The 2009 Pro Tour racing season is now underway, with the first event of the year, the Tour Down Under in Adelaide, Australia, officially kicking off today with Stage One.
The 140 km course was mostly flat with some rolling hills, and the day was very hot, with temperatures pushing 100 degrees, making it tough on the riders.
An early break of two, including Olivier Kaisen (Silence-Lotto) and Andoni Lafuente (Euskaltel-Euskadi) set off and quickly mopped up all available KOM and sprint points, and by the end of the day, Kaisen had earned the points leader's jersey and Lafuente the KOM jersey.
Their break did not stick, however, as the peloton kept them in check. The race came down to a bunch sprint. In the sprint, "Pocket Rocket" Robbie McEwen of Team Katusha was looking strong, but a collision with the camera of a spectator who was leaning too far over the guardrail put an end to McEwen's chances.
Avoiding the danger and leading the way home to the finish line was last year's overall winner Andre Greipel of Team Columbia, winning ahead of Baden Cooke (UniSA) and Stuart O'Grady (Saxobank). Greipel won the stage, a time bonus, and the overall leader's jersey after today's stage.
Lance Armstrong, on the first day of his 2009 season comeback, finished safely within the pack, deciding not to partake in the sprint finish. By finishing within the front group, he earns the same overall time as the stage winner, Andre Greipel.
Stage Two tomorrow features a fairly menacing climb around Willunga Mountain, which may shake up the overall classification a little.
(Information is from the Cyclingnews.com website)