The first WorldTour race of the 2017 season saw riders tackle temperatures nearing 50ºC on stage one of the Tour Down Under.

After his victory in the People’s Choice Classic at the weekend, it was Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) who emerged victorious, outsprinting Danny Van Poppel (Team Sky) and Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) to claim the race’s first ochre leader’s jersey.

The early stages of the race were animated by Laurens De Vreese (Astana) who was the only rider to escape the peloton with a solo break.

However, the break was never likely to succeed with Orica-Scott aiming to set up a sprint finish for Ewan.

And the 22-year-old Australian delivered the win that many were expecting, launching his sprint with 250m to go to beat Van Poppel by half a bike length.

The race continues on Wednesday with the 148.5km stage two from Stirling to Paracombe, which includes an uphill finish that could end Ewan’s spell in ochre after just a single day.