So the first race of the UCI ProWorld series has come and gone. Let us take a moment to reflect on the race that was.
It was a race of back and forths, multiple Ochre jersey holders, and strong Australians. It was a race won and lost on the last day. It was a race of young and old, new and familiar. All a recipe for a great race!
I don’t know why everyone hates on the TDU so much- I thought it was a great race! Six stages with 5 winners from 5 different teams and 3 Ochre jersey wearers. Time bonuses played a significant part in who ended up with the Ochre jersey and I wish the Tour de France would bring back time bonuses (I believe they had them in years past)- it makes the run for the line and the intermediate sprints so much more exciting!
It was also exciting to see lower profile, young sprinters (or sprinters in the making) making their presence known- Matt Goss, Michael Matthews, Ben Swift, Cameron Meyer, etc. This supports my belief in the importance of this race. Sure, it’s early in the season so many are not on top form. Sure, most teams send their sprinters with their B teams, while the A-listers stay in training camps. And maybe it’s not the hardest, or most prestigious race in the calendar. But all of these factors allow for younger, lesser known riders to make a name for themselves and maybe pick up some UCI points. Look at Peter Sagan last year. It was the Tour Down Under that put his name on many lips.
In addition, how many races in the UCI calendar cater to sprinters? Not many! Most races are measured by their climbs, the steeper and more numerous the better- one only needs to look at this years Giro and Tour routes to see this! So I see this as one race tailor made for sprinters and a chance for them to shine.
One last point- how awesome where the Australians in this race?! They killed it- stage wins, jerseys, attacks, breakaways- they were part of it all. And many of them quite young! And in the end, Australians ended up wearing 4 of the jerseys. Maybe this is normal for the TDU, but it was cool to see anyway.
All in all, it was an exciting race and I can’t wait for more of it!
To the Race
Two race features which played heavily into this race were the points and time bonuses awarded at various points of each stage. At the intermediate sprints and at the finish, points and time bonuses are awarded to the first 3 riders to cross the line. The points can help break a time tie and help determine who is awarded the sprinters and KOM jerseys. At the finish, 10 seconds are awarded for 1st, 6 seconds for 2nd, and 4 seconds for 3rd. In the intermediate sprints, 3 seconds go to the 1st person over the line, 2 seconds for 2nd, 1 second for 3rd. While that may not seem like a lot, it can make difference when the difference between 1st and 2nd is 8 seconds!
This race was characterized by lots of attacks and breakaway attempts, which started right from the gun. Those in the breakaway were in a position to contest the time bonuses and points afforded by the intermediate sprints and the KOM. Luke Roberts (Austalia) of the Australian national team UniSA-Australia joins the first breakaway to claim the first KOM points and hangs onto the lead until the end. At the finish line, Matthew Goss (Australia) of HTC-Highroad out-sprints defending champ Andre Greipel (Germany), of Omega Pharma-Lotto, to the line to take the first Ochre leaders jersey of the race.
- Matt Goss (Australia) HTC-Highroad
- Andre Greipel (Germany) Omega Pharma-Lotto
- Robbie McEwen (Australia) RadioShack