The 2018 season kicked off at the People’s Choice Criterium in Adelaide, Australia. The 50km criterium, which serves as the curtain raiser to the Santos Tour Down Under, was again a fan favourite spectacle as the 22 lap race ended in a mass sprint, won by the World Champion, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe).
The short circuit race, while not typically suited to our African Team, saw our Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders animate the race from start to finish. From the gun, neo-pro, Nicholas Dlamini attacked with 3 other riders and they opened a small gap on the peloton. His move may have been short lived, returning to the peloton on lap 4, but Lachlan Morton then flew our green and white colours at the head of the race after bridging to the break on lap 7.
The flat track is tailor made for the sprinters though and so the gap to the escapees never really saw a minute. As the World Tour peloton ripped around the 2.3km lap at near on 50km/h an hour, the break stood no chance and a mass sprint decided the winner. We had Mark Renshaw following the wheels of the favourites over the final 2 laps and after he avoided the Team Sky rider who fell in the last 300 meters, Renshaw crossed the line in 10th place.
With the prologue to the main event now done and dusted, our African Team looks to the first stage of the Tour Down Under on Tuesday to get our 2018 World Tour season underway.