Riders told to ease up after Tour crashes

Riders are being urged to take chill pills after crashes plagued stage one of the Tour Down Under.

An over-excited peloton, and not any faults with the course design, are being blamed for a spate of incidents during Tuesday's opening road stage at Tanunda in the Barossa Valley.

Dutch rider Robert Gesink (Jumbo Visma) was the highest-profile casualty after he fractured his pelvis in a crash about 24km from the end and did not finish.

Australian Graeme Frislie (national team) and Belgian Jordi Meeus (Bora-Hansgrohe) did not start Wednesday's second stage because of concussion, while Australian Chris Harper (Jayco-AlUla) is out with an A/c joint injury.

Gesink's Australian teammate Rohan Dennis said the series of crashes that punctuated Tuesday's action were due to over-excited riders.

"There's no blame for the course at all," Dennis said.

"A lot of people always point to the course first ... most of the time, it is the course's fault.

"But people were riding as if it was the Tour de France, stage one, their careers were (dependant) on winning."

A crash in the high-speed sprint finish took down several riders, while German stage winner Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious) also went down early in the stage.

New Zealander Patrick Bevin (Team DSM) pulled out mid-stage after he crashed in Saturday evening's street race.

There are growing concerns about a lack of etiquette in the peloton, with British Tour de France champion Chris Froome saying a few days ago he is glad not to be 20 and starting his professional career now.

"I feel like everyone just needs to take a bit of a chill pill. It's the first race of the year - I know everyone is excited, but think about not just yourself," Dennis said.

"It was just a litle bit too hectic yesterday for my liking.

"Maybe that's the new cycling, but something needs to change in that sense.

"Yesterday was a bit too much, let's just relax a bit."

Dennis said losing a rider of Gesink's experience and talent was undoubtedly a blow to Jumbo Visma at the Santos Tour.

"I don't want to downgrade anyone else on the team, but he's a huge loss," Dennis said.

"He's a huge loss for flats, hills, downhills, positioning - he's experienced.

"It will be hard to replace him and guys will have to work harder, just for him not being here."