Greipel makes winning start

Andre Greipel delivered an emphatic victory on stage one at the Tour Down Under to take an early race lead.

The German (Lotto-Belisol) hung on over the late climbs before opening up in Lobethal to level the record for stage wins in the Australian stage race.

Team Sky went toe-to-toe with Lotto-Belisol in the closing stages but on the line it was Arnaud Demare (FDJ) and Mark Renshaw (Blanco Cycling) who rounded out the podium places.

Backing up his win on Sunday at the People's Choice Classic, Greipel moved in the ochre leader's jersey with a four-second lead heading into a likely more selective stage two on Wednesday.

A big emphasis was placed on bonus seconds with the race's overall contenders showing their hand and getting in the mix with three intermediate digs during the day - Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) among the big names to claim time bonuses.

A combination of Lotto-Belisol, Argos-Shimano and Orica-GreenEDGE helped control the day on behalf of their respective sprinters in a day which always looked likely to end in a bunch kick.

Edvald Boasson Hagen was the first Team Sky rider home in eighth after getting boxed in slightly in the final few metres.

The WorldTour campaign kicked off in Prospect to the east of Adelaide, 135 kilometres on the agenda on a stage which appeared to have all the hallmarks of a sprint finish.