Lawless sixth overall after TDU opener

21 Jan 2020

Lawless sixth overall after TDU opener

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Tour Down Under – Stage one: Tanunda – Tanunda, 150km

A pair of bonus seconds ensured Chris Lawless sits sixth overall following a bunch sprint on day one at the Tour Down Under.
 
The Brit was alert early on to grab two bonus seconds at the opening intermediate sprint, finishing just behind defending champion Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott).
 
The Team INEOS rider was 12th in the mass sprint into Tanunda, which was won by Sam Bennett in his first race for Deceuninck-Quick-Step. Lawless now sits eight seconds behind the Irishman overall.

A bunch sprint ensured that Rohan Dennis, Pavel Sivakov and Dylan van Baarle all finished safely in the peloton, finishing without time loss ahead of tougher tests to come.
 
The opening stage of the WorldTour season saw the peloton tackle five loops of 30km around Tanunda. The day’s four-man break were never afforded a realistic chance of staying clear, with a bunch sprint always on the cards.
 
Team INEOS hit the front late on, with Ian Stannard driving the pace into the final 5km on the arrow-straight final run-in, with Lawless surfing the wheels in the final metres.
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- Brett Lancaster, Sport Director

“It’s the first race of the year and the guys hit the front a little bit early. That’s something we can sort out pretty quickly. Chris was just outside the top 10 but the main thing is that all our guys who are gunning for the GC stayed out of trouble. We had no issues or crashes on a day where there were a couple big crashes. We’ll move on to the next stage in Stirling tomorrow and have a crack.
 
“Tomorrow it’s three laps and four times up the climb. It’s a tough old day with a bit of wind about. We’re expecting a reduced bunch sprint, and with the cooler weather it should be even harder with guys able to push more earlier on. It will be an interesting day and hopefully it will suit Chris more than a pure sprint stage.”
Overall standings:

1. Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 3:28:44
2. Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) +4"
3. Erik Baska (Bora-Hansgrohe) +6"
4. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) +7"
5. Jarrad Drizners (UniSA-Australia) s.t.
6. Chris Lawless (Team INEOS) +8"

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