17 Jan 2023

Italy’s Alberto Bettiol will wear the leader’s jersey at Tanunda tomorrow as heavy rain marred the historic Santos Tour Down Under efex prologue at the Adelaide Riverbank.

Bettiol was an early starter at the picturesque city circuit which lit up a muggy Tuesday night.

Bettiol was almost apologetic for deciding to start the prologue fourth off the ramp.

He now has an eight-second lead before stage 1 pedals off over second-placed Magnus Sheffield from Ineos Grenadiers.

Sheffield will wear the young rider’s jersey on Wednesday. 

“I feel really lucky, and, at the same time I knew I could do well,’’ Bettiol said.

“There are better riders, especially in the prologue, the weather of Australia helped me and in the end, I really appreciate the effort that all my team gave me to give me the best support.

“I just had to pedal full gas for six and a half minutes.”    

Bettiol, 29, from EF Education-Easypost and a Giro D’Italia 2021 stage winner finished the circuit in 6min19 sec averaging 52km/h.

His teammate Mikkel Honore was the first casualty of the evening after he crashed despite being ultra-cautious on a corner.

The Dane dusted himself down and finished the time trial in 5min24sec.   

Bettiol said he plans on keeping the ochre jersey at Mount Lofty on Sunday before the Ziptrak Stage 1 Tanunda to Tanunda pedals off, as 139 riders started the time trial with more than half the peloton enduring soaking rain.

South Australia’s world-class time trialist Rohan Dennis from Jumbo Visma’s effort was also determined by the wet deck.

The two-time time trial world champion ended his shift 17 seconds behind Bettiol.

And three current national time trial champions were on parade including Australia’s Jay Vine (UAE), Great Britain’s Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) and Canada’s Derek Gee (Israel Premier Tech).    

Jayco AlUla's star Michael Matthews was solid in wet conditions but couldn’t take time from Bettiol.

Multiple Grand Tour champion Chris Froome’s time trial was also marred by summer rain.

Israel Premier Tech’s Froome negotiated the track with utmost caution along the Riverbank and Torrens Bridge before completing the 5.5km course in 7min16 sec.    

Australia’s Giro D’Italia winner Jai Hindley from Bora-hansgrohe didn’t take any risks as a second bout of heavy rain made conditions extra dangerous to finish in 7min3sec.

The prologue is an individual time trial where the rider’s times count towards GC for the Santos Tour Down Under.

The peloton used their usual road bikes rather than the custom time trial bikes with riders able to wear aero helmets, skin suits and time trial wheels for the event.

General Classification top 3

  1. Alberto Bettiol – EF Education-Easypost – 6min:19sec
  2. Magnus Sheffield – Ineos Grenadiers – 0:08
  3. Julius Johansen – Intermarche-Circus-Wanty 0.10  


The Santos Tour Down Under is part of the UCI World Tour

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