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SA’s Dlamini wins King of the Mountains jersey

South Africa’s Nicholas Dlamini is on a high Down Under!

The young Capetonian, in his first season for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka on the World Tour, proudly wears the King of the Mountains jersey at the end of stage one of the Tour Down Under.

The UCI World Tour race began in Port Adelaide on Monday, and ended 145 kilometres later with a big bunch finish sprint in Lyndoch.

Coming from Capricorn Park in Cape Town, the 22-year-old Dlamini 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 built up a four-minute lead over the peloton before Dlamini proved to have the superior kick for the King of the Mountain prime at the 38km kilometer mark.

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.

The youngster graduated from Dimension Data’s feeder team last season to join the World Tour team this year. While he may come from a humble upbringing, his talent and hard work was confirmed on the world cycling stage.

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 third.

Said Dlamini: ‘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’m 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’m really excited to be wearing a leader’s jersey in my first race, and hope for more of the same during the rest of the season.