Elia Viviani will be the first rider to wear this year’s ochre jersey after enjoying a convincing Stage 1 win at the Santos Tour Down Under.
Viviani was one of the pre-stage favourites to take out the Port Adelaide finish with Caleb Ewan and Peter Sagan also expected to hotly contest the sprint.
But Down Under Classic winner Ewan and triple world champion Sagan failed to fire in the heatwave conditions and 40-degree temperatures.
The win was Viviani’s 68th professional victory, the Italian champion saying it was the “first win of the year for the team, first win for me,”
“I felt a bit of pressure after the amazing season I had last year,” he said in Port Adelaide.
“But now I am more relaxed and looking forward to the next opportunities I’ll get this week,” he told media after the finish.
Riders are now resting, hydrating and preparing for Stage 2, a shortened stage due to even higher temperatures and extreme fire danger.
Novatech Stage 2 has been reduced in length due to the heat and will now be 122.1 km. The riders start in Norwood at 11am and are expected to finish in Angaston, well north of the city, at 2.22 pm.
Stage 1 Top 3
1: Elia Viviani (Quickstep)
2: Max Walachei (Sunweb)
3: Jajub Mareczko (CCC)