Viviani wins Tour Down Under first stage

Australian sprint ace Caleb Ewan and Italian cycling star Elia Viviani have had a dramatic reversal of fortunes in stage one of the Tour Down Under.

Two days after Ewan won the Down Under Classic, he was nowhere to be seen in the sprint finish on Tuesday at Port Adelaide.

Stage one success: Elia Viviani.Credit:AAP

Viviani unleashed a superbly timed sprint to win the stage, after a crash took him out of contention at the Classic.

The Italian ace also takes the overall lead for the first time at the Tour Down Under.

Ewan was primed for stage one, but the new Lotto-Soudal team leader was never in the hunt for the final sprint.

The temperature hit the 40s as stage one went through the hills.

While a sea breeze took some of the edge off the temperature at the finish, it was still in the high 30s.

Wednesday's second stage in the Barossa has been cut by about 27km because of the heatwave.

Race organisers also cut a 3.4km finishing loop out of Tuesday's stage.

There were concerns that splits in the race might create traffic problems on the loop, with riders out the back potentially forced to stop before the stage finish and wait in the heat.

The first breakaway of the 21st Tour turned into an Anzac alliance – Australians Jason Lea (UniSA) and Michael Storer (Sunweb) and New Zealander Patrick Bevin (CCC Team).

But the peloton always kept their advantage manageable and they were caught with about 40km left.

Kazakh Artyom Zakharov (Astana) was with them but he dropped back to the peloton after finishing second behind Lea in the King Of The Mountain intermediate prime at Snake Gully in the Hills.

An unidentified Astana rider flipped over his handlebars and crashed when he went off the road on a descent.


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