TdU: stage victory despite an early fall
By Felix Mattis
Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious) celebrates his stage win at Tanunda. | Photo: Cor Vos
01/18/2023 | (rsn) – The 2023 WorldTour season has started with a fantastic debut for Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious). The 28-year-old won the bunch sprint at the end of the 1st stage of the Tour Down Under (2nd UWT) and won the 150 kilometer sector around Tanunda with a few centimeters ahead of the local heroes Caleb Ewan (Australian national team) and Michael Matthews (Jayco – AlUla).
“I waited too long for the Schwalbe Classic. That’s why I started at 300 meters this time. He then got closer to Caleb Ewan, but luckily I still managed it,” Bauhaus said. , who won the city center test in Adelaide, which is not on the UCI calendar, finished fourth on Saturday.
“I didn’t want to celebrate too soon and just waited for confirmation from my sporting director,” admitted Bauhaus, who wasn’t entirely sure if he had won given the high top speed with which Ewan came from behind.
The surprise of the prologue Marius Mayrhofer (DSM), who finished eleventh in Tanunda, as well as Jannik Steimle (Soudal Quick-Step) in 14th and Kim Heiduk (Ineos Grenadiers) in 15th place also presented themselves in the first positions at the arrival.
Chaotic stage with many falls
The day was overshadowed by several serious falls, which among other things meant the end of the race for Patrick Bevin (DSM) and Robert Gesink (Jumbo – Visma). Even the winner of the Bauhaus was once in the field. “It was actually quite a violent impact,” he said. “But I was able to recover well and the team did a great job, still keeping me ahead on the last lap.” Another crash in the home straight when Belgian Jordi Meeus (Bora – hansgrohe) hit the asphalt hard in the middle of the peloton just before the start of the sprint.
Prologue winner Alberto Bettiol (EF Education – EasyPost) defended the leader’s jersey six seconds ahead of Matthews, who was able to move up to second place with four bonus seconds. Magnus Sheffield (Ineos Grenadiers) is third, eight seconds behind. With their victory, the Bauhaus have taken the lead in the points classification and will therefore wear blue on Thursday. Luke Plapp (Ineos Grenadiers) leads the mountain classification, Julius Johansen (Intermarché – Circus – Wanty) the junior classification.
Here’s how the race went:
The northernmost of the six sections of this 23rd Tour Down Under led around Tanunda after a short five-lap 26 kilometer journey. Part of the circuit included the 4.5 kilometer climb to Menglers Hill (3.7%, 4th cat.), the crest of which was 14 kilometers from the finish line.
Five kilometers after the start, Australian champion Luke Plapp (Ineos Grenadiers) launched the first attack. He was joined three kilometers later by Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarché – Circus – Wanty), but soon after the two were back in the peloton. After 19 kilometres, the Frenchman Nans Peters (AG2R – Citroën) then accelerates and begins a 75 kilometer solo.
He won the first intermediate sprint and the first hill climb, but was caught before the second sprint. This went to Corbin Strong (Israel – Premier Tech) and the second mountain prize was won by Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates) ahead of Plapp, who also finished second in the first mountain prize and therefore took the mountain jersey. The second and third in the intermediate sprints of three, two and a second bonus went to Michael Matthews (Jayco – AlUla) and Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) respectively.
The peloton completed the last two laps in one and raced into the expected mass sprint. In Tanunda, the sprint was in full swing, the Jayco – AlUla team in particular not having been chased from the front row for a long time. On the last three kilometers, Soudal – Quick-Step took the scepter. The Jayco train backed up a bit and Matthews, with Ewan on the rear wheel, had to go over the gravel a bit. Both lost important positions, which became a problem for Ewan, who traveled without his Lotto Dstny team.
Matthews, on the other hand, came back quickly thanks to his team. Campbell Stewart gave him the sprint, but Bauhaus accelerated 300 yards from the line in fifth on a slightly uphill straight first and marched forward. Matthews closed in meter by meter, but couldn’t get past him – as did Ewan, who sprinted from a distance and reached the finish line with what was clearly the highest final speed, but was still a few centimeters behind.
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