Jacobs Creek Tour Down Under
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7th Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under - 2.HC

Australia, January 18-23, 2005

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Stage 2 - Wednesday, January 19: Salisbury to Tanunda, 150km

Commentary by Anthony Tan, with additional reporting from Gabriella Ekström

Complete live report

Live coverage starts: 11.00 ACDT
Estimated finish time: 14.48 ACDT

10:58 CST   
Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of Stage 2 of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, the first road leg of the six-stage tour that takes the peloton from Salisbury to the Barossa township of Tanunda.

Situated roughly 20km north of Adelaide, the spunky new town centre of Salisbury plays host to the start of today's stage, where the usual pre-race mingling goes on before the official kick-off at 11am. Once the flag is dropped, the 95 riders left in the race (no casualties so far, thank goodness!) undertake a reverse S-shaped, 150 kilometre journey, traversing the towns of Elizabeth, Gawler, Lyndoch, Williamstown, Mount Pleasant, Springton, Angaston and Nuriootpa, before the finish in Murray St, Tanunda.

Two sprints and one king of the mountains (KOM) prime is up for grabs today; the first SA Lotteries Sprint at Williamstown (km 46.8), then the KOM at Smith Hill (km 64.0), before the second sprint bonus at Mt Pleasant (km 85.0). The Be Active Tour will also follow this route prior to the race start. Look out for Ministers Tony Abbott and Kevin Andrews in lycra!

11:24 CST    11.8km/138.2km to go
After a huge 400 metre neutral section, 95 riders crossed the official race start line at 1103 this morning under warm conditions, around 26 degrees Celsius, with Cyclingnews' Gabriella Ekström reporting that its getting increasingly cloudy, and that the forecasted maximum of 36 looks unlikely.

11:34 CST    17km/133km to go
Right now, you may be wondering why the updates aren't more frequent... Well, that's because nothing much is going on! The Davitamon-Lotto boys have been active up front, but the pace is cruisy (or piano, as they say in Italy). A correction about all 95 riders taking to the start today: Australia's Henk Vogels did not rock up on the start line - we'll try and find more about that later.

11:46 CST    24km/126km to go
Jeez, I spoke too soon... it's just been reported that a four-man reak went at around the 11 kilometre mark, with Wim Vansevenant (Lotto-Domo), Scott Davis and Aaron Kemps (United Water) represented - we'll get info on guy #4 later. At km 14, the quartet had 30 seconds on the peloton, then at km 16, their lead went out to 1'05, with no-one terribly interested in chasing them down. Adelaide boy Russell Van Hout (Uni SA) is trying to bridge across, and is 30 seconds behind the break. To quote a famously reported bedroom scene with actor Russell Crowe, "Go Russ, Go!"

11:59 CST    29km/121km to go
Van Hout has sat up - too hard to chase four riders swapping off at 50 clicks an hour. Sincere apologies requested here: riders in the break are: Lazlo Bodrogi (Credit Agricole), Mickael Delage (FDJeux.com), David O'Loughlin (Navigators Insurance), David McKenzie (United Water), not Vansevenant, Davis and Kemps. The gap's really opened up now - it's 5'40 to the peloton.

12:03 CST   
Scott Davis from the United Water team hinted that stage two may get off to an aggressive start. He told Cyclingnews, "if we can get one guy in a break of say, six or seven, that's what we would like. Overall, our aim is to get a stage win and after that we'll see how we go in the overall classification."

Benoit Poilvet from Credit Agricole is like many of the visiting European pros - they just don't know what to expect and how they'll cope with the heat. "Our plan is the same as anyone's - to put someone in a break. Or, we don't really have a plan besides that. I think Patrice Halgand is in for a good chance for the overall, and we have Jaan Kirsipuu for the stage wins."

12:08 CST   
It's just past midday, and Cyclingnews' Gabriella Ekström says the clouds are slowly clearing, with the chance of rain now unlikely. Russell Van Hout (Uni SA) is still dangling out in between the break and the bunch, which goes to show how much of an advantage the quartet now have.

Home-town favourite, Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis), said, "normally this is one of the easiest stages and I'm up to it if it comes down to a sprint", even though he did attack the lead bunch in the final kilometre of last night's opening stage, rather than sticking around for an all-in bunch kick with Robbie McEwen and Allan Davis.

"However, there's a hill in the middle of the stage and so there will be a lot of attacks that could go away." Last year, an attack did go away and it included the wily Patrick Jonker, who took almost two minutes out of the field and had the experience to hold on to the lead right until the race finished in Adelaide, closing off his career as a pro cyclist in his home-town with a fairytale ending. "We'll just see how well Lotto will handle the heat and if they look weak, we'll attack them," O'Grady said.

12:14 CST    42km/108km to go
It's 5km to the first sprint for the lead group.

Cadel Evans will be a key rider today for Davitamon-Lotto and Robbie McEwen's chances of retaining the leader's jersey that he won last night in the Adelaide street circuit. He told Cyclingnews before the start, "it's windy and it's hard, and that is good. I'm just going to take care of Robbie and see how he goes today," he said of his team leader, seated next to him in a team car while being interviewed. But overall, McEwen and Evans didn't feel any real pressure; they'll wait and see how the stage pans out.

12:29 CST    50km/100km to go
At the Williamstown sprint, Mickael Delage (FDJeux.com) took line honours from David McKenzie (United Water) and Lazlo Bodrogi (Credit Agricole). The break's still lookin' good, with a 5+ minute advantage.

12:38 CST   
There's quite a few emails coming in re. bovine activity at the JCTDU. You guys!

Cyclingnews readers Paul Stolk and Warwick Hutchinson seem particularly concerned, with Paul asking for *any* livestock sightings (geez) and Warwick saying, "No doubt some smart cookie will get a government grant to study and compare how cows are affected by the passing of the Tour de France and the JCTDU in their respective countries!" (what the ...?)

I'm concerned. I better apply for that degree in agriculture before I go to Langkawi...

Oh yes. Back to the race. Nothing much going on. Break at 4'30.

12:48 CST    62km/88km to go
With two clicks to the KOM of Smith Hill, it's young Frenchman Mickael Delage (FDJeux.com) who appears to have the itchiest feet of the four. The peloton are roughly two kilometres behind. The peloton are slowly closing in and are 4'10 to the break; with 90-odd k's to go, there's still every chance they'll be caught.

13:01 CST    66km/84km to go
Lazlo Bodrogi (Credit Agricole) was dropped just before the top of Smith Hill - he's a chrono (TT) man, so no surprise there. Mickael Delage (FDJeux.com) took the KOM ahead of David McKenzie (United Water) and David O'Loughlin (Navigators Insurance).

Back in the peloton, Sergio Paulinho (Liberty Seguros), Gene Bates (Uni SA), Inigo Chaurreau (Ag2r Prevoyance), Luis Leon Sanchez (Liberty Seguros), Jonathon Clarke (United Water), Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto) got a small gap at the top of climb, but they're now back in the fold.

Mikel Astarloza, the Spanish rider with French team Ag2r-Prevoyance and winner of the JCTDU in 2003, said his team's plan was to wait-and-see. "We don't have a team leader as of today. We'll figure that out after today, since it's likely a break will go away today. I must say that I like the weather today, it's better than last year. It's not as hot as it has been."

His team-mate, young Australian rider Simon Gerrans in his first stage race for the French squad in 2005, said, "it's going to be a hard stage and windy. Naturally, we will try to put someone in there for the finish.

"A realistic goal for us is to get a stage win and then aim as high as we can in the overall classification. I think a podium position is a possibility for one of us," he said of the team's overall prospects.

13:05 CST   
One of the star attractions at this year's JCTDU is Lampre-Caffita's Gilberto Simoni, dual winner of the Giro d'Italia (2001 & 2003). He said, "my tactic today is survival". He admitted he's not feeling so great. Was this from the jetlag and change in climate? "No! It's the competition!"

Speaking for the USA's only team in the JCTDU - the Navigators Insurance Team - was newly crowned Australian road time trial champion, Nathan O'Neill. "Typically, on paper it looks suited to the sprinters today." He said the Navigators will ride in an opportunistic fashion today as the team has two good sprinters in Kirk O'Bee and Hilton Clarke Jr, and either of those riders "could steal some of the limelight".

In previous years, the race has been animated by the super-keen local riders in teams like UniSA and United Water. Gene Bates, this year's leader of the UniSA team, told Cyclingnews, "it's the same plan as yesterday - try to ride as aggressively as possible.

"I know the course well and I have trained over these climbs," said the South Australian rider, who is taking over from Patrick Jonker as leader of last year's victorious team, where Jonker won the overall and the team took out the teams prize.

"I think some riders will try for a break, but the likes of O'Grady and McEwen are probably better prepared this year. I'm not sure if they're going to let a break go at this time," he said.

13:13 CST    80km/70km to go
The pletone (thought I'd throw in some Italian, since superstar Gibo Simoni is in town :)) is now closing in (or the riders in the break are tiring, or both), the gap now at 2'00. 5km till the second sprint at Mt Pleasant, which happens to be at a lung-busting altitude of 500m above sea-level.

13:29 CST   
We've also had a number of emails to the CN commentary team about how European riders cope with the extreme climate change - going from say, -4°C in Denmark to almost 40°C in Adelaide is most certainly a shock to the system. Well, back when the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under began in 1999, the answer was a resounding 'not real well'.

However, things have changed since then. The Euro boys are now coming out much earlier to Oz, allowing their bodies and minds to properly acclimatize and also get in a few more training miles before the race begins. But there's always a handful who get caught out with just how far ahead some of the Aussies are in terms of race fitness.

The parcours for the JCTDU also lends itself to Europeans, with no more than one KOM each day, and the longest stage 152 kilometres in length, so these considerations make an early-season race such as this more inviting to the Europeans.

13:34 CST   
More housekeeping: re. Henk Vogels, there's been no updates via race radio, but we'll try and get hold of Davitamon-Lotto DS Hendrik Redant and/or Allan Peiper as soon as the stage finishes. Poor guy; it's never easy making a comeback after what he's been through.

13:57 CST    95km/55km to go
Apologies for the delay - toilet break (or is that too much information?)

David McKenzie (United Water) took out the second sprint at Mt Pleasant sprint (km 85), followed by Mickael Delage (FDJeux.com) and Lazlo Bodrogi (Credit Agricole). Then for some strange reason, McKenzie sat up - even though the gap back to the peloton was still 1'27.

Then there were two: Mickael Delage (FDJeux.com), David O'Loughlin (Navigators Insurance). And according to our latest reports from race radio, the French/Irish combo have actually extended their lead to 1'45 at the 95 kilometre mark. Not much is known about Delage, but O'Loughlin is a strong TT rider, so don't discount the duo just yet.

14:07 CST    107km/43km to go
Animal update: plenty of horses, sheep and cows, but no roos, giraffes, zebras, lions, tigers, hippos, leopards or monkeys.

Vogels update: looks like Henk's got the 'flu. Get well soon, Henk.

Shortly after the second and final sprint, riders received their musettes (feed bags) and each took on board a family bucket of KFC, with a Streets Cornetto for dessert. Joking.

The gap is now 1'35 after 107 kilometres' racing.

14:20 CST    120km/30km to go
To quote Elmer Fudd, the peloton appears have gone very, very quiet. At km 113, Lazlo Bodrogi (Credit Agricole, and yes, he got back on after the KOM at Smith's Hill - sorry), Mickael Delage (FDJeux.com) and David O'Loughlin (Navigators Insurance) were holding their advantage at around one and a half minutes. They've now just passed the town of Angston (km 120).

14:27 CST    130km/20km to go
It's most certainly touch and go: 20km to the finish and the gap's now 45 seconds. I know I'm quoting people like it's going out of style, but to quote The Footy Show's Paul 'Fatty' Vautin, I would say they're goooooooone (said in a high-pitched voice).

Feeding has been extended to 10km before the finish (km 150).

14:29 CST   
Yay! I got something right today! The break are being caught... it's all together with just under 20 to go.

14:40 CST    140km/10km to go
OK folks, it's all looking good for a sprint royale coming into Tanunda. It appears rockin' Robbie's gonna have one of those years like he did in 2002, where he won just about everything he wanted to win, but today's finish isn't overly technical, so it could be a day for the likes of Baden Cooke (FdJeux.com) or Jaan Kirsipuu (Credit Agricole).

14:48 CST    145km/5km to go
With five k to go, the Davitamon-Lotto, FdJeux.com, Liberty Seguros and Cofidis boyz are setting it up for Robbie, Cookie, Alby and Stuey (yes, all nicknames in Australia must end in 'ie', 'by' or 'ey'). Place your bets. As they say in Canada (even though we're in Oz), I'm rooting for Robbie.

15:00 CST    150km/0km to go
... and Robbie wins Stage 2 of the JCTDU!! Onya maaate!

Provisional second is Graeme Brown (Panaria) and third is Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros).

15:21 CST   
Correction: second place was Paride Grillo (Ceramiche Panaria Navigare), and third was Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros). We'll get some quotes from Robbie shortly (look out for our race report) and we'll also have an interview with David Mckenzie later this evening. But for now, thanks for tuning into our live coverage of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under. We'll be back again tomorrow for Stage 3, a 139km stage from Glenelg to Victor Harbor. Ta ta for now.

Provisional results

1 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon - Lotto
2 Paride Grillo (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria - Navigare
3 Allan Davis (Aus) Liberty Seguros

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