The following report is also available on the WWW at: David Cowie's Page
Follow the Rapport Tour link. --D.C. Stage One |
Although the flood gates weren't opened, the riders had a easy first day with no major climbs and a strong tailwind to the finish.
The start is at an altitude of 1750 metres and the finish in Cape Town is at sea level, so we might expect some riders to suffer a bit on the opening stages. There are 3 Primes today and 1 King of the Mountain (KOM).
The first attack of the day comes after 33km outside Krugersdorp, on the only climb of the day. Andrei Kivilev goes hard for the KOM points, Andrew McLean manages to jump on his wheel and follows him. Andrew sprints past him to take the opening KOM points. They are both in their big chainrings, so it's obviously not that steep. Co-incidentally Andrew McLean has the number 51 and you know what Phil says about that number ! Phil (TIOOPYK) is here doing the commentry, and enjoying the sun.
In Krugersdorp the first Prime is taken by Sergei Ivanov, followed by Malcolm Lange. No TV coverage of it. Approaching Randfontein for the 2nd Prime, a group of 10 riders are just off the front, lining up. Scott Mercier goes up the left and no reaction from the small group, he sits up. Down the right (through the Moto1 slipstream) goes Wan Neveritt (NZ) ? (give me a break, I still have to pick up the Tour guide today). The group chases him down. Jacque van Wyk leads out for his teammate Malcolm Lange and switches Kivilev (watching the TV, I put my hand up in protest on behalf of Kivilev). Malcolm Lange takes the Prime and puts his time gain up to 8 seconds.
The bunch regroups on the way to Fochville (100km) for the next Prime. After a big windup Malcolm "Trackie" Lange takes it, with Kivilev 2nd and Mizurov 3rd. Malcolm Lange now has 11 seconds and is in yellow on the road. However there still is a 10 second bonus for the stage win.
At 19km to go, on the rolling hills, a German rider attacks. Scott Mercier and Michael Rich counter-attack and take Andrew McLean and Andrei Kivilev with them. Malcolm Lange has missed the break and the AIG team are now working at the front to bring it back. No such luck, the tail wind is causing speeds up to 70 km/h on the rolling terrain. The lead stretches to 1 minute and is brought back to 45 seconds as they cross the flooded Vaal River. Almost every rider has deep section rims, no Tri-spokes in evidence and only 1 or 2 Spinergy's.
Entering Parys there is a sharp right hander. 3 riders on the right and Scott Mercier goes hard down the left and gets the best line through the corner. Michael Rich sprints after. McLean and Kivilev are left behind. Mercier is sprinting for the line, but its still 100 m away. Michael Rich is chasing hard and closes the gap to 4 metres. At 40 metres he catches him and jumps around. Rich takes the sprint and the first stage. The main bunch come in at 45 seconds.
1. M Rich (GER) 03:43:55 (Avg: 40.6 km/h) 2. S Mecier (US,Saturn) 3. A Kivilev (KZK) @ 01 sec 4. A McLean (SA,Deo Gloria) 5. V Kravchenko (KZK) @ 44 sec 6. V Keskinaki (FIN) 7. G Miller (NZ) 8. A Aug (FIN) 9. S Henrix (GER, Olympia Dortmund) 10. A Vinokurov (KZK)
1. M Rich (GER) 15 2. S Mecier (US,Saturn) 12 3. A Kivilev (KZK) 10 4. A McLean (SA,Deo Gloria) 8 5. V Kravchenko (KZK) 7 6. V Keskinaki (FIN) 6 7. G Miller (NZ) 5 8. A Aug (FIN) 4 9. S Henrix (GER, Olympia Dortmund) 3 10. A Vinokurov (KZK) 2
1. M Lange (SA, AIG) 18 2. A Kivilev (KZK) 6 S Ivanov (KZK) 6 4. G Miller (NZ) 3 5. A Mizurov (KZK) 1 A Vinkurov (KZK) 1 Morne Bester (SA, Deo Gloria) 1
1. A McLean (SA, Deo Gloria) 5 2. A Kivikev (KZK) 3 3. A Mizurov (KZK) 2 4. M Rich (GER) 1
1. Germany 11:13:03 2. Kazakhstan @ 01 sec 3. USA Saturn @ 10 sec 4. SA, Deo Gloria @ 11 sec
1. M Rich (GER) 03:43:45 2. S Mercier (US, Saturn) @ 4 sec A Kivilev (KZK) 4. A McLean (SA, Deo Gloria) @ 11 sec 5. M Lange (SA, AIG) @ 43 sec 6. S Ivanov (RUS, Lada) @ 50 sec 7. G Miller (NZ) @ 52 sec 8. A Mizurov (KZK) @ 53 sec 9. V Kravchenko (KZK) @ 55 sec 10. V Keskinaki (FIN) @ 55 sec NEXT TV COVERAGE: Friday, 23rd Feb: SABC 3 at 6:55 pm. NEXT STAGE (2nd): Thursday, 22nd February, 8:00 am, 169.4 km Road Stage: Parys, Kroonstad, Welkom.