back to 1min 11secs as they started Checker Hill.

Bobridge went to the front of the break with 500m to go before starting his sprint with just under 200m to go. Durbridge was briefly on his wheel but ahead of the top Bobridge was clear to take the only climb of the day. The Australia duo continued on over the top of the climb before a regrouping on the descent.


1 Jack Bobridge 10
2 Luke Durbridge 6
3 Lieuwe Westra 4
4 Maxim Belkov 2

Jack Bobridge. © Non Pro Cycling

The gap for the leaders was around one minute as they started the descent but a fast chase in the peloton with added power from the IAM squad saw it quickly fall.

IAM leading the chase. © Non Pro Cycling

On the fast and technical descent the break was managing to hold on to an advantage of around 30 seconds with little in the way of an organised chase from the peloton.

Etixx-QuickStep came to the front but by then the gap had reached 40 seconds. The break started playing cat and mouse in the final kilometre but they remained together. As they started the finishing strait the peloton was closing in. Having been sitting and waiting Bobridge was the first to open his sprint taking a comfortable victory with Westra and Durbridge rounding out the podium. Niccolo Bonifazio (Lampre-Merida) won the bunch sprint just behind the break for fifth.

Jack Bobridge takes out stage 1. © Regallo

Stage 1 Results

1 Jack BOBRIDGE 2:59:44
2 Lieuwe WESTRA +0
4 Maxim BELKOV +0
5 Niccolo BONIFAZIO +0
6 Gianni MEERSMAN +0
7 Juan Jose LOBATO +0
8 Heinrich HAUSSLER +0
9 Steele VON HOFF +0
10 Daryl IMPEY +0

General Classification After Stage 1

1 Jack BOBRIDGE 2:59:31
2 Lieuwe WESTRA +4
4 Maxim BELKOV +10
5 Niccolo BONIFAZIO +13
6 Gianni MEERSMAN +13
7 Juan Jose LOBATO +13
8 Heinrich HAUSSLER +13
9 Steele VON HOFF +13
10 Daryl IMPEY +13

Full Results available here

Points Classification: Jack Bobridge
Mountains Classification: Jack Bobridge
Young Rider Classification: Luke Durbridge
Team Classification: UniSA
Most Aggressive: Luke Durbridge
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