Cape Town - Nicholas Dlamini got his professional career and Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka's 2018 season off to an excellent start at the UCI World Tour.
Stage one of the Tour Down Under kicked off on Tuesday from Port Adelaide and made its way to Lyndoch where a big bunch sprint decided the winner.
Dlamini pulled on the King of the Mountains jersey at the end of the Tour Down Under opening 145km stage.
The 22-year-old South African made the three-man break of the day, escaping in the opening kilometre with Will Clarke (EF Education First) and Scott Bowden (UniSA).
The trio rode to a four-minute lead over the peloton before Dlamini proved to have the superior kick for the King of the Mountain prime at 38km.
Dlamini and Clarke then pushed on after the climb but the peloton kept their lead in check, ensuring a sprint would decide the stage.
The South African 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 on Tuesday on the world cycling stage.
Dlamini will no doubt be looking forward to Wednesday's stage, wearing the Subaru King of the Mountains Polka Dot Jersey.
"The day started off really well with a relaxed start because the peloton just let us go when we attacked," said Dlamini.
"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," he said.
"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."
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 second and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) placed third.
On Wednesday, 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.
Results after the 145km first stage of the UCI Tour Down Under from Port Adelaide to Lyndoch in South Australia on Tuesday:
1. Andre Greipel (GER/Lotto-Soudal) 3hr 50m 21sec
2. Caleb Ewan (AUS/Mitchelton-SCOTT) same time
3. Peter Sagan (SVK/BORA-Hansgrohe) s.t.
4. Elia Viviani (ITA/Quick-Step Floors) s.t.
5. Simone Consonni (ITA/UAE Team Emirates) s.t.
6. Phil Bauhaus (GER/Team Sunweb) s.t.
7. Nathan Haas (AUS/Katusha-Alpecin) s.t.
8. Matteo Montaguti (ITA/AG2R La Mondiale) s.t.
9. Ramunas Navardauskas (LIT/Bahrain Merida) s.t.
10. Ricardo Minali (ITA/Astana) s.t.
1. Andre Greipel (GER/Lotto-Soudal) 3hr 50 min 11 sec
2. Caleb Ewan (AUS/Mitchelton-SCOTT) at 4 seconds
3. William Clarke (AUS/EF Education First-Drapac) same time
4. Peter Sagan (SVK/BORA-Hansgrohe) +6
5. Nicholas Dlamini (RSA/Team Dimension Data) s.t.
6. Nathan Haas (AUS/Katusha-Alpecin) +9
7. Jhonatan Restrepo (COL/Katusha-Alpecin) s.t.
8. Elia Viviani (ITA/Quick-Step Floors) +10
9. Simone Consonni (ITA/UAE Team Emirates) s.t.
10. Phil Bauhaus (GER/Team Sunweb) s.t.
1. Andre Greipel (GER/Lotto-Soudal) 15 pts
2. Caleb Ewan (AUS/Mitchelton-SCOTT) 14 pts
3. Peter Sagan (SVK/BORA-Hansgrohe) 13 pts
King of the Mountain
1. Nicholas Dlamini (RSA/Team Dimension Data) 10 pts
2. William Clarke (AUS/EF Education First-Drapac) 6 pts
3. Scott Bowden (AUS/UniSA) 4 pts