One down and loads to go. Adelaide city centre hosted the first major professional race of 2012, The Cancer Council Classic, a city centre criterium consisting of 30 laps of a 1.7km circuit totalling 51 km. Not classified as a UCI sanctioned event, it’s more of an extremely good leg opener for the pro’s.
As in most of the previous years, the race saw an early break and in early, we mean it went from the B of the bang. FDJ- Big Mat rider Arnaud Courteille was the first up the road, only to be joined quickly by 9 fellow riders.
This break stayed away for the majority of the race with Nathen Hass claiming all but one of the intermediate sprints. Nathen who last year was riding for the Tasmania based Genesys Wealth Advisers team looked to be on a mission. For the 2012 season Nathen has stepped up a level and is now racing in the colours of JV’s Garmin-Barracuda team.
This group of 10 escapees were dragged back within the last 10 laps by the chasing peloton.
The heat was now on for the sprint trains to battle it out, with all wanting prime position to deliver their sprinters to victory. Lotto-Bellisol, Sky, Lampre-ISD and Garmin-Barracuda were the most prominent teams, with Mark Renshaw riding his first event for his new team Rabobank succumbing to a puncture coming in to the last lap, putting him out of contention.
The rapid last lap was a dog fight between the Sky and the Lotto guys. Coming in to the final corner, Edvald Boasson Hagen who was on the wheel of the Lotto train opened his sprint first. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Bellisol) followed and from there just took off, opening a healthy gap to take the stage in style. Boasson Hagen finished in second with third place being taken by Garmin rider Heinrick Haussler. One surprise stand out name was ex 2011 team mate of Nathan Hass – Steel Van Hof, (possibly the best name in cycling), finishing in 5th and taking the scalps of several seasoned pro sprinters.
Now the riders get a day to put their feet up, pop to the coffee shops and get ready for stage one on Tuesday of the race proper; the Tour Down Under.
Bring on the heat!
1st: Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol
2nd: Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky
3rd: Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin-Barracuda
4th: Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar
5th: Steel Von Hoff (Aus) UniSA-Australia
6th: Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) SaxoBank
7th: Chris Sutton (Aus) Sky
8th: Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Spa) Movistar
9th: Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto-Belisol
10th: Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-ISD