Tour Down Under: Renshaw takes first stage

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22.01.2008/ Credit Agricole's Mark Renshaw took the opening stage of the Tour Down Under today. The Australian rider outsprinted José Joaquin Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne) and Rabobank's Graeme Brown. The race was coloured by a three man breakaway.

© Credit Agricole
Mark renshaw took his first pro-tour win (© Credit Agricole)

The 129 kilometres long stage from Mawson Lakes to Angaston was the start of this years UCI Pro-Tour series. After 10 kilometres a four men group with High Roads Frantisek Rabon, UniSA’s Simon Clarke, Saunier Duval-Scott’s Arkaitz Duran Daroca and Bouygues Telecom’s Dimitri Champion tried to break away but they were caught before the first climb. The first points for the mountain classification were taken (Black Top Hill) by Philippe Gilbert (Francaise Des Jeux), followed by Jon Bru (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Marcus Burghardt (Team high Road), David Moncoutie (Cofidis) and Dimitri Champion (Bouygues Telecom).

After the climb three riders attacked and opened a handy lead. Mickhael Buffaz (Cofidis), Dimitri Champion (Bouyges Télécom) and Australian race debutant Richie Porte (Australia-UniSA) worked together to amass a lead of more than four minutes at the first 'SA Lotteries Sprint' of the day contested at Lyndoch, 50 kilometres into the stage. Buffaz earned the points and the bonus seconds ahead of Champion and Porte.

The trio extended their lead to more than six minutes before the peloton began the chase and at the next 'SA Lotteries Sprint' at Nuriootpa (86 kilometres) the placings across the line were again Buffaz, Champion and Porte. But the bunch came closer and with five kilometres to go the trio was caught by the bunch.

Mark Renshaw was the fastest man of the pack. It's the first ProTour victory for the 25 year old. Renshaw crossed the line in a time of 3hr15min33sec to clinch the win ahead of Spaniard Jose Rojas Gil of Caisse d'Epargne with Rabobank sprinter Graeme Brown crossing in third place.

"I’ve been chasing this victory for four years, so finally I’ve got one and we’re in Australia … sensational," he said. "Every year it gets a little bit easier to get going and as I get older I get better each year,“ Renshaw said.

"Today I wanted to take one back because of Sunday (when he finished second in the Down Under Classic), but with 100m to go I didn’t know if I was going to get it … unbelievable," said Renshaw. "With about 300 metres to go it kind of split at the front and because of the split I had to go early so I think I launched at the 200 metre mark.“

"I haven’t done anything different, but it’s starting to pay off," said Renshaw. "My (team) director sat me down at the start of the week and said, ‘This year’s got to be the year you step up’ because I’m 25, which is still young as a bike rider, but now is where I start to win big bike races."

"We caught the breakaways about five kilometres to go," explained Renshaw. "I knew they were going to come back and my team worked really hard, so I needed to repay them.

"(Team mate) Jeremy (Hunt) did an awesome job to get me to the 500 metre mark and then it was up to me," said Renshaw who had his parents, sister and girlfriend in the crowd cheering him home.

The mass sprint in the first stage of the Tour Down Under, Mawson Lakes-Angaston (129 kilometers), was one that went up gradually. Rabo-trump Graeme Brown finished a good third, teammate Mathew Hayman was the seventh to pass the finish line. "We already passed the finish line a round earlier. When I saw it I decided to let both Mathew and Graeme go for their own chances," explained Rabobank's sports director Erik Dekker.

Dekker continued by saying: "I chose this sprinting tactic because Graeme can explode in such a sprint. But that did not turn out to be the case. On the one hand one could wonder – but hindsight is always easier – whether I miscalculated there. On the other hand, this also says much about Graeme when you look at how well he does in this tricky sprint," according to Dekker, who watched Hayman start too early. "600 meters before the finish. He was dead in the water at the end."

Renshaw will wear the ochre Tour Down Under leader's jersey on tomorrow's 148km Stage 2 that wends through the Adelaide Hills from Stirling to Hahndorf.

Results  Tour Down Under 2008
Stage 1
1 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Credit Agricole                    3.13.33
2 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse D'Epargne               
3 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank                                 
4 Allan Davis (Aus) Unisa - Australia                         
5 Jan Robert Forster (Ger) Gerolsteiner                       
6 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Team Csc                               
7 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank                                
8 Andre Greipel (Ger) Team High Road                          
9 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) Ag2R-La Mondiale                        
10 Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) Liquigas                      
11 Aurelien Clerc (Swi) Bouygues Telecom                      
12 Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) Bouygues Telecom              
13 Martin Elmiger (Swi) Ag2R-La Mondiale                      
14 Renaud Dion (Fra) Ag2R-La Mondiale                         
15 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Francaise Des Jeux                  
16 Aitor Galdos Alonso (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi              
17 Denis Flahaut (Fra) Saunier Duval-Scott                    
18 Alessandro Proni (Ita) Quick Step                          
19 Davide Vigano (Ita) Quick Step                             
20 Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Silence-Lotto                          
21 Heinrich Friederich Haussler (Ger) Gerolsteiner            
22 Enrico Poitschke (Ger) Team Milram                         
23 Jeremy Roy (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux                        
24 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Caisse D'Epargne               
25 Rene Haselbacher (Aut) Astana                              
26 Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Silence-Lotto                          
27 Jon Bru Pascal (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                   
28 Peter Wrolich (Aut) Gerolsteiner                           
29 Jose Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Caisse D'Epargne        
30 Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                   
31 Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Lampre                              
32 Jose Alberto Benitez Roman (Spa) Saunier Duval-Scott       
33 Michael Albasini (Swi) Liquigas                            
34 Nicki Sorensen (Den) Team Csc                              
35 Erki Putsep (Est) Bouygues Telecom                         
36 Mauro Facci (Ita) Quick Step                               
37 Fabio Baldato (Ita) Lampre                                 
38 Ivan Velasco Murillo (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi             
39 William Walker (Aus) Rabobank                              
40 Ivan Santaromita Villa (Ita) Liquigas                      
41 Arkaitz Duran Daroca (Spa) Saunier Duval-Scott             
42 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Silence-Lotto                          
43 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Credit Agricole                        
44 Aaron Kemps (Aus) Astana                                   
45 Kjell Carlstrom (Fin) Liquigas                             
46 Jerome Pineau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                       
47 Wim Vansevenant (Bel) Silence-Lotto                        
48 Jose Luis Rubiera Vigil (Spa) Astana                       
49 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Credit Agricole                       
50 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Credit Agricole                  
51 Matthew Wilson (Aus) Unisa - Australia                     
52 Scott Davis (Aus) Team High Road                           
53 Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Unisa - Australia                  
54 Timothy Gudsell (NZl) Francaise Des Jeux                   
55 Luke Roberts (Aus) Unisa - Australia                       
56 Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Team Csc                             
57 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi        
58 Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Silence-Lotto                         
59 Jean-Eudes Demaret (Fra) Cofidis Le Credit Par Telephone   
60 Mario Aerts (Bel) Silence-Lotto                            
61 Simon Clarke (Aus) Unisa - Australia                       
62 Javier Aramendia Lorenti (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi         
63 Rick Flens (Ned) Rabobank                                  
64 Adam Hansen (Aus) Team High Road                           
65 Theo Elltink (Ned) Rabobank                                
66 Mickael Delage (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux                    
67 Nicolas Portal (Fra) Caisse D'Epargne                      
68 Matthias Russ (Ger) Gerolsteiner                           
69 Igor Astarloa Ascasibar (Spa) Team Milram                  
70 Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Team High Road                       
71 Josep Jufre Pou (Spa) Saunier Duval-Scott                  
72 Yoann Offredo (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux                     
73 Sylvain Calzati (Fra) Ag2R-La Mondiale                     
74 Carlo Westphal (Ger) Gerolsteiner                          
75 Koen De Kort (Ned) Astana                                  
76 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Team Csc                         
77 Dennis Haueisen (Ger) Team Milram                          
78 Thomas Fothen (Ger) Gerolsteiner                           
79 Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr) Ag2R-La Mondiale                      
80 Mickael Buffaz (Fra) Cofidis Le Credit Par Telephone       
81 Volker Ordowski (Ger) Gerolsteiner                         
82 Bram De Groot (Ned) Rabobank                               
83 Amael Moinard (Fra) Cofidis Le Credit Par Telephone        
84 Nick Gates (Aus) Silence-Lotto                             
85 Christophe Kern (Fra) Credit Agricole                      
86 Iker Camano Ortuzar (Spa) Saunier Duval-Scott              
87 Laurent Mangel (Fra) Ag2R-La Mondiale                      
88 Leonardo Scarselli (Ita) Quick Step                        
89 Christophe Mengin (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux                 
90 Jan Boven (Ned) Rabobank                                   
91 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) Credit Agricole                       
92 Andoni Lafuente (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                  
93 Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) Liquigas                         
94 Massimiliano Mori (Ita) Lampre                             
95 Jesus Del Nero Montes (Spa) Saunier Duval-Scott            
96 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Team Milram                          
97 David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis Le Credit Par Telephone      
98 Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Credit Agricole                          
99 Dmytro Grabovskyy (Ukr) Quick Step                         
100 Sebastien Portal (Fra) Cofidis Le Credit Par Telephone    
101 Sergio Ghisalberti (Ita) Team Milram                      
102 Pablo Lastras Garci (Spa) Caisse D'Epargne                
103 Nicolas Hartmann (Fra) Cofidis Le Credit Par Telephone    
104 Joan Horrach Rippoll (Spa) Caisse D'Epargne               
105 Richie Porte (Aus) Unisa - Australia                      
106 Kasper Klostergaard Larsen (Den) Team Csc                 
107 Julien Mazet (Fra) Astana                                 
108 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre                            
109 Allan Johansen (Den) Team Csc                             
110 Yann Huguet (Fra) Cofidis Le Credit Par Telephone         
111 Dimitri Champion (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                   
112 Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Quick Step                       
113 Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Liquigas                             
114 Kurt Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team Csc                          
115 Mathieu Perget (Fra) Caisse D'Epargne                     
116 Paolo Fornaciari (Ita) Lampre                             
117 Nicolas Crosbie (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                    
118 Ruben Lobato Elvira (Spa) Saunier Duval-Scott             
119 Benoit Joachim (Lux) Astana                               
120 Tom Stubbe (Bel) Francaise Des Jeux                       
121 Steve Morabito (Swi) Astana                               
122 Mauro Da Dalto (Ita) Liquigas                             
123 Greg Henderson (NZl) Team High Road                    0.19
124 Elia Rigotto (Ita) Team Milram                         0.24
125 Christian Murro (Ita) Lampre                           0.37
126 Evgeny Sokolov (Rus) Bouygues Telecom                     
127 Stephane Poulhies (Fra) Ag2R-La Mondiale               0.44
128 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Team High Road                  0.49
129 Martin Muller (Ger) Team Milram                        1.01
130 Emanuele Bindi (Ita) Lampre                               
131 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team High Road                    1.27
132 Karl Menzies (Aus) Unisa - Australia                   7.47

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