Simon Gerrans wins a wearied sprint to take the lead in the Tour Down Under

Simon Gerrans leads the Tour Down Under after stage one. I said he was a contender and he’ll be looking to hold the ochre jersey right the way to the finish now. That’s right – ochre. More races should consult the Dulux charts before settling on a leader’s jersey. The Tour of Britain should go for magnolia.

How did Gerrans win?

It was a sprint finish in which he managed to sneak round Andre Greipel. Normally this wouldn’t be possible what with Greipel being a big, pedal-hating gorilla of fury. However, Greipel was a bit tired. Being a bit tired is often a significant handicap in a bike race.

Gerrans was less tired than Greipel because of Menglers Hill, which came with 10km to go. I like this sort of a route where the winner has to be able to both sprint and climb. It makes things nice and messy and troubles the specialists who tend to be more familiar with the podium.

Where’s everyone else?

Well the time gaps are mostly down to bonus seconds, but these are important in a race in which the winning margin was 17 seconds in 2013, even if the route is slightly tougher this year. Gerrans picked up an additional second at an intermediate sprint as well as 10 seconds for the win, meaning Cadel Evans, Geraint Thomas and a few others are 11 seconds back, while Richie Porte and most of the rest of the field are 15 seconds back after failing to finish with the front group.

Stage two

Three repeats of a moderate climb as they approach the finish mean it’s a day for the overall contenders. I also note that they’re going over One Tree Hill early on.