South Australian Jack Bobridge has claimed victory in the opening stage of the Santos Tour Down Under.
Cycling Central

7 Apr 2015 - 5:20 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:35 PM

Bobridge, riding for the UniSA-Australia team, was part of a four rider breakaway that narrowly held off the peloton for the stage victory in Tanunda.

The former Belkin professional timed his effort to perfection in the uphill drag to outsprint breakaway companions Lieuwe Westra (Astana) and Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEDGE), as the peloton roared home behind them.

The 25 year old's stage success sees him take the leader's jersey with a four second buffer over Westra.

"Coming through Williamstown half way, I think it was down to 30 seconds or 40 seconds and we thought, all the guys had pretty much given up out there," said Bobridge.

"Again its always games you know, breakaway vs bunch. All day a game. 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."

Bobridge's performance at the recent Australian Road National
Championships earned him a spot in the wildcard UniSA-Australia team, with his local knowledge playing to his advantage.

"I learnt a big lesson last week at the Nationals going early," said Bobridge.

"I definitely wasn't going to make that mistake again. But when you see a bunch charging at you that hard it's pretty nerve wracking. And it's easy to get going but I had to keep my cool and it worked out perfect."

His effort in today's breakaway was rewarded not only with the stage victory and the race lead, but also the king of the mountains and sprint jerseys.

The former individual pursuit world champion will attempt to break the UCI Hour Record in Melbourne on 31 January. But first he must defend his Tour Down Under lead.

(See curated coverage of the race below).

Stage 1: 132.6km, Tanunda - Campbelltown
1 Jack Bobridge (AUS) UniSA-Australia 2hr 59min 44sec
2 Lieuwe Westra (NED) Astana
3 Luke Durbridge (AUS) Orica-GreenEDGE
4 Maxim Belkov (RUS) Katusha
5 Niccolo Bonifazio (ITA) Lampre-Merida
6 Gianni Meersman (BEL) Etixx-Quick Step
7 Juan Jose Labato (ESP) Movistar
8 Heinrich Haussler (AUS) IAM Cycling
9 Steele von Hoff (AUS) UniSA-Australia
10 Darly Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEDGE

General Classification
1 Jack Bobridge (AUS) UniSA-Australia 2hr 59min 44sec
2 Lieuwe Westra (NED) Astana 0:00:04
3 Luke Durbridge (AUS) Orica-GreenEDGE 0:00:06
4 Maxim Belkov (RUS) Katusha 0:00:10
5 Niccolo Bonifazio (ITA) Lampre-Merida 0:00:13
6 Gianni Meersman (BEL) Etixx-Quick Step
7 Juan Jose Labato (ESP) Movistar
8 Heinrich Haussler (AUS) IAM Cycling
9 Steele von Hoff (AUS) UniSA-Australia
10 Darly Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEDGE

Below: Curated coverage of the opening stage of the Santos Tour Down Under, 132.6km from Tanunda to Campbelltown.

2:00pm: Jack Bobridge (Uni-SA) sprints to victory to win Stage 1 of the Tour Down Under.

One kilometre to go, lead four all together as they approach the finish.

Belkov (Katusha) has made a move, forcing his breakaway companions to chase with 1.9km to go.

The four leaders have 40 seconds with four kilometres to go. Will victory be theirs?

1:51pm: Sky, Etixx-Quick Step and Astana are on the front of the peloton, 22 seconds behind the four leaders with 8.5km to go.

1:43pm: 25 seconds with 15km to go.

It looks as if the Checker Hill climb has thinned the peloton. 19km to the finish, with a rapid descent.

People's Choice winner Marcel Kittel survived the climb and is in the peloton and is a favourite if it is a sprint finish. Less than 10km to go for the four leaders.

21 seconds to the leaders with 21km to go.

Jack Bobridge held off Luke Durbridge to take the King of the Mountains points on Checker Hill. On the descent they hold a 33 second lead over the peloton.

1:17pm: A crowd has gathered at the King of Hill on Checker Hill.

42km from the finish, the lead four cling to a 35 second lead with the Checkers Hill climb approaching.

12:57pm: Less than 50km to go, the lead four have a 1min 5sec advantage.

Jack Bobridge is driving the break as the peloton have inched within 1min 5sec of the leaders. Sky, Giant-Alpecin and BMC on the front of the peloton with 58km to go.

Durbridge claimed the second sprint in Bethany (60km) ahead of Belkov and Westra.

The leaders' advantage has slipped under two minutes to 1min 55sec with 77km to the finish in Campbelltown.

The lead four riders - Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEDGE), Lieuw Westra (Astana), Maxim Belkov (Katusha) and Jack Bobridge (UniSA) - have a 2min 15sec lead with 85km to go.

Sky and Giant-Alpecin are controlling the peloton with 94km to go.

The course will pass through some South Australian communities that have recently been ravaged by bush fires.

Bobridge claimed the first sprint points of the Tour Down Under, winning the sprint in Bethany (28.4km) ahead of Westra and Belkov. The break's lead remains at 2min 40sec.

11km down and four riders - Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEDGE), Lieuw Westra (Astana), Maxim Belkov (Katusha) and Jack Bobridge (UniSA) - have a 2min 10sec lead over the peloton.

Racing has begun

Speaking of bikes, check out Adam Hansen's riding position. It may be extreme but it has carried him on 10 consecutive Grand Tours.

10:40am: Riders are signing on and signing autographs before the start of the stage.

Cadel Evans' bike at the Tour Down Under has a customised paint job to mark the end of his legendary cycling career.

The special BMC team bike was to be unveiled at the start of stage one on Tuesday morning in the Barossa town of Tanunda.

This is the last WorldTour race for the 2011 Tour de France champion before he retires on February 1 at the inaugural Cadel Evans Great Ocean Rd race in Victoria.

The bike will feature aboriginal tribal designs - Evans grew up near an indigenous community in the Northern Territory.

He is a big fan of the comics character Tintin, whose picture is also on the bike.

"Tintin is the only cyclist who gets a framed picture on my bedroom wall," Evans said.

An Australian flag and the phrase "forever grateful" are other features, plus a gold stripe to commemorate his landmark 2009 world road championship.

Even after 20 years of professional bike riding, I still love to get a new bike," Evans said.

"It is like Christmas all over again, every time - hard to believe, but it's true.

"Something special is always motivating."

(Text via AAP)

10:15am: Mike Tomalaris previews the 2015 Tour Down Under with former Cannondale professional Cameron Wurf.

The first WorldTour race of the year begins in South Australia today. The peloton will depart Tanunda at 11am AEDT (10:30am local time) and ride 132.6km to Campbelltown.

Checker Hill will provide an obstacle before a speedy descent delivers them to the finish line in Campbelltown at approximately 2:20pm AEDT.

On Sunday the Tour Down Under peloton competed in a warm-up criterium around the streets of East Adelaide which was won by Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin).