Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan out-paces Sky's Danny van Poppel to take early race lead in Tour Down Under

Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) won the opening stage of the 2017 Tour Down Under in Australia on Tuesday – the opening WorldTour race of the season.

The 22-year-old Australian sprinter came out on top in the bunch gallop into Lyndoch in similar circumstances that saw him claim the People’s Choice Classic on Sunday.

Ewan accelerate down the left-hand-side of the road to out-pace Team Sky Dutchman Danny van Poppel in second, and Irishman Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) in third. Bennett was led out by world champion Peter Sagan, who appears happy to play the role of lead-out man for his team-mate.

>>> Tour Down Under 2017: Latest news, reports and info

“I’m super happy to get the win, it was a really close one in the end,” said Ewan. “A lot of guys ran out of lead out men in that last straight because there was a bit of head wind.

“There was a lot of pressure coming back here with the same finish as last year. I felt the pressure to do the same thing and win. It’s a relief and it’s a great start to the week. It’ll put the whole team on a high and hopefully we can do something like last year.”


Watch: highlights of stage one of the Tour Down Under


Belgian Lauren De Vresse (Astana) was the day’s solo escapee, battling through the day’s heat before being caught prior to the race’s finale.

Organisers of the race had made the decision to shorten the stage from Unley to Lyndoch due to temperatures nudging over 40°C in the Australian summer.

>>> Riders praise Tour Down Under as stage shortened with temperatures nearing 50ºC

Riders completed two rather than three of the planned finishing circuits.

“It was really stinking hot out there today,” said Ewan. “I think everyone felt the heat and it was probably a good idea for organisers to shorten it a little bit.”

Caleb Ewan wins stage one of the 2017 Tour Down Under

Ewan wears the race leader’s jersey going into stage two of the 2017 Tour Down Under on Wednesday, running from Stirling to Paracombe over 148.5km.

Defending champion Simon Gerrans (Orica-Scott) showed himself during the stage, claiming two bonus seconds to sit in sixth place behind his team-mate Ewan.

The race concludes on Sunday, January 22.

Results

Tour Down Under 2017, stage one: Unley to Lyndoch
1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott, in 3-24-18
2. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky
3. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe
4. Marko Kump (Slo) UAE Abu Dhabi
5. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
6. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb
7. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin
8. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
9. Miles Scotson (Aus) BMC Racing
10. Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, all same time

General classification after stage one
1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott, in 3-24-18
2. Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Team Sky, at 4 secs
3. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 6 secs
4. Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 7 secs
5. Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data, at 8 secs
6. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-Scott, at 8 secs
7. Jos Goncalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin, at 8 secs
8. Marko Kump (Slo) UAE Abu Dhabi, at 10 secs
9. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida, at 10 secs
10. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb, at 10 secs

Geraint Thomas carries waterbottles for his team on a stage shortened due to high temperatures

World champion Peter Sagan

The peloton on stage one of the 2017 Tour Down Under