Santos Tour Down Under Stage 1: Matt Goss's stunning form continues as he takes race lead

Fourth win in a fornight for HTC-Highroad man, Greipel second

by Simon_MacMichael   January 18, 2011  

Santos Tour Down Under 2011 jerseys.gif

Matt Goss of HTC-Highroad has continued his storming start to the 2011 season by winning Stage 1 of the Santos Tour Down Under following a bunch sprint, the victory marking the 23-year-old Tasmanian’s fourth and biggest win of the year.

Defending champion André Greipel, who won last year’s race while riding for HTC-Columbia but has now moved to Omega Pharma-Lotto, came second, with Robbie McEwen of Team RadioShack third.

Today’s stage took the peloton from the Adelaide suburb through the Barossa Valley wine-growing region to Angaston, where the riders completed two laps of a 29km circuit for a total of 138km in the saddle.

All 133 riders began the stage, including Katusha’s Sergei Ivanov, who hours earlier had just learnt of the death of his father in Russia but decided to take part in the race after discovering he would be unable to make it home in time for the funeral.

A breakaway formed on the day’s first categorised climb, comprising Simon Clarke of Astana, Mitch Docker from UniSA, AG2R’s Mathieu Perget and the Euskaltel-Euskadi pairing of Miguel Minguez and Jon Izaguirre.

Those five escapees managed to stretch their lead to around four minutes at one point, but were reeled back in by the peloton as HTC-Highroad and Omega Pharma-Lotto in particular looked to set their men up for the sprint finish.

On Sunday, HTC-Highroad team manager Alain Peiper had confirmed that the team’s hopes of winning the race for the third time in four years – Greipel had also won in 2008 – would be built around Goss, with Mark Cavendish playing a supporting role and perhaps targeting a stage win.

That decision was revealed after the young Australian had won the Cancer Council Classic in Adelaide, his third criterium win of the season after taking two stages and the overall title in the Jayco Bay Classic series, and he also finished second behind Garmin-Cervélo’s Jack Bobridge in the Australian National Championships earlier this month.

"I am really happy to get the win for me and the team (because) they rode all day it's for them," said Goss afterwards. "Two for two [incuding Sunday's Cancer Council Classic], great for team moral and spirit, a good few days I think."

"It was a long sprint out of the last corner so I was 'kinda' worried, but [Mark] Renshaw did a great job," he explained, adding "He got me to 250 metres to go, and although it is slightly uphill, I managed to hold on to the end."

Looking ahead to potentially claiming the overall victory, Goss insisted: "It is an ideal start but there is a lot of days left of racing. I am in a good position now but it isn't just me, in the team.

"Cav is still one of the fastest guys here (and) I am sure we will see him, if not in the next couple of days (then) before the end of the race," he added.

Tomorrow’s Stage 2 takes the peloton 146km from Tailem Bend to Mannum.

Santos Tour Down Under Stage 1 Result

    Name               Team                   Time

1   Matt Goss          HTC-Highroad         03:17:08
2   Andre Greipel      Omega Pharma-Lotto      st
3   Robbie McEwen      RadioShack              st
4   Chris Sutton       Team Sky                st
5   Elia Viviani       Liquigas-Cannondale     st
6   Romain Feillu      Vacansoleil-DCM         st
7   Alessandro Ballan  BMC                     st
8   Inaki Isasi        Euskaltel-Euskadi       st
9   Jose Joaquin Rojas Movistar                st
10  Greg Henderson     Team Sky                st


 

1 user comments

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So its already Cav one Griepel nil then. By not even sprinting and having one of his usual train still win the sprint you think HTC have an early advantage this season.

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1308 posts]
18th January 2011 - 7:51

1 Like