The 2018 UCI World Tour kicked off today from Port Adelaide, and made its way to Lyndoch where a big bunch sprint decided stage 1 of the Tour Down Under. For Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and Nicholas Dlamini, the race got off to a great start as our 22-year-old South African pulled on the King of the Mountains jersey at the end of the stage.
Nicholas Dlamini got his professional career and Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s 2018 season off to an excellent start, by pulling on the King of the Mountains jersey at the end of the Tour Down Under opening 145km stage. Dlamini made the 3-man break of the day, escaping in the opening kilometer with Will Clarke (EF Education First) and Scott Bowden (UniSA).
The trio rode to a 4-minute lead over the peloton before Dlamini proved to have the superior kick for the King of the Mountain prime at kilometer 38. Dlamini and Clarke then pushed on after the climb but the peloton kept their lead in check, ensuring a sprint would decide the stage. Dlamini was back in the peloton with 25km to go but all set for his first trip to the podium at a World Tour race.
Dlamini, who hails from the township of Capricorn Park in Cape Town, South Africa, graduated from our feeder team last season to join our World Tour team in 2018. While Dlamini may come from a humble upbringing, his talent and hard work was confirmed today on the world cycling stage. Dlamini will no doubt be looking forward to tomorrow’s stage, wearing the Subaru King of the Mountains Polka Dot Jersey.
Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) was the fastest to the line in Lyndoch, securing the stage win and the Ochre leaders jersey. Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) was 2nd and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) placed 3rd. Tomorrow the Tour Down Under will make its way to Stirling from Unley, over 148km with a short kicker to the line set to play a serious role in the stage outcome.
Nicholas Dlamini – Rider
The day started off really well with a relaxed start because the peloton just let us go when we attacked. There was one experienced rider in the move, Will Clarke, so I had to keep an eye on him, but he was actually a really good guy to ride alongside. In our stage tactical meeting the plan was always for me to make the break and take the Mountains jersey. In that type of situation, I have the best kick in the team so I am happy it all went according to plan. We have some bigger objectives for the race with Tom and the GC, so we’ll have to see what happens about keeping the jersey but it is great to have it for now. This is the highest level of the sport so I am really excited to be wearing a leader’s jersey in my first race, I hope for more of the same during the rest of the season.