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6th Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under - 2.3

Australia, January 20-25, 2004

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News for January 21, 2004

By Karen Forman in Adelaide

Wrong turn sends Wooldridge out of the Tour

Stephen Wooldridge (Team Australia)
Photo ©: Mark Gunter

Australian rider Steve Wooldridge has been forced to withdraw from the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under after a wrong turn got him into trouble during stage two today. The Team Australia rider, who was instrumental in helping stage winner and team mate David McPartland to his victory today, will leave Adelaide feeling dejected and like he has let his team down. He's also disappointed that his test of the Proton motor company of Malaysia's T-Bike for a Sydney cycling identity considering ways to offer them commercially in Australia, Stephen Pearson, has come to a premature end.

"The break went and we had Dave McPartland in it," he told Cyclingnews tonight. "He was the success story of the day. My job was to look after the GC guys - Al Davis, Simon Gerrans, Dave and Ben Day. I got Al to the point of the climb, into a good position and he was in the main group, but then after riding so hard, I was very tired and fell to the back.

"I ended up chasing all day but in the end I was left without a marshal. I could still see the grupetto at times ahead of me and there was a chance I might have caught up with them, but then, without a marshal and not knowing the course, I went the wrong way."

By this time the race was three quarters over but Wooldridge, who took a wrong turn, was pulled over by commissaires and told to remove his numbers. "My manager Dave Sanders is disappointed, of course," he said. "We need as many riders as possible for the team, especially now we have Dave up there."

Wooldridge's wife Danielle arrives in Adelaide tomorrow, but he says he'll probably try to change his flight and leave in the next couple of days. "It's not the best for the head to hang around a race when you can't be in it," he said. "I am so disappointed. I was given this great opportunity to ride this fantastic race with a great Aussie team. I am disappointed."

He said, however, that the bike was "going awesome" and he had been really happy with it both on the stage one crit and during today's stage. "It is stiff, responsive, really good and I love its power," he said. "I hope I can continue to ride it for a while."

Laidler down but not out after stage two crash

Adrian Laidler
Photo ©: CN

UniSA rider Adrian Laidler was sporting an elbow bandage and some pretty painful looking abrasions on his left thigh and calf tonight after crashing during the second stage of the Jacobs Creek Tour Down Under today.

"It was just bad luck," the 22 year old from the Adelaide suburb of Blakeview told Cyclingnews, back in the newly opened TDU Village opposite race headquarters at the Hilton Hotel. "I had a pedal and cleat problem. The cleat wasn't up to standard. And when I went to apply some pressure on it, I came down."

The incident occurred just as the group had split in cross winds, two and a half hours into the 157km stage from Norwood to Kapunda. "I was just about to get onto the back of the breakaway, which was basically the whole bunch, to form a group of about 25 and I was out of the saddle," he said.

"Basically the cleat just completely slipped out of the pedal, causing me to fall." Laidler fell heavily onto his left side, resulting in nasty gravel rashes on his elbow, thigh and calf. Another rider came down with him, but both were up and back in the saddle within minutes, not requiring any assistance from their team car or mechanics.

Laidler, who rode full time in the United States last year with Lemond Fitness, is looking forward to a year on the domestic scene with the support of his sponsors Rio Coffee, Main North Nissan and Daccordi Bikes. "They are sending me to the nationals and helping me to study," he said. "I will probably do business or commerce."

The under 23 Australian road time trial champion of 2003, he said he had found it was difficult to make good money on the pro scene at the moment. "Contracts are a bit slim," he said.

He has decided instead to stay at home this year and then launch another assault on the pro scene in 2005. "I will have a real good crack at it next year and see if it will be a goer for me," he said. "I would love to ride the Tour de France, but if not, at least I will set up another career for me in the meantime."

He believes he might have finished in the second group if he didn't fall today, but says he is virtually unscathed and will be back tomorrow for another go.

No more fish, says disappointed McGee

Brad McGee climbed out of his sickbed on Tuesday evening after spending 24 hours with severe vomiting and diarrhoea which he attributes to a bad fish. The sudden and violent illness, which forced him to withdraw from the event he had put his hand up to win - the 2004 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under - has left the FdJeux.com rider looking decidedly thinner and pale, but he says he thinks he'll probably survive. But he won't be eating any more fish!

"I really only ate fish once a year and then, I eat it and..." he said. "My brother-in-law also ate it but you know how it is. Some people can eat something that doesn't agree with them and just get a bit of a crook stomach, but a rider about ready to race, well, that's a different story. Everyone has had it, eaten something that doesn't agree with them."

McGee said the drama began after he woke up from an afternoon sleep and wasn't feeling right. What followed was hours of agony, during which team and room mate Baden Cooke found him in the shower "in a real mess".

Advice from the race doctor was to not attempt to start the stage and today he also admitted to an additional problem which would keep him out of the saddle for longer than expected for a bout of food poisoning. "My haemorrhoid problem blew up," he said. "I was keeping it quite but then Baden was telling everyone anyway. There's is no way I could sit on a bike seat. I have had problems since I was a kid and sometimes it flares up. Apparently it's only in extenuating circumstances."

McGee said there had been mention of him having surgery to correct the problem, but that was not an option because it wasn't bad enough and would keep him off the bike for too long.

"I was disappointed, of course, because I have the form ready to go. This was going to be the first test for the team, the new guys, a short tour, the tactical side of things. It was the perfect race to do it. It has thrown me out."

McGee said the team would still show its legs and he was confident the other riders would go well. "It's probably good that they are not going to be so reliant on me, as I want to concentrate more on the general classification side of things. "

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