Deceuninck – Quick Step's Elia Viviani won Stage 1 of the Tour Down Under in Port Adelaide thanks to a superb sprint, just two days after he crashed in the closing metres of the People's Choice Classic (which Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) eventually won).
Due to the extreme heat (max. heat was 52°C and avg. 43°C) the race was shortened and the teams had definitely decided not to go too hard at any point.
The day's breakaway formed almost immediately after being flagged out of the neutralised zone, with Michael Storer (Team Sunweb), Artyom Zakharov (Astana), Patrick Bevin (CCC) & Jason Lea (UniSA-Australia) being the participants. Their lead over the peleton was over 4 minutes at one point, but were reeled in with just under 40km to go.
Patrick Bevin (CCC) won the first intermediate sprint in Inglewood at 57.6km, with Michael Storer (Team Sunweb) second. The opposite was the case for the second intermediate sprint in Inglewood at 79.3km. With only a maximum of 10 points able to be picked up from the intermeidate sprints of the day, the stage winner, Elia Viviani, takes the lead in the Points competition (which you would expect him to win now).
Jason Lea (UniSA-Australia) won the only KOM points on today's stage, at Snake Gully just 39.3km into the stage, with Artyom Zakharov (Astana) second and Patrick Bevin (CCC) third.
I'd say the big talking point from the opening stages is Patrick Bevin (CCC)'s slim advantage over some of the GC contenders after picking up bonus seconds from the intermediate sprints and finish. He's usually a GC rider who's in not bad form having won the NZ ITT Championships as well as finishing 5th at the Road Race - he's definitely one to keep an eye on as he could slip underneath the radar.
~ Official Results obtained from procyclingstats.com ~
Stage 1 Results;
GC Standings after Stage 1;
Jersey Holders after Stage 1;
Leader's Jersey - Elia Viviani (Deceuninck - Quick Step)
Point's Jersey - Max Walscheid (Team Sunweb), on behalf of Viviani
KOM Jersey - Jason Lea (UniSA - Australia)
Young Rider's Jersey - Michael Storer (Team Sunweb)
Team - UAE - Team Emirates