Mark Cavendish’s HTC team won the first international outing of the year today in Adelaide, Australia. Australian Matt Goss left his captain behind after team Sky’s Greg Henderson crashed in the final lap of the Tour Down Under pre-race criterium.
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“I was caught behind Henderson’s crash,” said Cavendish. “I saw Goss ahead and I didn’t want to bring the others back up to him.”
Goss turned the day around for the team, who besides nearly losing the race to a crash, lost Bernard Eisel to a flat tyre with fewer than five laps to race. Had it been earlier, Eisel would have been able to re-join the race when the field came back around the 1.7-kilometre circuit.
“The little incident in the second last corner caused a bit of chaos, but we managed to miss it and get the win,” said Goss. “It’s a great start to the Tour Down Under. We can’t hope for anything else.”
Mark Renshaw made the split with Goss. Instead of leading out Cavendish, as he normally does, he delivered Goss to the win.
Sky stole the show and shifted the attention away from the billed Mark Cavendish-André Greipel duel. Britain’s team took control with two laps remaining of the 30-lap, 51-kilometre race in Adelaide’s centre. Michael Rogers led into the final lap, when he gave an elbow flick to Geraint Thomas to take over.
Thomas led for Mathew Hayman, Ben Swift, Chris Sutton and Greg Henderson into a left corner when New Zealand’s Henderson, winner of last year’s race, lost control
“I just went through, my front wheel just went. I was a bit surprised. I was the only one who crashed, it was really strange. Maybe it was just something small, a leaf,” said Henderson.
“I was on the wheel ready to go. Geraint was perfect, we were working perfectly. They did everything I asked of them, I was on fourth wheel with two corners to go, but it was just all thrown away.”
Henderson has scrapes down his left leg, but nothing serious. He is expected to continue to lead the team in the Tour Down Under, starting with stage one on Tuesday.
Cancer Council Classic 2011
1. Matthew Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad
2. Mark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-Highroad
3. Robbie McEwen (Aus) RadioShack
4. Elia Viviani (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
5. Chris Sutton (Aus) Team Sky
6. Davide Vigano (Ita) Leopard-Trek
7. Ben Swift (GB) Team Sky
8. José Joaquín Rojas (Spa) Movistar
9. Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
10. Allan Davis (Aus) Astana all same time
68. Lance Armstrong (USA) RadioShack at 23secs
107. Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky at 30secs
108. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Highroad at 30secs
Matt Goss takes the Cancer Council Classic
Simon Gerrans takes to the front for Team Sky
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