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André Greipel gets 2012 off to flying start with victory in Down Under Classic

Two-time Tour Down Under winner shows he's in form ahead of main event which starts on Tuesday...

André Greipel of Lotto-Belisol, twice overall winner of the Santos Tour Down Under, has got his season off to a perfect start by winning the Down Under Classic, the criterium that acts as a curtain-raiser to the stage race that opens the UCI WorldTour season on Tuesday.

In a sprint finish, Greipel, Tour Down Under overall winner in 2008 and 2010 while with Highroad Sports (pictured), won the sprint finish from Team Sky’s Edvald Boasson, with Garmin-Barracuda’s Heinrich Haussler third.

Following his victory Greipel, who previously won the criterium in 2008, quoted on the Tour Down Under website, said: "As a team, we didn't want to race with too much pressure but it worked out well.

"We practiced a lot of lead out train before this race and it paid off. It's always good to win and it's a great way to start a new season. 

"It wasn't very difficult for me actually. I only had to follow Greg Henderson who himself followed Jurgen Roelandts.

"I just needed to stay on their wheel and get out with 200 metres to go.”

Although the results of today’s race have no influence on the classifications on the Tour Down Under his victory today means that the 29-year-old German will gets the honour of being the first wearer of the ochre jersey worn by the overall leader.

While that does give Lotto-Belisol the task of defending the leader’s jersey, in all other respects everyone will start with a clean slate when the race begins outside Prospect Town Hall on Tuesday morning for the first of six stages that will showcase the South Australia countryside as the 2012 season gets under way in earnest.

Today’s race, held in evening sunshine and comprising 30 laps of a 1.7km circuit around Adelaide’s Rymill Park, had been preceded by the official presentation of the teams hosted by Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen.

Highlight's of today's race will be shown this evening on Sky Sports 4 at 6.30pm.

2012 Down Under Classic Result

1.  GREIPEL, A (GER)        Lotto-Belisol          1:03:17
2.  BOASSON HAGEN, E (NOR)  Sky Procycling     All at same time
3.  HAUSSLER, H (AUS)       Garmin-Barracuda
4.  ROJAS, Jose J (ESP)     Movistar
5.  VON HOFF, S (AUS ) UNI  SA-Australia
6.  CANTWELL, J (AUS)       Team Saxo Bank
7.  SUTTON, C (AUS)         Sky Procycling
8.  GUTIERREZ, Jose I (ESP) Movistar
9.  HENDERSON, G (NZL)      Lotto-Belisol
10. PETACCHI, A (ITA)       Lampre-ISD

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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