The experienced Dane was Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s best placed rider in Sunday’s race.

Surprisingly, light rain welcomed the riders who lined out at the start of the Tour Down Under Criterium, held two days before the start of the 22nd edition of the World Tour event, on a fast and challenging circuit that the peloton had to cover 30 times.

Six riders attacked on the opening lap and built a 30-second maximum gap, which several teams, including Deceuninck – Quick-Step, kept in check and gradually brought back as the race progressed. A late crash split that occurred on a tricky left-hand corner split the field and slowed down Irish Champion Sam Bennett, who found himself at the back and tried hard to return to the front of the group as the race entered in the final kilometres.

Unfortunately, it didn’t happen, the speed being well over 50km/h at that point, and this meant Michael Mørkøv took over sprinting duties, finishing in seventh place the race won by Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) over Elia Viviani (Cofidis). It was the final test for the riders ahead of the Tour Down Under – first race of the World Tour calendar – which starts Tuesday, with a flat stage around Tanunda.


Photo credit: ©Sigfrid Eggers

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