Tour Down Under stage 1 shortened due to extreme heat

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LYNDOCH, Australia (CT) – The opening stage of the 2017 Santos Tour Down Under has been shortened due to extreme heat in South Australia’s Barossa Valley.

The stage was scheduled to finish with three laps of a 26.5km circuit through the state’s famous wine-growing region, but on the first of those laps, race director Mike Turtur and rider representative Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal) conferred and agreed to remove one lap of the finishing circuit. As a result the stage has been reduced from 145km to 118.5km.

“The safety and welfare of the riders, spectators and everyone involved with the race is always our primary concern,” said Turtur. “We consulted with rider representative Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal) and with our Chief Commissaire Alexander Donike, and both agreed it would be sensible to shorten the stage distance.”

Temperatures approached 40ºC throughout the stage and the pace in the peloton was slow as a result. At the start of the closing circuits, the riders were half an hour behind schedule.

Earlier in the day Belgium’s Laurens De Vreese (Astana) broke away solo 2km after just two kilometres of racing and lead the race on his own for the next few hours. He was caught with roughly 19km remaining in the shortened stage.

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