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Matthew Goss (HTC-Highroad) confirms his perfect start of the season condition and wins the first stage of the 2011 Tour Down Under

Added: tuesday 18 January 2011 at 8:51:00
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    Matthew Goss (HTC-Highroad) confirms his perfect start of the season condition and wins the first stage of the 2011 Tour Down UnderSunday already, Matt Goss won the Cancer Council Classic, today the finish of the first stage of the Tour Down Under 2011 from Mawson Lakes to Angaston seemed to be a perfect remake of the finish of this criterium.

    The summary of the first stage Mawson Lakes > Angaston of the Tour Down Under 2011

    At the start of the stage, several attempts of different riders to escape didn't succeed.

    The first real group was formed by Luke Roberts (UniSA-Australia), Gorka Izagirre (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and the leader of the AG2R La Mondiale team, Julien Loubet. These three riders thus started first with the first climb of this Tour Down Under 2011 (Black Top Road in Hillbank) where the Australian took the first points for the King of the Mountain (KOM) classification, ahead of Loubet and Izagirre.

    Finally, after 13 kilometers, the race saw the formation of a 5 rider strong leading group, this time with Simon Clarke (Astana), Mathieu Perget (AG2R La Mondiale), Mitchell Docker (UniSA-Australia), Miguel Minguez and Jon Izagirre (Euskaltel-Euskadi). Their gap rapidly went up to 4'05" before getting back down and stabilise around 2'40".

    The breakaway These 5 riders probably never believed they could make it until the finish because, as often happens in the Tour Down Under, the sprinters teams and especially Garmin-Cervélo, Team Sky, HTC-Highroad and Omega Pharma-Lotto controlled the race in order to get back on the escaped riders in the final kilometers of the race.

    The gap was stable around 2 minutes for a while but after about 100 kilometers in the race it rapidly went down and Mitchell Docker, Mathieu Perget and Jon Izagirre were the first riders to be taken back by the peloton. This seemed to have given wings to Simon Clarke and Miguel Minguez because their gap went up way above one minute again. This didn't last for long however, because at 9 kilometers from the finish, the two final escapees were also taken back. The young Simon Clarke, who joined Astana from ISD-Neri in the interseason, got elected most competitive rider due to his presence in the breakaway.

    A bunch sprint was thus inevitable at the finish of this first stage and the train of the HTC-Columbia team was once again the most well organised. Like on Sunday, Mark Renshaw was the last rider to lead out the train in the last meters of the stage and he gave way to Matt Goss at 250 meters from the finish. Matt Goss thus took his 4th stage victory of the season after 2 stages in the Jayco Bay Classics (where he also took the final victory) and of the Cancer Council Classic on Sunday. This Tuesday he beat his former team mate André Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and his compatriot Robbie McEwen (Team Radioshack) in the sprint.
    Matthew Goss' win - © Santos Tour Down Under / John Veage

    Matt Goss' comments after his stage victory in the Tour Down Under 2011

    After the finish of this first stage, the Australian rider declared: Mark gave me the perfect lead out once again and dropped me off at 250m to go," said Goss. "It was a long sprint up hill and I could see Andre on my wheel so I was a little worried for a moment there. But I managed to hold them off so I'm happy about that.

    Concerning his chances for this week and a possible overall victory in the Tour Down Under 2011, Goss added: It's a great start for us and I'd love to be able to hold this lead for the whole week but there's a long way to go and we'll just have to see how it goes. We also have a very strong team and we have other riders who can also win here so we'll take it each day at a time and hopefully we can have the jersey at the end of the week.

    The video of the first stage of the Santos Tour Down Under between Mawson Lakes and Angaston

    Below you can watch a 5'29" video resume of the first stage of the Santos Tour Down Under 2011:

    The classification of the first stage of the 2011 Tour Down Under

    Matthew Goss takes the first leader's jerseyHere's the top 10 of the classification of the stage between Mawson Lakes and Angaston:
    1/ Matthew Goss (HTC-Highroad) - 3h17'08"
    2/ André Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
    3/ Robbie McEwen (Team Radioshack)
    4/ Chris Sutton (Team Sky)
    5/ Elia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale)
    6/ Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team)
    7/ Alessandro Ballan (BMC Racing Team)
    8/ Iñaki Isasi (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
    9/ José Joaquin Rojas (Movistar Team)
    10/ Greg Henderson (Team Sky)

    >> Click here to download the full results of the first stage of the Tour Down Under 2011 from Mawson Lakes to Angaston

    The 3 photos in the article are © Santos Tour Down Under / John Veage and are used with permission; the photo which illustrates the article is © Thomas Vergouwen / www.velowire.com

    by Thomas Vergouwen
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    this article appears in the following categories: Tour Down Under| Tour Down Under 2011 | share on Facebook | delicious | twitter | Google | technorati

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