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Cancer Council Helpline Classic: Rymill Park 51km

Sky proves the goods with Henderson win

Les Clarke
January 17, 07:01,
January 18, 01:23

British team debuts with one-two

Greg Henderson (Team Sky) takes the win with team mate Chris Sutton celebrating the one two from Team Sky.

Greg Henderson (Team Sky) takes the win with team mate Chris Sutton celebrating the one two from Team Sky.

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Last year Greg Henderson entered the Tour Down Under week as a support rider for André Greipel. A year later, as part of Team Sky's lineup, the kiwi sprinter is the Cancer Council Helpline Classic champion.

The 33-year-old from Dunedin went into the race the team's go to man in the anticipated sprint finish according to directeur sportif Sean Yates and he delivered, taking a one-two with in-form Australian Chris Sutton as Greipel finished third after hitting out for the line a long way from home.

Team Sky put on a two-lap masterclass in how to execute the perfect leadout train at the right time - the final couple of times around the Adelaide East End circuit - to make good on the hype that has surrounded the recent launch of the British squad.

"The lead out was so fast, I've never been on the back of anything faster," said Henderson after the finish. And over the final 200 metres nobodyw as faster than Henderson and Sutton, the Antipodean connection crushing the opposition in a finale dominated by the boys in black (and blue).

One of those riders contributing the most to the team's finishing flourish was Russell Downing, the British stalwart finally proving to the world that he has what it takes to transport the world's best sprinters to the line in the best way possible.

"We were there from two to go," he explained after the finish. "Then Columbia got it organised on the left hander down the back; we were still in formation so I lead it round the outside and straight out of the corner and took the Columbia train off. The boys were yelling behind and I took it all the way down the straight and into the corner.

Downing and Mat Hayman - whose services were sorely missed today by former team Rabobank - continued to drive the Sky train despite the attempts of HTC-Columbia to negate the effects of the British team's dominance. "We had at least five guys there - it was an amazing team effort," continued Downing. "We had a plan, and it worked. That was the first race of the year and it's a dream come true."

"We said that was the deal - if we could stick to the plan and it worked, then we were a possible chance of winning, and it did," said Downing.

Runner up Sutton looked like a possible winner until the final metres, when Henderson surged forward and confirmed his status as the team's captain for the race. While the pair rode well during the recent Jayco Bay Classic, today's performance was an appetiser for season 2010.

"We were just doing our own thing," said and elated Sutton, who celebrated with uncle Shane after the stellar performance. "There's been a lot of hype in the media about Columbia versus Sky; we weren't having much to do with it, really... just concentrating on ourselves and trying to get it all right.

"It's always difficult doing one thing out training and then getting to a race - we knew that if we could put it together today it would pay off. I can't believe it - it's a dream start.

As for the squad's plans heading into the Santos Tour Down Under, Sutton reiterated team manager Dave Brailsford's comments that it won't be going for an overall victory: "We're going to take it one day at a time and just keep cool and level-headed. It's just a matter of staying calm; we've had our first win and as I said before the start, there's no pressure on us - the only pressure we feel is that which we put on ourselves," he said.

Two Tour champions make a break

The race was animated by two unlikely characters to find in a criterium breakaway, Lance Armstrong and Oscar Pereiro, the pair joined by Mathieu Perget (Caisse d'Epargne), Mikael Cherel (Française des Jeux) and Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Doimo) to establish a healthy lead off the front of the peloton with approximately two-thirds of the race distance covered.

The move was initiated following the third prime sprint, with the star-studded quintet quickly forming and stamping its authority on the front of the race. "I had a small desire to be in a group like that, but that one stayed away longer than we all expected and longer than I saw last year," said Armstrong, who proved he's here in much better condition that last January.

"Everybody was completely going for it, no talking and only a little bit of looking around after the corners to see how close they [the peloton] were," he added. "In terms of the mix, it was a nice balance, everybody did their work. Some guys started to taper off at the end, but that's to be expected, we get out there and don't expect to be out there that long."

And while the break remained at the head of proceedings for a lot longer than expected, the final three laps belonged to the sprinters' teams and in particular Team Sky, which blanketed the front of the field with precision and pace, resulting in the dominant finale that netted the team a 100 percent strike rate in its first outing.


# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Gregory Hederson (NZl) Team Sky 1:04:33  
2 Christopher Sutton (Aus) Team Sky    
3 Andre Greipel (Ger) HTC-Columbia    
4 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Katusha    
5 Baden Cooke (Aus) Team Saxo Bank    
6 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank    
7 Allan Davis (Aus) Astana    
8 Jose Rojas (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne    
9 Anthony Ravard (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale    
10 Manuel Cardoso (Ita) Footon-Servetto    
11 Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank    
12 Mathew Goss (Aus) HTC-Columbia    
13 Daryl Impey (RSA) Team RadioShack    
14 Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) UniSA-Australian National Team    
15 George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing Team    
16 Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Team RadioShack    
17 Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha    
18 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Team RadioShack    
19 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Française des Jeux    
20 René Mandri (Est) Ag2R La Mondiale    
21 Robbie Hunter (RSA) Garmin-Transitions    
22 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma – Lotto    
23 Wim Stroetinga (Ned) Team Milram    
24 Robert Foester (Ger) Team Milram    
25 Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr) Ag2R La Mondiale    
26 Ivan Velasco (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi    
27 Peter Sagan (Skv) Liquigas    
28 Gorka Izaguirre (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi    
29 Maciej Paterski (Pol) Liquigas    
30 Sebastien Rosseler (Bel) Team RadioShack    
31 Benjamin Swift (GBr) Team Sky    
32 Valeriy Dmitriyev (Kaz) Astana    
33 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) BMC Racing Team    
34 Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas    
35 Jonas Ljungblad (Swe) Omega Pharma – Lotto    
36 Mathieu Drujon (Fra) Caisse d’Epargne    
37 Stuart O'grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank    
38 Bernard Eisel (Aut) HTC-Columbia    
39 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Garmin-Transitions 0:00:08  
40 Josep Jufre Pou (Spa) Astana    
41 David Gutierrez (Spa) Footon-Servetto    
42 Ivan Gutierrez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne    
43 Bert Grabsch (Ger) HTC-Columbia    
44 Michael Rogers (Aus) HTC-Columbia    
45 Pierre Cazaux (Fra) Française des Jeux    
46 Frank Hoj (Den) Team Saxo Bank    
47 Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Katusha    
48 Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Astana    
49 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Team RadioShack    
50 Mickael Delage (Fra) Omega Pharma – Lotto    
51 Rick Flens (Ned) Rabobank    
52 Romain Sicard (Fra) Euskaltel – Euskadi    
53 Eduard Vorganov (RSA) Katusha    
54 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi    
55 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne    
56 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne    
57 Gerben Lowik (Ned) Omega Pharma – Lotto    
58 Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Française des Jeux    
59 Nikolas Maes (Bel) Quick Step    
60 Aitor Perez Arrieta (Spa) Footon-Servetto    
61 Peter Mcdonald (Aus) UniSA-Australian National Team    
62 Lance Armstrong (USA) Team RadioShack    
63 Jose Alberto Benitez Roman (Spa) Footon-Servetto    
64 Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC Racing Team    
65 Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Omega Pharma – Lotto    
66 Kristjan Koren (Slo) Liquigas    
67 Christian Meier (Can) Garmin-Transitions    
68 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana    
69 Thomas Vedel Kvist (Den) Quick Step    
70 Kasper Klostergaard (Den) Team Saxo Bank    
71 Ludovic Turpin (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale    
72 Mauro Finetto (Ita) Liquigas 0:00:16  
73 Anthony Roux (Fra) Française des Jeux 0:00:17  
74 Michele Merlo (Ita) Footon-Servetto    
75 Marcel Sieberg (Ger) HTC-Columbia    
76 Luke Roberts (Aus) Team Milram    
77 Thomas Frei (Swi) BMC Racing Team 0:00:23  
78 Evans Cadel (Aus) BMC Racing Team    
79 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Française des Jeux    
80 Matthew Wilson (Aus) Garmin-Transitions    
81 Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team    
82 Michael Matthews (Aus) UniSA-Australian National Team    
83 Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank    
84 Alexander Pliuschin (Mda) Katusha    
85 Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi    
86 Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Omega Pharma – Lotto    
87 Miguel Minguez (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi    
88 Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Liquigas    
89 Daniel Sesma (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi    
90 Thomas Rohregger (Ger) Team Milram    
91 Trent Lowe (Aus) Garmin-Transitions    
92 Tiziano Dall'Antionia (Ita) Liquigas    
93 Timothy Roe (Aus) UniSA-Australian National Team    
94 Arthur Vichot (Fra) Française des Jeux    
95 David Kemp (Aus) UniSA-Australian National Team    
96 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky    
97 Jesus Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Astana    
98 Davide Vigano (Ita) Team Sky    
99 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Astana    
100 Anders Lund (Den) Team Saxo Bank    
101 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo Bank    
102 Simon Clarke (Aus) UniSA-Australian National Team    
103 Cyril Dessel (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale    
104 Julian Dean (NZl) Garmin-Transitions    
105 Sergey Klimov (Rus) Katusha    
106 Joan Ripoll Horrach (Spa) Katusha    
107 Biel Kadri (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale    
108 Martin Elmiger (Swi) Ag2R La Mondiale    
109 Jos Van Emden (Ned) Rabobank    
110 Mauro Facci (Ita) Quick Step    
111 Markus Fothen (Ger) Team Milram    
112 Jack Bobridge (Aus) Garmin-Transitions    
113 Rohan Dennis (Aus) UniSA-Australian National Team    
114 Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Quick Step    
115 Mikael Cherel (Fra) Française des Jeux    
116 Dominik Roels (Ger) Team Milram    
117 Hayden Roulston (NZl) HTC-Columbia    
118 Jason Mccartney (USA) Team RadioShack    
119 Karsten Kroon (Ned) BMC Racing Team    
120 Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank    
121 Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Omega Pharma – Lotto    
122 Jose Garcia (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne    
123 Koos Moerenhout (Ned) Rabobank    
124 Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Quick Step    
125 Addy Engels (Ned) Quick Step    
126 Tom Leezer (Ned) Rabobank 0:00:35  
127 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Team Sky 0:00:55  
128 David Vitoria (Spa) Footon-Servetto 0:01:16  
129 Perget Mathieu (Fra) Caisse d’Epargne    
130 Russell Downing (GBr) Team Sky    
131 Björn Schroder (Ger) Team Milram 0:01:34  
DNS Martin Pedersen (Den) Footon-Servetto    
DNS Andreas Stauff (Ger) Quick Step