Australian home favourite Simon Gerrans sprints to first-stage victory on Tour Down Under

Team Sky's Geraint Thomas sits 11 seconds behind following the opening stage in Adelaide

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The Independent Online

Home favourite Simon Gerrans sprinted to victory on the first stage of the Tour Down Under in Adelaide on Tuesday.

The Orica-GreenEDGE rider finished five seconds clear of Lotto-Belisol's Andre Greipel while Steele Von Hoff of Garmin-Sharp was a further two seconds back.

"I guess I've surprised a few, myself included," Gerrans told "Obviously Andre is one of the fastest sprinters around.

"It was a tough finale and everyone was tired. I had to sprint really late because of the head wind (and) looking towards the end of the week, it might have been better if Andre had the lead but we've seen in the past few years that this race is won or lost by seconds, so you have to take every opportunity.

"Every second counts. I hope it's not too early to hold the jersey but we have a fantastic squad here, so I'm optimistic for keeping the lead till the end."

Geraint Thomas was 11 seconds off the pace for Team Sky, with Australian team-mate Richie Porte a further four seconds behind.