Jacobs Creek Tour Down Under
Competitive Cyclist
Zero Gravity
Bendigo Madison

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

Australia, January 18-23, 2005

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Stage 5 - January 22: Willunga to Willunga, 147 km

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

Complete live report

Start time: 11.03 ACDT
Estimated finish: 14.44 ACDT

10:35 CST

The start in Willunga
Photo ©: Anthony Tan/CN

Welcome back to our live coverage of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under for the fifth and what is usually the decisive stage from Willunga to Willunga. Located in the wine growing district of McLaren Vale on the Fleurieu Peninsula, Willunga is always one of the most colourful towns of the JCTDU, and is a multiple winner of the highly-prized Best Dressed Town award. In fact, all the towns in today's stage try their best to outdo each other in the roadside decoration stakes, with some...interesting results.

The stage measures 147 km, taking in 3 x 40 km circuits around Willunga, Aldinga Beach and McLaren Vale, with a steady climb up to Willunga at the end of each lap. On the fourth time that the riders pass through Willunga, they will head up Old Willunga Hill, a 3 km climb that averages 7.6 percent. This is traditionally where the race breaks open with only 20 km of descent/flat remaining in the stage. Anyone who is a chance at taking the leader's jersey away from Luis Sanchez will certainly have a go here.

The sprints today are at Aldinga Beach (km 58.8 and km 100.7) on laps 2 and 3, while the Willunga climb is at km 127.4. The weather looks to be fine and sunny, with a forecast maximum in the mid-to-upper 20's.

10:59 CST
The riders are all set for the fifth stage, lined up in Willunga's Main Road. They have just 2 km of neutral to ride before the flag drops on the outskirts of town. You can bet that it will be on from the gun today.

11:02 CST - 0 km
And they're off and racing in stage 5 of the JCTDU!

Kirk O'Bee (Navigators) didn't start today, reason unsure.

11:09 CST 3km/144km to go
The pace is high already as they head downhill along Aldinga Road - 55-60 km/h.

11:10 CST    5km/142km to go
The first attack comes from Dimitri De Fauw and Kevin De Weert, Jimmy Engoulvent (Cofidis), Siro Camponogara (Navigators Insurance), Cyril Lemoine (Credit Agricole), David Betts (United Water) and James Hannam (Uni SA). They have 20 seconds. Looks like Quick.Step wants to be involved today.

11:16 CST 10km/137km to go
It comes back together, but there is a new attack from Nicolas Portal (Ag2r Prevoyance) and Jimmy Engoulvent (Cofidis).

11:16 CST
The word of the day is "undercurrent".

11:19 CST 12km/135km to go
Portal and Engoulvent are caught and Ciaran Power (Navigators Insurance) launches the next attack. He is also caught. This has been a very aggressive start, as predicted.

The riders are now racing along the beachfront at Aldinga, helped by a tailwind. Huge crowds are out today to watch this stage.

11:27 CST 16km/131km to go
It's fast going along the beach, but no-one has managed to get away. It took about 70 km yesterday before the break went.

We spoke to race leader Luis Sanchez (Liberty), who looked quite confident this morning in Willunga. "The team is not too tired from yesterday and I feel very good too," he said. "I didn't have any problems responding to the attacks made by Stuart yesterday and this is the most important stage. It's on a terrain that should suit me fine."

11:29 CST 20km/127km to go
They're still doing 55 km/h, and it's not downhill. A tailwind is helping, however. Sebastian Rosseler (Quick.Step) and Chris Sutton (United Water) attack. Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) joins them as they exit the beach. Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r Prevoyance) is chasing too. They have 10 seconds.

11:34 CST 22km/125km to go
The three leaders have 28 seconds, the biggest break so far. Dumoulin stops chasing, leaving McEwen, Sutton and Rosseler out there.

The yellow jersey calls for a group pitstop, which means this break will stay clear for a while. There are no GC threats in it.

11:39 CST 26km/121km to go
Sanchez and co. are back in the peloton after their nature break. The gap to the three leaders is 40 seconds. They're still not in the clear yet.

11:48 CST
Laszlo Bodrogi (Credit Agricole) has been finding the JCTDU pretty tough so far. "The pace is much too high for me," he told us at the start. "I'm just using it as a preparation race for the coming season. I will finish in the autobus today. The strong rider in our team today could be Patrice Halgand and I have high hopes for Kirsipuu tomorrow."

11:52 CST 34km/113km to go
Panaria, Liberty and Cofidis have moved up to the front of the peloton to control things. McEwen, Sutton and Rosseler are still off the front, but only by 25 seconds.

12:00 CST 41km/106km to go
The riders have completed the first of their three laps, and pass through Willunga cheered on by an estimated crowd.

12:06 CST

Sara Carrigan stops for a chat after finishing third
Photo ©: Anthony Tan/CN

An update from the women's race held in Aldinga, which has just finished a few minutes ago. Natalie Bates (NSW) won in a solo attack after going away with about 20 minutes to go. Jenny Macpherson won the sprint for second ahead of Sara Carrigan. We're not sure yet, but Rochelle Gilmore might have retained the overall leader's jersey.

Unofficial results: 1 Natalie Bates (NSW), 2 Jenny Macpherson (Vic) at 0'03, 3 Sara Carrigan (Qld), 4 Alex Rhodes (SA), 5 Rochelle Gilmore (NSW), 6 Katherine Bates.

12:07 CST 46km/101km to go
McEwen has dropped out of the break, leaving Sutton and Rosseler still dangling out there.

12:12 CST 48km/99km to go
As the riders get to within 10 km of the first intermediate sprint, the break is caught. Gruppo compatto, peloton groupé etc.

12:14 CST
Anthony Tan had another chat with Rob McLachlan before the start today. Rob told us almost exactly what happened before the stage actually got under way yesterday.

Did it suit you and your team? "Yeah, but a lot of riders who were in the first 26 the day before went on the attack yesterday and kept the pressure on, so that made the speed really high...for a long time, until one break went with nobody dangerous in it - and then it just stopped.

"I think there's a good chance something will happen today. They might let five blokes go who lost half an hour the other day, it won't matter, and when it hits the climb, it's going to be on fire... yeeeahh..."

You've now had quite a few days to test you form and recovery, so how do you think you'll go on Old Willunga Hill? "I've survived all the other climbs so far, but this is going to be different. There's only 15, 20 kilometres to go from the top, so it's probably going to be raced more aggressively than usual.

"I'm not a climber - I'm the first to admit it - and guys of this standard, it's a different story. I'll just do my best, and go as hard as I can - it's going to be like a 25 kilometre time trial, so if I can stay in the top 10 on GC, I'll be a happy man.

"Dave's [McPartland] probably our best climber at the moment, so we're hoping he'll make front group, and get possibly get a really good overall finish. There's also Ashley Humbert - he's climbing well, he's still right up there, and he's only a couple of seconds behind me - so I'm probably the unknown, I would say, even though I'm leading on GC. The three guys who lost half an hour the other day will work for us.

12:18 CST 53km/94km to go
We're now 5 km from the sprint, and the peloton is intact. This will be a hotly contested sprint, with 3, 2 and 1 bonus seconds on offer.

12:24 CST 58km/89km to go
They're winding up for the sprint now - it should be a fast one as there's a tailwind along the coast. Can Grillo score some more points or will Davis and O'Grady claw some time back?

12:27 CST 62km/85km to go
Robbie McEwen wins the first sprint ahead of Alby Davis and Paride Grillo. McEwen was not too happy with Grillo as he crossed the line, despite winning it fairly comfortably.

Right after the sprint, Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto) attacks, and is joined by Ciaran Power (Navigators Insurance).

Jenny Macpherson has been confirmed as the overall winner of The Advertiser women's criterium series.

12:36 CST 69km/78km to go
Evans and Power are joined by Michael Rogers (Quick.Step), Janek Tombak (Cofidis)
Cyrille Monnerais (FDJeux.com), and Nicolas Portal (Ag2r Prevoyance). But it comes together again as Arnaud Coyot (Cofidis), Evans (again), David McKenzie (United Water) and Partrice Halgand (Credit Agricole) counter attack.

12:37 CST
Liberty Seguros is working now to close down the break. We now have Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto), Partrice Halgand (Credit Agricole), David McKenzie (United Water) and Ian McLeod (FDJeux.com) in the lead.

12:41 CST 71km/76km to go
Jans Koerts (Cofidis), Javier Ramirez (Liberty Seguros) and Nicolas Portal (Ag2r Prevoyance) join the quartet in front.

12:44 CST 74km/73km to go
The presence of Javier Ramirez (Liberty) in the break dooms it, and it's all back together now.

Matt White (Cofidis)
Photo ©: Anthony Tan/CN

12:50 CST 78km/69km to go
The next attack comes from Kevin De Weert (Quick.Step), yesterday's winner Matthew White (Cofidis), Mario Aerts (Davitamon-Lotto), David Betts (United Water) and Javier Ramirez (again). Ramirez is only 22 seconds down on GC, so he will be chased. Not by Liberty Seguros of course! That's the advantage when you have four riders in the top 11.

12:52 CST 80km/67km to go
All but David Betts (United Water) are caught.

12:55 CST 82km/65km to go
As they hit the feed zone at the end of the second lap, O'Grady puts the hammer down and some 20 riders split off the front. But they are chased down.

"I did what I could yesterday," O'Grady told Gabbi Ekström this morning. "You gotta get up there and try. Today I can't get out there and kill myself in a solo effort, but if I could get some time back at the end, that would be good."

On Liberty Seguros: "Yeah they should be tired for sure. They've had the jersey for a few stages and they've been working hard."

13:01 CST

Hendrik Redant (Davitamon-Lotto)
Photo ©: Anthony Tan/CN

Anthony Tan spoke at length to Lotto manager Hendrik Redant this morning to ask about the team's tactics for today. You have Van Summeren two seconds behind and Kuyckx another 36 seconds behind, so is the only option to attack to get back those seconds?

"I think today is a real possibility to do that," he said. "Van Summeren is really good uphill also, so it's going to be a tough ride, but with a possibility to attack. Those guys [Liberty Seguros] are strong and are also strong as a team, so it's not going be easy, and I reckon it will still come down to bonification sprints.

"In those sprints, Stuart O'Grady and Allan Davis will grab some seconds. I'm sure my guy wants [to win] on the climb, the only problem is that there's still 16 or 17 kilometres left [to the finish], so that's something not in our advantage.

Do you sense any tiredness in Liberty Seguros? You could say that's one of the disadvantages of having the leader's jersey early on. "It is. But this is a team that does that a lot, and specialises in this type of racing. Yesterday, you saw they had really good condition when the 17 guys rode away - they just closed the gap.

"It will all come down to that last climb, Old Willunga Hill, if Sanchez can keep up with the best - I reckon he can. It's up to the other guys who want to attack to try and disorientate the Liberty Seguros team.

Even though Van Summeren is young, he has shown maturity beyond his years, like in Verona last year. Does he have the ability to take out this tour? "He could - the only disadvantage he has is in the sprint. He doesn't have the [sprinting] ability of an Allan Davis or Stuart O'Grady - or even Luis Sanchez, because he got beaten. To get away alone is going to be very difficult. It's not going to be easy, but we're going to try - we have already seen he's in great condition at the December training camp and the last seven or eight days before the race - and he's young, he's got great morale... we will try."

What is a good scenario for Davitamon Lotto today? Will it suit your team to see an early break go before Old Willunga Hill, so the race is a little more controlled? "Umm, they [Liberty] will control it anyway - they're used to riding like that, they always ride in Spain like that, controlling the whole day - so I reckon it won't make a big difference.

"I just saw yesterday it took about two and a half hours before a break got away with nobody dangerous in the overall classification. It will be nice and I'd like to have somebody in there - Mario Aerts or Cadel Evans, who can also make it over the climb - so if we have a break like that, I'd like those two to win, because I know it's quasi-impossible for a break with Johan... they won't let that ride [away].

"What is also best is that I know Robbie can make this climb - he already won this stage and has come second - so once we start the climb, we should also be in a good position, try to get up there with the best, and maybe go for another win."

13:06 CST 89km/58km to go
As we start the third 40 km lap, Stuart O’Grady (Cofidis), Wim Vansevenant (Davitamon-Lotto), Laszlo Bodrogi (Credit Agricole), Gilberto Simoni (Lampre-Caffita), Allan Davis and Aaron Kemps (Liberty Seguros), Mickael Delage and Frederic Finot (FDJeux.com), Mikel Astarloza and Erki Putsep (Ag2r Prevoyance), Hilton Clarke and David O'Loughlin (Navigators Insurance), Ashley Humbert and David Betts (United Water) and Gene Bates (Uni SA) form a dangerous looking breakaway.

Panaria and Davitamon are chasing hard to close it down.

13:09 CST 91km/56km to go
It comes back together, after a few moments for riders like Grillo (Panaria) and Van Summeren (Davitamon-Lotto), who missed the move. 20 riders have been dropped by the peloton, however.

We have another 10 km before the second sprint at Aldinga Beach.

13:11 CST 92km/55km to go
The attacks continue...McEwen goes again! He is joined by Hilton Clarke (Navigators)

13:13 CST 97km/50km to go
Clarke is now alone with 5 km to go until the sprint.

13:18 CST 100km/47km to go
McEwen changes his mind and rejoins Hilton Clarke out in front. 2 km to the second sprint.

13:22 CST 102km/45km to go

Aldinga Beach
Photo ©: Anthony Tan/CN

Robbie McEwen wins the second sprint at Snapper Point ahead of Hilton Clarke. That likely gives him an unbeatable lead in the sprints classification. Paride Grillo took third, and another bonus second. He's within 10 seconds of Sanchez' lead.

13:25 CST 104km/43km to go
A chase group has now formed 30 seconds behind the two leaders: Johan Vansummeren (Davitamon-Lotto), Laszlo Bodrogi (Credit Agricole), Allan Davis and Luis Leon Sanchez (Liberty Seguros), Graeme Brown and Paride Grillo (Ceramiche Panaria Navigare), Gene Bates and Adrian Laidler (Uni SA) are all there. Not a bad group at all! The peloton is back another 30 seconds.

13:27 CST
We spoke to Mark Renshaw (FDJeux.com) this morning. Renshaw is sitting in 9th at 24 seconds on GC.

How are you feeling - a little nervous? "Nah, I'm looking forward to it - it's going to be fun. I'm going to hide as much as I can on the first three laps of the circuit and be as well placed as I can on the climb. I'm confident I can go over the top [of Willunga Hill] with the front guys; if I can't, I can still get them over the top where it plateaus. But I'm hoping to hang on to the back of them and hang on to the front group."

Were you happy with how the race unfolded yesterday? "It was really aggressive at the start - I went for one of the time bonuses at the start, and just didn't get up there because it was incredibly fast. I didn't quite get there - it was only for three seconds - so I just hid for the rest of the day.

I tried to jump away with a k and a half to go over this little climb, and got away with Dumoulin from Ag2R, but he didn't want to work... that was unfortunate, but we could of grabbed a couple of seconds and stayed away. I ended up winning the bunch sprint, so I've moved up a place on the general classification."

You're 24 seconds behind. It's a fair bit in a race like this... "Oh, it is. I'm just counting on a couple of those guys in front of me getting popped over the climb today, and me just hanging on - maybe trying to grab a time bonus today and tomorrow. Best I can hope for is a top five on GC."

Are all the boys ready to work for you today? "Yeah, no problems - if I ask them to do anything, they should be able do it. We might throw a few of the guys in the early break, because that's usually the case here and it might hold off. It hasn't happened yet, but it might happen."

13:27 CST 106km/41km to go
The peloton is wound up to 65 km/h now, chasing the two groups in front.

13:29 CST
Brown has been dropped by the leading group, which has caught McEwen and Clarke.

Cofidis is leading the chase behind, as O'Grady has missed the cut.

13:31 CST 108km/39km to go
Allan Davis attacks the break! The peloton behind is splitting big time. There are four groups on the road now.

13:36 CST
Gabriella Ekström spoke to Credit Agricole's Brad Wiggins this morning. The Brit has been quiet so far, but he was one of the chosen 26 who made the big break on stage 3. "Well sure I have ambitions for the jersey but this climb today won't make it easy for me. I think we will just have to try to hang in there to get all our guys to the finish with the group. We're the leaders of the team competition and I wouldn't mind winning that. It's a good competition to win."

13:38 CST    114km/33km to go
O'Grady's men have closed the gap to the leaders, and O’Grady himself attacks now! He is joined by David Loosli (Lampre-Caffita), Javier Ramirez (Liberty Seguros), Rob Mclachlan (United Water) and Adrian Laidler (Uni SA). But it's unsuccessful.

13:40 CST 116km/31km to go
A new move goes with Michael Rogers (Quick.Step), Staf Scheirlinckx (Cofidis), Benoît Poilvet (Credit Agricole), Javier Ramirez (Liberty Seguros, again) and Chris Sutton (United Water). David Loosli (Lampre) is chasing.

13:43 CST 117km/30km to go
The leaders have 25 seconds now, as Loosli drops back.

13:47 CST
Anthony Tan spoke to Gene Bates (UniSA) - one of the top Aussie riders on GC at sixth overall.

"I'm really confident - there's no pressure. I'm going to give it my best no matter what, and that's pretty much it. I'm gonna give it everything and see how it turns out."

Was the team happy with the way the stage panned out yesterday, even though you didn't have a rider in the break? "Yeah, it would of have been nice to have someone up there, but I think the guys are a bit tired, because we're not a professional team. This week will take it's toll on the guys, and to have yesterday as a bit of a day off is probably a good thing for today."

How do you think you'll go on Willunga Hill? "It's a bit of a mystery. It's hard to tell, it's the first stage race of the season, so you don't know how you'll back up day after day. But I've been feeling good every day, and I don't think today will be any different."

What's a realistic goal for you in terms of general classification? "I think it's possible to run top four. I think Grillo and the Davitamon-Lotto guy will struggle to get over the hill with us; if everyone works together and it stays away until the finish, I think we'll be right."

13:50 CST 122km/25km to go
Cofidis and Davitamon are working to bring the break back (Cofidis doesn't have the right man in it). Davitamon might also be working for Cadel Evans, who has his family at the finish today.

The gap is down to 15 seconds to Rogers and co. The Quick.Step boys mustn't have applied too much hair gel today!

13:51 CST
It's all together again. Only 3 km before the climb of Willunga Hill starts. This will be fun.

13:52 CST 124km/23km to go
Jaan Kirsipuu is dropped as the peloton passes the finish line for the end of lap 3. This is not really his cup of tea.

13:55 CST 125km/22km to go
They're heading up the climb now - 3 km of 7.4% gradient, raced flat out. Sanchez is looking strong. We'll see if he can survive.

13:56 CST
Ramirez and Rogers have kept a little of their advantage on the climb, as the peloton breaks apart under pressure (not the Vanilla Ice kind).

13:59 CST 126km/21km to go
With 1km to go to the summit, there is a lead group of 20 riders. Sanchez is there, as are Ramirez and Rogers

14:00 CST 127km/20km to go
Sanchez decides to attack close to the top. That'll fool 'em. It's always a little demoralising when the race leader attacks.

14:02 CST
Sanchez and his Liberty teammate Alberto Contador have a small gap over seven riders near the top of Willunga Hill.

14:06 CST 129km/18km to go
The chase group behind the two leaders is: Stuart O’Grady (Cofidis), Johan Vansummeren and Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto), Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros), Javier Ramirez (Liberty Seguros), David McPartland (United Water) and Simon Gerrans (Ag2r Prevoyance). Another group with Michael Rogers (Quick.Step), Carlos Barredo (Liberty Seguros), Gene Bates and Russell Van Hout (Uni SA) are behind.

14:08 CST 132km/15km to go
They're on the descent of Willunga now, with around 15 km to go. This is a pretty bold move by Liberty, but attack is the best form of defense! There are five Liberty riders in the leading three groups.

14:11 CST 133km/14km to go
The two leaders, Sanchez and Contador, are working hard to hold off the chase group behind them, which has their teammates Davis and Ramirez in it. The gap is 30 seconds. It's another 30 seconds back to the third group, with Rogers and Bates in it.

14:16 CST 138km/9km to go
The second chase group is expanding, with Michael Rogers (Quick.Step) Matthew White (Cofidis) Benoît Poilvet (Credit Agricole) David Loosli (Lampre-Caffita) Carlos Barredo (Liberty Seguros) Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r Prevoyance) Gene Bates and Russell Van Hout (Uni SA) all in it. More are joining.

The two leaders have 20 seconds on chase group 1 (Van Summeren is in this, but Pozzato isn't) and 40 seconds on chase group 2.

14:18 CST 142km/5km to go
Sanchez and Contador have just 5 km to go before they pull off a bit of a coup by winning this stage. Great work from Liberty Seguros. Sanchez has surely got the overall GC in the bag now, as the gap is 27 seconds.

14:20 CST 144km/3km to go
The second chase group with Bates in it is growing all the time - it's about 25 strong now.

To recap: Sanchez and Contador (Liberty) lead a group with Stuart O’Grady (Cofidis), Johan Vansummeren and Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto), Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros), Javier Ramirez (Liberty Seguros), David McPartland (United Water) and Simon Gerrans (Ag2r Prevoyance) by 27 seconds. The second chase group with Bates, White and Rogers is at 0'40.

The roads are long and flat now on the way into Willunga.

14:22 CST 145km/2km to go
With 2 km to go, the two leaders have 30 seconds on the next group, and 1'10 over chase group 2. Nothing can stop them now. Well, almost nothing.

14:23 CST 146km/1km to go
O'Grady attacks the chase group with 1 km to go, but gets Davis on his wheel.

14:24 CST 147km/0km to go
And it's Alberto Contador who wins the stage from his teammate and yellow jersey wearer Luis Sanchez. Davis gets over O'Grady for third in the stage and some valuable seconds. Incredible, a Liberty Seguros 1-2-3!

14:52 CST
Well, as Neil Stephens predicted to us this morning, Luis Sanchez had no problems in keeping his yellow jersey today. In fact, he and his Liberty Seguros team showed just how strong they were as they claimed the top four places!

In the other classifications, McEwen has the sprints jersey, quite comfortably, while Gene Bates leads the mountains, Sanchez the U23, and Mick Rogers (Quick.Step) was the most aggressive rider today.

Please join us again tomorrow at 12:30 local time for the final stage of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under.


1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Liberty Seguros Team
2 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Liberty Seguros Team
3 Allan Davis (Aus) Liberty Seguros Team
4 Javier Ramirez Abeja (Spa) Liberty Seguros Team
5 David McPartland (Aus) United Water
6 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis - Le Credit Par Telephone
7 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Ag2R - Prevoyance
8 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon - Lotto
9 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Davitamon - Lotto
10 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Francaise Des Jeux
11 Robert McLachlan (Aus) United Water
12 Mario Aerts (Bel) Davitamon - Lotto
General classification after stage 5 
1 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Liberty Seguros Team      15.00.15
2 Allan Davis (Aus) Liberty Seguros Team                    0.35
3 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis - Le Credit Par Telephone    0.47
4 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Davitamon - Lotto                0.48
5 Javier Ramirez Abeja (Spa) Liberty Seguros Team           0.51
Sprints classification 
1 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon - Lotto
Mountains classification 
1 Gene Bates (Aus) Uni SA
U23 classification 
1 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Liberty Seguros Team
Most aggressive rider 
1 Michael Rogers (Aus) Quickstep

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