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

Australia, January 18-23, 2005

Map     Stage profile    Start List   Latest live report    Results

Stage 4 - January 21: Unley to Hahndorf, 152km

Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Anthony Tan and Gabriella Ekström

Complete live report

Live coverage starts: 11.15 ACDT
Estimated finish time: 15.03 ACDT

10:56 CST
Welcome to our live coverage of the fourth stage of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, a 152 km journey between Unley, near the centre of Adelaide, and the German flavoured town of Hahndorf, about 30 km east of Adelaide. After a 7 km neutral section out of Unley, the stage will start with a 9 km climb, mostly along the South East freeway. It's not as interesting a climb as the Old Freeway next to it, which has a few more twists and turns and is normally the only way that cyclists are allowed to ride up this way. But the riders will turn off onto Mt Barker road for parts of this first climb, and we will surely see many attacks.

Once over the top, it's a fast run down through Stirling, Aldgate, Mylor and Echunga - definitely a chance to consolidate a breakaway as the roads are quite windy. There is a sprint at Echunga (km 28.3) and the peloton will then head up Church Hill road, as seen in the Australian National Championships last week, but it's only once this time and the 1 km climb shouldn't cause too much damage. Then it's off to Hahndorf (km 45) for a quick fly by before heading off on a big loop to the north. The day's only categorised climb is at Checker's Hill (km 86.6) - a short (600m) but very steep (14%) pinch that often splits the field. The second sprint is at Woodside (km 119.2) before the race heads back to Hahndorf for the finish.

The sun is trying to show itself this morning at the start in Unley, where there are a few sore heads after last night's street party. It should be a cool-ish day again today, with temperatures predicted to get up to around 25 degrees and a moderate southeasterly wind blowing. This will be behind and across the rides for the first part of the stage, before turning into a tailwind for the second part up to Checker Hill, then a headwind home.

11:12 CST
The riders have left Unley and are now rolling along through Adelaide in the neutral section. As soon as they hit the freeway tollgate, the race will start. We'll try to get a time for the first climb...

Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis) told us this morning, "I think it's going to be nasty. This is probably the hilliest stage. I think it's going to be hard from the start and it's also going to be a very tactical day." O'Grady is in 5th overall at 20 seconds down, so he will be looking for any advantage today.

11:16 CST
The flag is dropped and we're racing in stage 3!

11:24 CST 4km/148km to go
There are plenty of attacks as the flag drops, with six or seven riders - including the yellow jersey of Luis Sanchez - in there.

11:28 CST 7km/145km to go
Apart from Sanchez, in the break are Mikel Astarloza and Iñigo Chaurreau (Ag2r Prevoyance), David Betts (United Water), Nathan O'Neill (Navigators Insurance) and Adrian Laidler (Uni SA). All of them are caught save for Astarloza and Chaurreau.

2003 winner JCTDU Mikel Astarloza (Ag2r) is definitely out of the running in this year's race, after he missed the main break yesterday. "I spent all day in the gruppetto yesterday so I'm rested today," he told us at the start. "The classement is gone for me, but you will see me in a break today. I like this race a lot but I must say I like it even more when I was winning it."

11:33 CST
Jans Koerts (Cofidis) and Dario Pieri (Lampre) are reportedly in difficulties off the back of the peloton.

Astarloza and Chaurreau have 30 seconds at km 6 as counter attacks come from Cofidis and Credit Agricole.

There is a crash, but everyone is back on their bikes.

11:38 CST 12km/140km to go
Sebastien Joly (Credit Agricole) and David McKenzie (United Water) are the next riders to attack.

The time for the climb was 13'37. I'm going to guess that that's to somewhere near the Eagle on the Hill (6.3 km) because I don't think that this peloton is capable of averaging 40 clicks up a 9 km, 5 percent climb.

11:41 CST 15km/137km to go
It was to the Eagle on the Hill (6.3 km). Phew.

The breakaways have all been caught now and there are 50 riders in the front group, with the rest of the peloton in disarray. There should be some regrouping on the descent though.

11:43 CST 15km/137km to go
The next attack goes from Wim Vansevenant (Davitamon-Lotto), Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros) and Gene Bates (Uni SA). That will be chased down for sure.

Gene Bates told us this morning, "I feel fresh and recovered, both mind and body. Today I'm going to watch Stuey and Alby and if I see any sign of weakness, I'll be off."

We asked him about the threat of Luis Sanchez. "No, I think Stu and Alby will be the key players. Sanchez was lucky to get away yesterday, I don't think they expected him to stay away. I think today's going to be the decisive stage rather than tomorrow because the climb is so close to the finish tomorrow."

11:45 CST 16km/136km to go
Nick Gates (Davitamon-Lotto) joins the break, but it's all back together again with the better half of the peloton in front and the rest chasing.

11:48 CST 20km/132km to go
Kevin De Weert (Quick.Step), Aaron Kemps (Liberty Seguros), Mikel Astarloza (Ag2r Prevoyance) and Adrian Laidler (Uni SA) are the next to attack, but they will be hauled back in by the slowly regrouping peloton.

"It could go either way today, either they could go really easy over the climb or they could be riding very hard," Kemps told us at the start. "I've recovered well from yesterday so we'll just try to put a guy or two into everything that moves. There's four of us in the top ten, so it's quite possible that we still see ourselves in the lead after this stage, but I think tomorrow is going to be a more decisive day."

11:51 CST 25km/127km to go
Sebastien Joly (Credit Agricole), Nathan O'Neill (Navigators Insurance) and Fortunato Baliani (Ceramiche Panaria Navigare) counter attack, and are joined by Juan Fuentes (Lampre-Caffita), Alberto Contador (Liberty Seguros) and Wim Vansevenant (Davitamon-Lotto). They are hitting 85 km/h on the descent, flying through Stirling and Mylor, en route to Echunga.

11:59 CST
Dario Pieri (Lampre-Caffita) has abandoned. Julio Perez Cuapio (Ceramiche Panaria Navigare) didn't start today after he abandoned following his crash yesterday. Fortunately, he has no serious injuries.

12:00 CST 27km/125km to go
Panaria is controlling the now compact peloton leading up to the first sprint in Echunga.

12:09 CST 33km/119km to go
The results of the first sprint in Echunga: 1 Paride Grillo (Ceramiche Panaria Navigare), 2 Stuart O’Grady (Cofidis) and 3 Graeme Brown (Ceramiche Panaria Navigare). After the sprint, Brown drops back to the medical car for attention.

Another attack goes following the sprint, with the aggressive Wim Vansevenant (Davitamon-Lotto), Partrice Halgand (Credit Agricole), Arnaud Gerard and Ian McLeod (FDJeux.com) and Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r Prevoyance) and the yellow jersey of Luis Sanchez (Liberty). It comes back and Sebastien Joly (Credit Agricole), Aaron Kemps (Liberty Seguros), Fortunato Baliani (Ceramiche Panaria Navigare) and Chris Sutton (United Water) counter. Nothing is getting away so far.

12:12 CST 39km/113km to go
It comes back together for the nth time in this stage.

12:23 CST 45km/107km to go
Mikel Astarloza (Ag2r Prevoyance) is being quite active today, as he attacks for the third or fourth time. He gets Cyril Lemoine (Credit Agricole) with him for company as the race passes through Hahndorf for the first time today.

On the climb out of Hahndorf, a number of riders are being dropped. It hasn't been an easy pace today. Astarloza and Lemoine are caught.

In contrast to yesterday's barren Fleurieu Peninsula stage, today's jaunt through the back of the Adelaide Hills is a lot greener, with plenty of quaint ye olde towns en route. Hahndorf has a very strong German edge, as evidenced by a certain German cake shop that was frequented by members of the media last week. Be careful asking for bottled fizzy water...

12:26 CST
We spoke to one of the front runners for the overall, Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros) this morning. "I think today could be decisive; I think a breakaway could go and have guys in it that could change GC not in our favour - so we've just got to be on our toes and hopefully it works in our way. It's going to be hard...very hard."

Out of the rest of the riders in yesterday's break, who do you consider most dangerous? "I think Stuey, because he's a local bike rider and just because he's the bike rider that he is - he's in pretty good form. And Gene Bates is in the same category as Stuey - he's a local and he's an awesome bike rider...they're two which come to mind."

It's a bumpier profile than yesterday's stage, so is that something to take into consideration? "Yeah - it's hard to say what the bunch is going to do - we could just ride up the climb [Checker Hill] just like every other year, or there could be attacks - so we've got to be ready for both options.

Finally, how's your bro Scott Davis going? "He's moved out of the hotel, and he's staying down the road; he doesn't want to give anyone else viruses. He said he ate breakfast yesterday morning and started vomiting - doctors advised him not to race since he's going to Europe shortly... not a good idea to go while you're vomiting all over the place!"

12:27 CST 50km/102km to go
Astarloza attacks again, but there are many chasers. This guy doesn't know how to lie down!

12:35 CST 60km/92km to go
At the 60 km mark, it's all together and moving fast. The skies have cleared now to blue and the sun is out.

12:39 CST 63km/89km to go
17 riders have split off the front of the peloton, among them Gene Bates (UniSA). They have 26 seconds.

12:44 CST 67km/85km to go
The riders in the break:

Jimmy Engoulvent and Matthew White (Cofidis), Nick Gates and Mario Aerts (Davitamon-Lotto), Laszlo Bodrogi (Credit Agricole), Aaron Kemps, Alberto Contador and Javier Ramirez (Liberty Seguros), Mickael Delage, Arnaud Gerard and Cyrille Monnerais (FDJeux.com), Samuel Dumoulin and Nicolas Portal (Ag2r Prevoyance), Hilton Clarke (Navigators Insurance), Mirko Allegrini (Ceramiche Panaria Navigare), David Betts (United Water), Gene Bates (Uni SA).

Bates is the best placed on GC, so it's unlikely to go far. That is the case. All together again.

12:55 CST 74km/78km to go
Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros) has a mechanical problem, but it doesn't take him long to rejoin the peloton.

Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) and Sebastien Joly (Credit Agricole) attack.

13:00 CST 78km/74km to go
McEwen and Joly are joined by Matthew White (Cofidis), Frederic Finot (FDJeux.com) and Nicolas Portal (Ag2r Prevoyance). They have a minute - the most threatening break of the stage so far.

13:04 CST 82km/70km to go
The five man break gets a bit of breathing space, as half the peloton stops by the side of the road to commune with the natural surrounds. Maybe another one in the bag for Robbie?

13:06 CST
We spoke to FDJeux.com's Mark Renshaw about the race situation this morning.

Is it all for you now? "Yeah, pretty much, a bit of yes and no - it could go either way, and I'm probably still looking for a stage win now... chances of me getting up on the podium in the general aren't real good - not with the kind of guys that are here and are going well.

"But I'll still be givin' it a good nudge and 100 percent, see how it goes; if I've got good legs, I can call on the boys and to and improve [on the overall classification]. I'll just follow today and tomorrow I think will be the day it's decided."

How are you recovering? "I'm pulling up better and better every day, so as it goes on, I'm getting a bit more under the legs and I'm pulling through a little easier."

Is it a good or bad thing that you're the only GC rider? "We've still got Matty Wilson - he's a bit down on GC, but you never know what can happen."

13:07 CST
The five man break is working well together, trying to avoid the emus on the road!

Race leader Luis Sanchez is back in the peloton after his pitstop.

13:13 CST
Johan Van Summeren (Davitamon-Lotto) is placed second overall behind Sanchez. He had this to say when we spoke to him this morning: "I'm not too tired from yesterday. I seem pretty normal and today I'll try not to lose any time on the leader. The mountain today is too far from the finish for me to be able to do anything. I think tomorrow's going to be a better day for me but even then it's not going to be easy to take the jersey from Liberty."

13:18 CST 84km/68km to go
With 3 km to go until Checker Hill, Fortunato Baliani (Ceramiche Panaria Navigare) has joined the front five. They have 3'40 lead now with Liberty Seguros setting a steady, non-chasing tempo at the front of the peloton.

Baliani leads up Checker Hill
Photo ©: Anthony Tan/CN
Click for larger image

13:26 CST 87km/65km to go
Baliani is a pretty handy climber and wins the Checker Hill mountain sprint ahead of 2 Nicolas Portal (Ag2r Prevoyance), 3 Matthew White (Cofidis), 4 Sebastien Joly (Credit Agricole), 5 Frederic Finot (FDJeux.com) and 6 Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto).

13:29 CST
Another rider on our hitlist this morning was Simon Gerrans (Ag2r), who made the big break yesterday but missed the winning move. "I was kind of hoping it would stay together at the finish, but unfortunately, those guys got an advantage near the end, so it's going to be really hard to get that advantage back."

About today's stage: "Liberty being such a strong team, they've probably got control of the race, but it's going to be a really hard stage today, up and down all day - no recovery at all."

Are you guys going on the offensive today? "Definitely on the offensive. Our guys are going for a stage result, while Erki [Putsep] and I will be looking at the overall. We've got no reason to sit back and take it easy - we've got nothing to defend."

You're 24 seconds behind - it doesn't sound like much, but it is in a race like the JCTDU, isn't it? "You're right - it doesn't sound like much, but in this race, it's really hard to bring back. From all reports, Sanchez is riding really strong, and should be good enough to defend [his lead]."

How are you feeling/recovering? "I'm feeling alright at the moment, but we climb straight out of town here, so it's going to be a tough start to the day. We'll see."

13:32 CST 90km/62km to go
The gap is 3'30 to the peloton at the top of Checker Hill, where th(r)ongs of people greet the riders as they struggle past.

13:35 CST   
We don't normally put free plugs in but...Coburg cycling club in Victoria is running a crit for the Asia Tsunami appeal (Oxfam). It is on Saturday January 29, 2005 at the Campbellfield Circuit: 1.70km road kermesse circuit, behind Ford Motors in Campbellfield Melways. C/D and novice are at 2.00pm, A/B at 2.45pm

More details at this link

13:37 CST 94km/58km to go
The break, and then the peloton at 3'30, pass through the feedzone in Gumeracha at a fairly relaxed pace (for a change).

13:47 CST 101km/51km to go
As they pass the 100 km mark, the six breakaways have ridden out to a 4'30 lead over the Liberty-controlled peloton. None of the riders in front made the big break yesterday, so there is no point in chasing them for the purposes of GC. Any sprinters teams that missed the boat (or indeed Quick.Step) should start chasing now if they want to bring them back.

Riders in the break: Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto), Sebastien Joly (Credit Agricole), Matthew White (Cofidis), Frederic Finot (FDJeux.com), Fortunato Baliani (Ceramiche Panaria Navigare) and Nicolas Portal (Ag2r Prevoyance).

13:52 CST 105km/47km to go
The pace in the peloton is around 35 km/h now as it heads south back towards Hahndorf. It is into a headwind, but it's not quick enough to catch the break.

13:55 CST
Robert Mclachlan (United Water) had a bit to say when we spoke to him this morning.

I guess with two teams of four riders in the break yesterday, United Water were somewhat outnumbered? "Yeah, we were outnumbered, but we were probably outpowered as well. I tried to go with [Van Summeren and Sanchez] when they went in the last 20 [kilometres], but Allan Davis was straight on my wheel, so I backed it off again. Eventually, we got it [the chase] working, and had one of our boys on the front. I did a couple of turns - it was hard, though."

So the cross-headwind sorted out the men from the boys? "It did, but not too much - it mostly stayed together - but it was just a hard day, because you were always fighting with the wind. No-one fully put it in the gutter, which could have easily have happened."

So what about the team plan today? "We're in a pretty comfortable position, because we don't have any pressure on us to control the race - Liberty and Lotto do - but I think there's a very good chance a break will go with riders who are half and hour down.

"It's probably in Liberty's interest for a break to go up the road, take time bonuses, maybe even win a stage, because if they're half an hour down, it doesn't matter in the overall tour. It will take the pressure off them, so I think there's a good chance of that."

Do you see an offensive ride from some of the other teams, with riders such as Simon Gerrans from Ag2R? "I don't if he's quite got the legs at the moment - I certainly think the Lotto guys, because they're only two seconds down, and the guy who's sitting in second place [Van Summeren], I just can't see him sitting back and not having a go to try and win the tour.

"But it won't happen till the latter stages, it won't happen until Checkers Hill - a break may go [before], but it won't be let go unless it's got riders who are half an hour down after yesterday. If it's got a rider in the first 25 from yesterday, the teams will get on the front and chase it."

So you rate Van Summeren as a dangerous rider? "Oh yeah, he looks strong all the time. He was chasing things all the time, and he still had the legs yesterday to go with one of the final attacks."

14:03 CST 114km/38km to go
The six leaders are rolling along nicely together, 5 km from the second sprint at Woodside. The disinterested peloton is well out of the running for the stage now, more than six minutes behind with Liberty on the front.

14:08 CST 117km/35km to go
As the leaders approach the second sprint, there is a bit of tension in the peloton, which is 5'35. Maybe we might see a counter attack. It's likely that Liberty will keep a tight rein on things.

14:14 CST 121km/31km to go
Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) has no trouble winning the second sprint in Woodside, and he should take over the sprinter's jersey at the end of the day. Matthew White (Cofidis) was second, ahead of Fortunato Baliani (Ceramiche Panaria Navigare).

14:21 CST 123km/29km to go
The gap has come down a little to 4'40 after the sprint, but the leaders should still have enough in hand to stay away. They'll have to keep working for it, which will help McEwen - he wants it to stay together so he can win the sprint. But the others will attack him of course.

14:30 CST 129km/23km to go
The finale of this stage should be interesting, as the six leaders battle a bit of a headwind back into Hahndorf. McEwen is still the favourite, as he has been riding so strongly of late, but he doesn't have any teammates to chase down attacks. Of the others, Matt White is certainly riding very strongly, while Joly, Finot, Baliani and Portal are not to be underestimated.

14:32 CST 135km/17km to go
The leaders have gone through Hahndorf for the second time with a 3'40 advance over the peloton. They just have to complete one more 20 km lap before they finish. 3'40 should be enough...

14:36 CST 138km/14km to go
Navigators have now taken over the pace setting in the peloton, working for sprinters Hilton Clarke and Kirk O'Bee. But they've left it a tad late.

The finishing straight in Hahndorf
Photo ©: Anthony Tan/CN
Click for larger image

14:45 CST 142km/10km to go
The Navigators have given up the chase, much to the relief of those in front, and the time gap has billowed out to 3'40 again. The winner will surely come from one of the front six now.

14:52 CST 146km/6km to go
The others in the break are going to be watching Robbie carefully from now on, seeking an opportunity to attack.

14:53 CST
The break has over 4 minutes now as Matt White attacks!!

14:57 CST 151km/1km to go
Frederic Finot and Fortunato Baliani try to follow White, but the Cofidis rider is away. He could be en route to a big stage win here!

14:58 CST
In the peloton, Gene Bates (Uni SA) attacks to try and gain some seconds. That causes a large degree of panic and it's all strung out.

15:08 CST 152km/0km to go
And it's Matt White (Cofidis) who crosses the line to win the fourth stage of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under. A great ride by the hard working Sydneysider, who is probably owed a victory or three by now!!

McEwen wins the sprint for second ahead of Joly, Finot, Baliani and Portal, while Mark Renshaw wins the bunch sprint for seventh at 3'45 back.

"I'm very happy since this is my first big win for myself since '99," White told Cyclingnews after the stage.

15:27 CST
Luis Sanchez keeps the yellow jersey by two seconds over Johan Van Summeren, while Grillo managed to edge 3 seconds closer to the lead in 3rd at 12 seconds. Stuart O'Grady also picked up 2 seconds, but he's still at 18 seconds down in fifth place. The points jersey goes to McEwen, while Bates has the mountains jersey, Joly the most aggressive, and Sanchez the U23.

Well, that wraps it up from the live crew today. Be sure to check in later on for the full results, reports and photos from stage 4.

Results

Unofficial
1 Matthew White (Aus) Cofidis - Le Credit Par Telephone   3.35.00
2 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon - Lotto                      0.02
3 Sebastien Joly (Fra) Crédit Agricole                           
4 Frederic Finot (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux                        
5 Fortunato Baliani (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria - Navigare       0.06
6 Nicolas Portal (Fra) Ag2R - Prevoyance                     0.10
7 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Francaise Des Jeux                      3.45
8 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Cofidis - Le Credit Par Telephone        
9 David McPartland (Aus) United Water                             
10 David Loosli (Swi) Lampre - Caffita                            
11 Jan Kuyckx (Bel) Davitamon - Lotto                             
12 Allan Davis (Aus) Liberty Seguros Team                         
13 Giosuè Bonomi (Ita) Lampre - Caffita                           
14 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis - Le Credit Par Telephone         
15 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Liberty Seguros Team               

General classification after stage 4

1 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Liberty Seguros Team          
2 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Davitamon - Lotto                 0.02
3 Paride Grillo (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria - Navigare           0.12
4 Allan Davis (Aus) Liberty Seguros Team                     0.13
5 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis - Le Credit Par Telephone     0.18
6 Gene Bates (Aus) Uni SA                                    0.20
7 Robert McLachlan (Aus) United Water                        0.22
8 Javier Ramirez Abeja (Spa) Liberty Seguros Team                
9 Aaron Kemps (Aus) Liberty Seguros Team                     0.24
10 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Francaise Des Jeux 

Points classification

1 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon - Lotto

Mountains classification

1 Gene Bates (Aus) Uni SA

Most aggressive rider

1 Sebastien Joly (Fra) Crédit Agricole

U23 classification

1 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Liberty Seguros Team
 

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