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Caleb Ewan wins shortened Tour Down Under opening stage as cyclists battle heat

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Caleb Ewan

People’s Choice Classic winner Caleb Ewan has backed up his performance of two days ago to take out the opening stage and the first leader’s jersey of the Tour Down Under.

Race organisers decided to shorten the day’s racing from 145km to 118km, as scorching conditions saw the temperature hit 40 degrees.

In what was a close finish, the 22-year-old just got the better of Danny Van Poppel (Sky) and Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe) having once again been dropped off by new teammate Roger Kluge.

Ewan, who won the same stage in 2016, was pleased to come away with the victory after a tough day on the bike and a messy bunch sprint.

“It was really stinking hot out there today,” Ewan said at the finish line. “I think everyone felt the heat and it was probably a good idea for organisers to shorten it a little bit.

“I’m super happy to get the win, it was a really close one in the end. A lot of guys ran out of lead out men in that last straight because there was a bit of head wind.

“There was a lot of pressure coming back here with the same finish as last year. I felt the pressure to do the same thing and win. It’s a relief and it’s a great start to the week. It’ll put the whole team on a high and hopefully we can do something like last year.”

Tour Down Under 2017 – stage 1 results:

1Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott)

3:24:18

2Danny van Poppel (Team Sky)

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3Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe)

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4Marko Kump (UAE Abu Dhabi)

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5Niccolò Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida)

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6Nikias Arndt (Sunweb)

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7Baptiste Planckaert (Katusha-Alpecin)

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8Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo)

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9Miles Scotson (BMC)

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10Sean De Bie (Lotto Soudal)

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