Jack Bobridge wins stage 1 of Tour Down Under
ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — Australia’s Jack Bobridge won the opening stage of the Tour Down Under cycle race Tuesday, attacking on the climb to the finish and catching the peleton napping.
Bobridge was part of a four-man break that led for more than 120 kilometers (76 miles) of the 132-kilometer (82-mile) stage from Tanunda in the Barossa Valley wine region to Campbelltown in Adelaide’s outer suburbs.
He sat up a little too soon as the finish line neared but still crossed ahead of Lieuwe Westra of the Netherlands, Luke Durbridge of Australia and Russia’s Maxim Belkov.
Borbridge skillfully timed his final attack to snatch the win from the other members of the break and the peleton, which closed fast when it was roused to action.
The four-man breakaway group had a peak lead of around 2 minutes, 40 seconds but were always in the sights of a peloton in which Britain’s Team Sky and Germany’s Team Giant controlled the pace.
Former world team pursuit champions Bobridge and Durbridge were able to drive the breakaway and keep the bunch at a reasonable distance. Bobridge led the quartet over the crest of Checkers Hill, 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the finish line in a landscape scarred by recent devastating bushfires.
The lead had been cut to 15 seconds with 13 kilometers remaining but Bobridge, composed and powerful, was able to ensure they stayed clear. The leaders waited for the moment to make their last and decisive attacks and it was Bobridge who timed his best.
He said he wasn’t surprised the break endured for so long, saying “we planned it perfect.”
“To be honest, coming through Williamstown halfway, I think the lead was down to 30 seconds or 40 seconds and ... all the guys had pretty much given up out there,” Bobridge said.
“We planned it perfect. We kept our cool when they were playing games with us and then we played the big game at the end and stayed away.”