Betul achieved its first win of the season in the dry league, while Mayrhofer finished seventh

Fastest at the front of Tour Down Under

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Alberto Bettiol (EF Education – EasyPost) won the prologue to the Tour Down Under. | Photo: Cor Vos

17.01.2023 | (rsn) – Alberto Bettiol (EF Education – EasyPost) has a mostly rainy start to 23. Round Down (Jan 17 – 23/2 UWT) won. The 29-year-old Italian took advantage of his early start on the track, which was still dry at the time. Complete the 5.5km prologue through Adelaide in 6:19 minutes.

Eight seconds later, American Magnus Sheffield (Ineos Grenadiers), who started the race late, was second, ahead of Dane Julius Johansen (Intermarche – Circus – Wanty / +0:10), who started shortly after him, and Australian Kaden Groves (Alpecin) . – Deceuneinck/0+:11) and New Zealand teammate Samuel Gaze (+:11), who, like Bettiol, was still out and about in dry conditions.

“I’m very happy and lucky too. I knew I could do well here, but not that I was going to win. The weather in Australia helped me,” Petiol said in the first interview with the eventual winner. “I asked the sporting director to start first because I think I have experience enough. In the end I win. This is a surprise and I’m really happy. There wasn’t much strategy involved. You have to know the angles, but sometimes you have to get lucky too.”

As the top nine German entrant, Marius Mayrhofer (DSM/+0:13) finished seventh after a strong performance. Jannik Steimle (Soudal – Quick Step) was eighth behind his compatriot at the same time. Nikias Arndt just missed out on the top ten in his first UCI race for Bahrain Victorious in 11th (+0:15) behind Australian Michael Matthews (Jayco-AlUla/+0:14).

With his first win of the season, Betiol also held the overall lead for the six-day Tour Down Under, which included a time trial for the first time in its history. “I love this race and am very proud to wear the Tour Down Under Leader jersey tomorrow morning. The race actually starts tomorrow,” said the winner in the prologue, referring to the first stage, which will run over 149.9 kilometers of hills around Tanunda.

Here’s how the race went:

At 6pm local time, Australian driver James Moriarty, the first of 139 debutants, tackled the 5.5km prologue in Adelaide. After the hot days leading up to it, only beginners were able to enjoy a dry track, which Bettiol used to set an early debut best time of 6:19 minutes.

When a torrential rain fell shortly afterwards, which then eased, but which accompanied all the following matches to the end, none of the rivals could endanger the Italian mark on the technical and slalom course. Several riders, including Betioles teammate Miquel Honoré, even fell on a slippery corner entered after a small bridge, thus losing any chance of a best result.

Matthews, who also started with general classification aspirations, came within 14 seconds of Bettiol’s mark with 6:33 minutes and was initially the best of the pros driving in the rain. Only five seconds slower than Australian Belo Bilbao (Bahrain victorious / 6:38), who started just ahead of him and was also one of the favorites for the last podium.

Although the conditions for the novices were once again noticeably better, Betiol’s victory was no longer in jeopardy. However, Sheffield (6:27) pushed Geese, who was previously second, into third place, before shortly thereafter Australian time trial champion Jay Fine (UAE Emirates Team) and Maierhofer, who was at the same time, overtook Matthews just. Johansen (6:29), who was third, just two seconds behind Sheffield, and Sprinter Groves (6:30), who was fourth up front, also put in a strong showing.

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