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"Bert-Jan Lindeman helped me to front, but unfortunately we were a bit too early. Several riders passed us in the final 1.5 kilometres. Because of the break held on, the sprint was an odd one.”

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BARRY MARKUS

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20.01.2015 @ 13:16 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

An escape in the Tour Down Under’s first stage today surprised the peloton. In Adelaide’s Campbelltown suburb, Jack Bobridge (Budget Forklifts) held on with just enough time after a long flight with three others, won the stage and took the leader’s jersey. Right behind the Australian, Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s Barry Markus placed 16th.
 
“The first real race of the year is always special,” Markus said. “You need to adapt to the nervousness in the peloton again. It went well, though.
 
“Thirty kilometres from the finish, there was a steep climb, but despite the high pace, nobody was dropped. After that, it went down for thirty kilometres, with a little uphill part in the final. Bert-Jan Lindeman helped me to front, but unfortunately we were a bit too early. Several riders passed us in the final 1.5 kilometres. Because of the break held on, the sprint was an odd one.”

Four riders escaped from the peloton during the opening kilometres. Bobridge, who left Team LottoNL-Jumbo this winter, led a break containing Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEDGE), Lieuwe Westra (Astana) and Maxim Belkov (Katusha).

The quartet created a maximum lead of 2.5 minutes during the 132 kilometres from Tanunda to Campbelltown. The peloton seemed to be right on time in the final, but with a well-timed attack, local Bobridge surprised the pack. Westra finished second, Durbridge third and Belkov fourth. Niccolo Bonifazio won the sprint of the peloton right on the group’s heels.

 

“A great victory by Jack,” Sports Director Frans Maassen said. “He seems ready for his hour record attempt. A break doesn’t often pulls off something like this, but all four attackers were good riders. They played it smart.
 
“Thanks to the break, the wind and the technical descent, it was quite a nervous day. Our GC men Bert-Jan Lindeman and George Bennett did well though, not losing time.”
 

The race continues tomorrow with its second stage, 150 kilometres from Unley to Stirling. “I think we’re going to see an elimination race during the final laps. Usually, the race ends with a 50-men sprint. However, the uphill start could push the race into a race different direction.”

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