Tour Down Under 2014: stage one - five observations

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Tour Down Under 2014: stage one – five observations

Early thoughts as the UCI WorldTour season gets underway in Adelaide

When Will Clarke attacked almost from the flag in Nuriootpa, it will have brought back some uncomfortable flashbacks for some in the peloton. Two years ago, in Lobethal, Clarke did exactly the same and when Swiss rider Martin Kohler had claimed his intermediate sprint time bonuses he found himself up front on his own. And, of course, there he remained – the Australian soloing to victory despite frantic efforts of the peloton to reel him back in, sealing his first professional victory.

Will Clarke leads fellow escapee Neil van der Ploeg (Pic: Sirotti)

This time however, lessons had clearly been learned as Orica-GreenEDGE, through Luke Durbridge, and Team Sky with Bernhard Eisel ensured Clarke and fellow escapee Neil van der Ploeg could not even achieve a four-minute advantage. Nevertheless, Clarke stayed out for as long as possible, kicking again when the bunch closed in to earn Drapac maximum air-time. The 28-year-old is clearly a fan of the break, and you would not rule him out of appearing in a few more this week either – which will do his reputation no harm among the WorldTour teams.

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