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Tour Down Under

10th Tour Down Under - ProT

Australia, January 20-27, 2008

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Down Under Classic - Sunday, January 20: Glenelg circuit, 50km

Greipel grabs first victory

By Paul Verkuylen in Glenelg, South Australia

Andre Greipel (Team High Road) celebrates
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
(Click for larger image)

German rider Andre Greipel (Team High Road) has claimed his first victory of the 2008 season at the Down Under Classic in Adelaide, Australia. The High Road Sports rider outclassed some of Australia's top sprinters to claim victory in the 50 kilometre criterium held on the picturesque beachside circuit in Glenelg.

"That was a really long sprint, the last 50 meters were really hard, but I am happy," the German winner of two stages of the 2007 Sachsen Tour International explained after the race. "Rabobank had a bit of bad luck on the last corner so I tried to start my sprint, I thought 'OK now it's a head wind', but you have to be strong until the finish line.

"I am really happy, as the team is too," he added. "The sprints are why I am here; I started training early, so I am really happy to win the first race of the season."

Team High Road played a tactical game with Rabobank, waiting until it began to tire from its effort out front before moving to the front and positioning Greipel, who was nominated by the team before the race as the leader, at the head of the field. "I sat in the middle of the bunch the whole race, taking it easy before my team-mates brought me to the front," he explained.

Greipel out-sprinted a host of Australia's top sprinters to become the first non-Australian winner of this race since Dutchman Koos Moerenhout won back in 2000. Mark Renshaw (Credit Agricole) and Robbie McEwen (Silence-Lotto), rounded out the podium.

The victory here, unfortunately for Greipel, doesn't count as the 25 year-old's first ProTour victory as the Down Under Classic is not officially part of the Tour Down Under. The victory does however sound a warning to his competitors that his form is good, and he will be a man to watch over the next week.

How it unfolded

Summer time in Adelaide.
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
(Click for larger image)

Some 130 of the world's best riders began what would be for most of them, their first race of another season. From the gun Rabobank was intent on making an impact, as Bram De Groot (Rabobank) attacked shortly after the start and opened up an early lead to pass the finish line first after lap one of 25.

Just one lap later the Dutchman was reeled in by the fast chasing peloton, which seemed eager to keep the whole race together. With so many riders keen to test their legs for the first time in competition after months of hard training, the whole field was tightly packed and moving quickly. The pace kept the lap times down around the 2.40 minutes mark, which translates into an average speed of around 54km/h for each lap.

To keep the race interesting, organizers decided to throw in four intermediate sprints - one every 10 kilometers, before the final surge to the line. Just four laps into the event and it was Simon Clarke (UniSA-Australia), the recent winner of the Under 23 Australian Road Championship, who was seen escaping off the front. Clarke's escape wasn't to be, as those interested in claiming some of the primes along the way ramped up the speed as they received the bell for the first prime.

Christophe Mengin (Francaise Des Jeux) claimed the first sprint in front of the huge crowd assembled in the Adelaide surburb of Glenelg. The rider marginally won the sprint in a photo finish from Erki Putsep (Bouygues Telecom), with Australian Adam Hansen (Team High Road) taking third spot.

William Walker (Rabobank)
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
(Click for larger image)

Leaving little time to rest for those who may have been struggling with the pace, it was once again Rabobank seen at the head of the field, this time with Graeme Brown who attacked with Bernhard Eisel (Team High Road). The pair gained a maximum lead of around 100 meters before a huge effort by the main field lead by Matthew Wilson (UniSA - Australia) brought them back into the fold.

By the time they reached the line, a lap later, it was Inverell-born German rider Heinrich Haussler (Gerolsteiner) who took the second lot of points on offer from the in-form Adam Hansen (High Road) and classics specialist Philippe Gilbert (Francaise Des Jeux).

Shortly after the second sprint, two riders - Xavier Florencio Cabre (Bouygues Telecom) and Nicolas Portal (Caisse D'Epargne) - broke clear of the peloton. Rabobank's Bram de Groot easily bridged the gap to the leaders, before the main peloton once again reeled the three riders in. More attacks followed over the ensuing four laps, but again no one was able to sustain a substantial advantage over the fast moving peloton and were quickly brought back into the fold.

Bouygues Telecom decided to come
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
(Click for larger image)

Jose Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Caisse D'Epargne) claimed the third lot of sprint points from Igor Astarloa Ascasibar (Team Milram) and Allan Johansen (Team CSC). Meanwhile Rabobank moved all its riders to the front of the field, seemingly in an attempt to set up sprinter Graeme Brown for the win.

The pace settled down slightly as Rabobank took control of the race moving into the final 20 kilometres.

From here the peloton settled down slightly as Rabobank began moving its entire team towards the front, with Brown sitting seventh wheel behind his team-mates as they stormed around the tight beach-front circuit. With five to go Rabobank relented slightly as Greipel took the points from Jose Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Caisse D'Epargne) and Marcus Burghardt (Team High Road) in the final preme of the night.

Moving into the final five kilometres some the world's best sprinters - namely Robbie McEwen (Silence-Lotto), Allan Davis (UniSA-Australia) and Mark Renshaw (Credit Agricole) - began making their way up to the head of field and onto the wheel of Brown, who still had his entire team taking care of the pace. As the entire field rounded the final bend into the 400 metre long finishing straight, it was Greipel, the winner of the final preme, who was the strongest of them all as he crossed as the victor of his first race this year. Renshaw finished a close second with McEwen and Davis rounding out the top four.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Mark Gunter/www.pbase.com/gunterphotograph

Images by Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com


1 Andre Greipel (Ger) Team High Road                        1.09.20 (43.269 km/h)
2 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Credit Agricole                               
3 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Silence-Lotto                                
4 Allan Davis (Aus) Unisa - Australia                              
5 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse D'Epargne                    
6 Davide Vigano (Ita) Quick Step                                   
7 Denis Flahaut (Fra) Saunier Duval-Scott                          
8 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank                                     
9 Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Lampre                                    
10 Peter Wrolich (Aut) Gerolsteiner                                
11 Aurelien Clerc (Swi) Bouygues Telecom                           
12 Erki Putsep (Est) Bouygues Telecom                              
13 Rene Haselbacher (Aut) Astana                                   
14 Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) Bouygues Telecom                   
15 Adam Hansen (Aus) Team High Road                                
16 Aitor Galdos Alonso (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                   
17 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank                                     
18 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) Ag2R-La Mondiale                            
19 Mario Aerts (Bel) Silence-Lotto                                 
20 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Credit Agricole                        0.04
21 Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Silence-Lotto                               
22 Jan Robert Forster (Ger) Gerolsteiner                           
23 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Team High Road                           
24 Igor Astarloa Ascasibar (Spa) Team Milram                   0.07
25 Heinrich Friederich Haussler (Ger) Gerolsteiner                 
26 William Walker (Aus) Rabobank                               0.12
27 Koen De Kort (Ned) Astana                                   0.13
28 Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Credit Agricole                           0.16
29 Sebastien Portal (Fra) Cofidis Le Credit Par Telephone          
30 Christophe Kern (Fra) Credit Agricole                       0.23
31 Joan Horrach Rippoll (Spa) Caisse D'Epargne                     
32 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) Credit Agricole                            
33 Josep Jufre Pou (Spa) Saunier Duval-Scott                       
34 Mickael Buffaz (Fra) Cofidis Le Credit Par Telephone            
35 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Francaise Des Jeux                       
36 Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Team Csc                                  
37 Sylvain Calzati (Fra) Ag2R-La Mondiale                          
38 Nicki Sorensen (Den) Team Csc                                   
39 Kjell Carlstrom (Fin) Liquigas                                  
40 Mauro Da Dalto (Ita) Liquigas                                   
41 Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                        
42 Jose Alberto Benitez Roman (Spa) Saunier Duval-Scott            
43 Paolo Fornaciari (Ita) Lampre                                   
44 Michael Albasini (Swi) Liquigas                                 
45 Jean-Eudes Demaret (Fra) Cofidis Le Credit Par Telephone    0.27
46 Christophe Mengin (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux                      
47 Dimitri Champion (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                         
48 Thomas Fothen (Ger) Gerolsteiner                            0.29
49 Dmytro Grabovskyy (Ukr) Quick Step                              
50 Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Unisa - Australia                       
51 Benoit Joachim (Lux) Astana                                     
52 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Team Csc                                   
53 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Team Csc                              
54 Emanuele Bindi (Ita) Lampre                                     
55 Jerome Pineau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                        0.31
56 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi             
57 Martin Elmiger (Swi) Ag2R-La Mondiale                           
58 Wim Vansevenant (Bel) Silence-Lotto                             
59 Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Silence-Lotto                               
60 Pablo Lastras Garci (Spa) Caisse D'Epargne                      
61 Jose Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Caisse D'Epargne             
62 Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Team High Road                        0.34
63 Julien Mazet (Fra) Astana                                       
64 Matthew Wilson (Aus) Unisa - Australia                      0.36
65 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Credit Agricole                             
66 Rick Flens (Ned) Rabobank                                       
67 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Credit Agricole                       
68 Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr) Ag2R-La Mondiale                           
69 Andoni Lafuente (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                       
70 Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) Liquigas                       0.39
71 Mauro Facci (Ita) Quick Step                                    
72 Massimiliano Mori (Ita) Lampre                                  
73 Alessandro Proni (Ita) Quick Step                               
74 Leonardo Scarselli (Ita) Quick Step                             
75 Jesus Del Nero Montes (Spa) Saunier Duval-Scott                 
76 Enrico Poitschke (Ger) Team Milram                              
77 Jeremy Roy (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux                             
78 Nicolas Crosbie (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                          
79 Renaud Dion (Fra) Ag2R-La Mondiale                              
80 Laurent Mangel (Fra) Ag2R-La Mondiale                           
81 Amael Moinard (Fra) Cofidis Le Credit Par Telephone             
82 Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Quick Step                             
83 Luke Roberts (Aus) Unisa - Australia                            
84 Simon Clarke (Aus) Unisa - Australia                            
85 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre                                  
86 Mickael Delage (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux                         
87 Kasper Klostergaard Larsen (Den) Team Csc                       
88 Jose Luis Rubiera Vigil (Spa) Astana                        0.44
89 Karl Menzies (Aus) Unisa - Australia                            
90 Dennis Haueisen (Ger) Team Milram                               
91 Kurt Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team Csc                            1.01
92 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team High Road                             
93 Scott Davis (Aus) Team High Road                                
94 Martin Muller (Ger) Team Milram                                 
95 Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Silence-Lotto                              
96 Allan Johansen (Den) Team Csc                                   
97 Jon Bru Pascal (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                        
98 Ivan Velasco Murillo (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                  
99 Steve Morabito (Swi) Astana                                     
100 Mathieu Perget (Fra) Caisse D'Epargne                          
101 Richie Porte (Aus) Unisa - Australia                           
102 Matthias Russ (Ger) Gerolsteiner                               
103 Ruben Lobato Elvira (Spa) Saunier Duval-Scott                  
104 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Team Milram                              
105 Bram De Groot (Ned) Rabobank                                   
106 Volker Ordowski (Ger) Gerolsteiner                             
107 Theo Elltink (Ned) Rabobank                                    
108 Nick Gates (Aus) Silence-Lotto                                 
109 Tom Stubbe (Bel) Francaise Des Jeux                            
110 Sergio Ghisalberti (Ita) Team Milram                           
111 Stephane Poulhies (Fra) Ag2R-La Mondiale                       
112 Christian Murro (Ita) Lampre                               1.11
113 David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis Le Credit Par Telephone          
114 Yann Huguet (Fra) Cofidis Le Credit Par Telephone              
115 Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) Liquigas                             
116 Ivan Santaromita Villa (Ita) Liquigas                          
117 Nicolas Hartmann (Fra) Cofidis Le Credit Par Telephone         
118 Nicolas Portal (Fra) Caisse D'Epargne                      1.19
119 Carlo Westphal (Ger) Gerolsteiner                              
120 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Caisse D'Epargne                   
121 Fabio Baldato (Ita) Lampre                                 1.31
122 Javier Aramendia Lorenti (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi         1.34
123 Timothy Gudsell (NZl) Francaise Des Jeux                   1.55
DNF Elia Rigotto (Ita) Team Milram                                 
DNF Aaron Kemps (Aus) Astana                                       
DNF Yoann Offredo (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux                         
DNF Jan Boven (Ned) Rabobank                                       
DNF Iker Camano Ortuzar (Spa) Saunier Duval-Scott                  
DNS Evgeny Sokolov (Rus) Bouygues Telecom                          
DNS Greg Henderson (NZl) Team High Road                            
DNS Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Quick Step                                
DNS Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Liquigas                                  
DNS Arkaitz Duran Daroca (Spa) Saunier Duval-Scott                 

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