Italian Alberto Bettiol won the prologue of the Tour Down Under in Australia, which returns to the calendar after a three-year absence.
The 23rd edition of the Tour Down Under has finally started! Canceled in 2021 and 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic and the drastic conditions to be able to enter the country, Australia’s most famous stage cycling race was able to start on Tuesday. And it was Alberto Bettiol who won the prologue of this very first race on the 2023 World Tour calendar. six minutes and 19 seconds. It must be said that he was a little lucky, because starting fourth, he was able to benefit from a dry road while it rained afterwards and his competitors could not achieve a better time than him., so that he remained for two and a half hours on the throne of leader. Alberto Bettiol thus won, at 29, the fourth victory of his professional career, after the 2019 Tour of Flanders, the 2020 Etoile de Bessèges time trial and a stage of the 2021 Giro. Bettiol was eight seconds ahead 20-year-old American Magnus Sheffield and ten-year-old Dane Julius Johansen. First Frenchman, Hugo Page (21) took sixth place, twelve seconds behind the winner.
Bettiol: “I feel really lucky”
“I’m really happy and I feel really lucky at the same time, reacted Bettiol after his victory. I knew I could do well but not necessarily win. The Australian weather helped me. I really appreciate the help from my whole team today. I just had to pedal flat out for six and a half minutes. The strategy was a little different. I asked the sporting director to start first because I think I had enough experience. In the end I won. It’s a surprise and I’m really happy. You have to learn the turns but sometimes you have to be lucky. I love this race and I will be really proud to wear the Tour Down Under leader’s jersey tomorrow morning. It was a prologue and the real race starts tomorrow. On Wednesday, the riders will cover 150 kilometers around Tanunda, with two 4th category climbs on the menu.
WORLD TOUR / TOUR DOWN UNDER (AUSTRALIE)
Classification of the prologue (5.5km) and general classification (after 1 stage out of 6) – Tuesday January 17, 2023
1- Alberto Bettiol (ITA/EF Education-EasyPost) 6’19
2- Magnus Sheffield (USA/Ineos Grenadiers) at 8″
3- Julius Johansen (DAN / Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) at 10″
4- Kaden Groves (AUS/Alpecin-Deceuninck) à 11″
5- Samuel Gaze (AUS/Alpecin-Deceuninck) at 11″
6- Hugo Page (FRA / Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) at 12″
7- Marius Mayrhofer (ALL/DSM) à 13″
8- Jannik Steimle (GER/Soudal-Quick Step) at 13″
9- Jay Vine (AUS/UAE Emirates) at 14″
10- Michael Matthews (AUS/Jayco AlUla) at 14″