André Greipel has won the first stage at Tour Down under, the first WorldTour race of the year. It’s his seventeenth stage win in Australia.

The stage between Port Adelaide and Lyndoch was a traditional sprint stage. After two kilometres three riders escaped the bunch and they got a maximum advantage of five minutes. With temperatures above 30°C the riders took it easy the first two hours. The sprint teams controlled the gap. William Clarke managed to stay in front until eight kilometres to go. Jens Debusschere then dropped off André Greipel perfectly for the sprint. The German rode an impressive sprint, beating Caleb Ewan and world champion Peter Sagan. Elia Viviani got fourth. Thanks to his stage win André Greipel is the first overall leader Down Under.

André Greipel: “I am very happy with this victory. This was the first official UCI race of the year and the first WorldTour race too. That I take the win here, feels really great. Not all top sprinters are here, but I do beat guys like Ewan, Sagan and Viviani.”

“Jens Debusschere dropped me of with 350 metres to go, in the last corner. Instinctively I chose a wheel and that turned out to be the perfect position to start the sprint. I got out of the wheel of Caleb Ewan pretty smoothly and won quite easily. It’s wonderful for the team and me to start 2018 with a victory. I’m also very happy with today’s power data.”

“In the past I often set good results at Tour Down Under and that was the start of a good season; I hope that is the case this year too. I was disappointed after my second place at People’s Choice Classic, but on the other hand it also gave me the feeling that it would be possible to win a stage this week. Tomorrow the stage finishes in Stirling where I got second in 2011. With riders such as Ulissi and Sagan it won’t be easy to set a high result though, but never say ‘never’.”