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Cadel Evans (leading) and the BMC Racing Team never strayed far from the front during the opening stage. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)
Cadel Evans (leading) and the BMC Racing Team never strayed far from the front during the opening stage. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)

Santos Tour Down Under, Stage 1: Evans Ninth

21. January 2014

BMC Racing Team's Cadel Evans was ninth on the opening day of the Santos Tour Down Under Tuesday, finishing in the same time as stage winner Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE).

The Stage:
A 135-kilometer road race from Nuriootpa to Angaston under sunny skies.

The Day's Breakaway:
Will Clarke (Drapac Professional Cycling) and Neil van der Ploeg (UNISA Australia) attacked from the gun and enjoyed almost three hours in the lead while never gaining more than a four-minute advantage. Their 115-kilometer escape came to an end in the final 20 kilometers.

Late Escape:
A pair of Team Europcar riders – Yukiya Arashiro and Bjorn Thurau – attacked on the descent of the final climb and gained a nearly 30-second lead. But after soloing away from his teammate in the final two kilometers, Thurau was swallowed up inside the last 800 meters.

The Winning Move:
On the uphill drag to the finish, Gerrans sprinted around André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) to take the win. Steel von Hoff (Garmin-Sharp) was third.

Best for the BMC Racing Team:
Evans finished ninth while all six other riders from the BMC Racing Team – Brent Bookwalter (17th), Ben Hermans (28th), Amaël Moinard (37th), Steve Morabito (38th), Rick Zabel (47th) and Danilo Wyss (56th) – were among 69 riders who came to the finish line together.

The Overall Standings:
On the strength of time bonuses, Gerrans holds the leader's Ochre jersey by five seconds over Greipel. Evans is ninth overall, 11 seconds back. Sixty-nine riders are within 15 seconds of the lead.

What Evans Had To Say:
"It's difficult to judge where you are, myself and my teammates. Obviously looking at the results today, Orica and Simon Gerrans is the guy to beat. I have found on a couple of occasions it's a bit hard to judge because it's the first race of the year and you don't know the level of everyone else. I was there in the final but I was disappointed. I would have liked to have been much closer to the bonus seconds in a finish like that. In that regard, it was not as good a start as I would have like to have had. But it's the first day of what is going to be a pretty intense week of racing."

What Sport Director Fabio Baldato Said:
"I am really happy because all our guys were in the front, including the young Rick (Zabel). The team is in good shape. We knew it wasn't really our stage today. But the objective today was to not have a split and not lose time. We know Gerrans is fast and this was really a stage for him. Now he has some bonus advantage. But we will see how it goes tomorrow. It could be more of a race for Cadel."

Looking Ahead:
Wednesday's Stage 2 is 150 kilometers from Prospect to Stirling and features an uphill finish.

Listen to complete comments on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line.

View photos from the race on our Flickr gallery.