Gert Steegmans has won the opening stage of the 2009 Tour of Majorca, with Katusha team-mate Robbie McEwen second.
Steegmans has given the new Russian-backed Katusha team its second victory, after McEwen won the Cancer Council Classic in Australia last month prior to the Tour Down Under.
Steegmans was once known as former Quick Step team-mate Tom Boonen‘s head lead-out man, before proving his worth as a sprinter in his own right. This he cemented at the 2008 Tour de France by taking the final stage on the Champs Elysees in Paris – regarded as the blue riband stage for sprinters. He also won two stages of Paris-Nice.
Top British finisher on Majorca was Tom Barras in 64th place, at the same time as Steegmans. Barras is part of the British Plowman Craven-Madison team.
Several big names are on the Balearic island getting in some early racing – Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne), Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Oscar Pererio (Caisse d’Epargne), Sylvian Chavanel (Quick Step) and Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) are among them.
The five stage Tour of Majorca runs from Sunday February 8 to Thursday February 12. Tomorrow’s second stage takes a 176.5km route from Cala Millor to Cala Bona.
TOUR OF MAJORCA: STAGE ONE RESULTS
1. Gert Steegmans (Bel) Katusha 116km in 2-35-42
2. Robbie McEwen (Aus) Katusha
3. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
4. Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
5. Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
6. Alexandre Usov (Blr) Cofidis
7. Jose Fco Pacheco (Spa) Contentpolis-AMPO
8. Eric Baumann (Ger) Team Nutrixxion-Sparkasse
9. Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis
10. Vicente Reynes (Spa) Columbia all at same time.
2009 Tour of Majorca preview