Heat Dominates Shortened Santos Tour Down Under Stage 117. January 2017, Lyndoch (AUS) — Road Team
Miles Scotson scored his first UCI WorldTour top ten stage result with a ninth place finish in the bunch sprint on stage 1 of the Santos Tour Down Under.
The 145km stage from Unley to Lyndock was billed as a sprint stage, but extreme heat with temperatures above 40 degrees saw race organizers, in conjunction with rider representatives and UCI Commissaires, shorten the stage to 118.5km.
Laurens De Vreese (Astana Pro Team) launched a solo attack early in the stage and built a lead of more than four minutes. As the bunch finally pulled De Vreese back shortly before the 100km mark, Jan Bakelants (AG2R La Mondiale) made his move to try and upset the stage for the sprinters.
The peloton brought things back together with 2km remaining which set the stage for the bunch sprint, won by Caleb Ewan (ORICA-Scott).
Scotson’s challenge in the sprint finish was all about strategy for the upcoming stages.
“I kept an eye on who was up the front and I said to Richie Porte that if we didn’t have anyone up there, then we could be with the last car tomorrow, as we hadn’t taken any points in the sprints today. So I just gave it a crack and came up with ninth.”
Porte welcomed the decision to shorten stage 1.
“I think it was the hottest day I’ve had on the bike. Common sense prevailed there and I know if the stage is cut it’s not great for television, but I think it’s nice for us riders that there’s finally a bit of solidarity with the hot weather rules.”
“It’s nice to get that one out of the way. It was quite a dangerous finish there, so it’s just nice to finally be back racing. When you haven’t raced for so long, you’re a little bit rusty but the team was absolutely awesome today. Guys like Fran Ventoso, who has just come into the team, played a great role. So did everyone.”
“Even in the shade it was hot today. I think it’s brilliant that the race organizers respect the riders enough. It was a pretty impressive attack there by Jan Bakelants in the final, but Caleb Ewan won which was probably always going to happen.”
Sports Director Fabio Baldato said the team worked well together on the opening stage.
“It was a job well done. The heat was really incredible. It was a good decision from the organizers with the request from riders and the teams to cut the stage down. Most of the riders have come from Europe and I saw 43 or 45 degrees today in the car, which is too much.”
“Tomorrow is one of the days to decide the GC so it was a good job by Miles Scotson to get a top finish to bring me up in the car for tomorrow. In case something happens we will be ready.”
Santos Tour Down Under Stage 1
Unley > Lyndoch (118.5km)
Top 3: 1. Caleb Ewan (ORICA-Scott), 2. Danny Van Poppel (Team SKY), 3. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe).
BMC Racing Team top 3: 9. Miles Scotson, 37. Rohan Dennis, 38. Richie Porte
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