Down Under Classic
Viviani held up by crash in Adelaide
Rémi Cavagna, Dries Devenyns, Mikkel Honoré, James Knox, Michael Mørkøv, Fabio Sabatini and Elia Viviani were the seven Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders lining out for the hour-long Tour Down Under Classic, the fast and frantic criterium held on the streets of Adelaide ahead of the 21st edition of the Australian World Tour race, which is due to start in two days’ time.
Despite an average speed of 45km/h on the opening laps, four riders went clear and managed to put half a minute between them and the peloton, before being reeled in with 30 minutes left of the race. Soon after, another quartet went clear, but the chasers – including neo-pro Mikkel Honoré – made sure of not leaving anything to chance and kept them within sight, before eventually making the catch with four laps left.
Well-positioned under the flame rouge arch, just behind teammates Michael Mørkøv and Fabio Sabatini, Elia Viviani was patiently waiting to make his move in the race finale, when a crash occurred just as the bunch came out of the second-to-last corner blocked him and put an end to any hopes of a good result in the criterium won by Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) from a reduced group that survived the chaos.
The sprinters are expected to be again in the spotlight on the opening stage of the Tour Down Under – first World Tour event of the season – a 132.4km trek from North Adelaide to Port Adelaide.
Photo credit: ©Sigfrid Eggers