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

Australia, January 18-23, 2005

Map     Stage profile    Start List   Results

Stage 6 - January 23: Adelaide City Council Circuit, 81 km

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

Complete live report

Live coverage starts: 12.30 ACDT
Estimated finish time: 14.30 ACDT

12:29 CST   
Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the final stage of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, an 81 kilometre circuit race in the heart of Adelaide.

Stage 6 concludes true to tradition in the streets of Adelaide around the Adelaide Oval and River Torrens circuit. The 81km finale moves like lightning 20 times around and up Montefiore Hill with KOM points up for grabs on laps 10 and 15.

The sprint competition concludes with points available on laps 8 and 12 at the start/finish line, and, of course, the final crossing. Expect plenty of hustle and bustle on today's stage, with Liberty Seguros trying to control the race and other riders trying their luck on the last day for stab at a stage win.

The way things stand, overnight leader Luis Sanchez (Liberty Seguros) should take overall race honours, provided the stage comes down to a mass sprint and the Spaniard crosses the line the same time as the bunch. Sanchez's team-mate Allan Davis is also more than likely to hold onto his second place on GC, as Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis) would need to win all three sprints (including the final) with Davis not placing in any to equal Alby's overall time, which would then be decided on a countback.

Third place overall is not so clear-cut: the next four riders - O'Grady, Johan Van Summeren (Davitamon - Lotto), Javier Ramirez Abeja (Liberty Seguros) and David McPartland (United Water) - are all placed within six seconds of each other, so it's anyone's guess who will claim the final podium place, although O'Grady's speed should see him through, as he's done in the past.

In the points classification, Robbie McEwen (Davitamon - Lotto) has a virtually unassailable lead on 40 points, 12 points clear of Alby Davis and 14 clear of Paride Grillo (Ceramiche Panaria - Navigare). But as they say, in bike racing anything can happen. The winner/s of the two intermediate sprints will take 6 points (4 and 2 points for second and third respectively), while the stage winner will take 8 points (with 6/4 points for second/third).

The mountains classification is interesting; two riders - Gene Bates (Uni SA) and David O'Loughlin (Navigators) - are on equal (20) points, while the next three riders - Fortunato Baliani (Ceramiche Panaria - Navigare), Alberto Contador Velasco (Liberty Seguros) and Mickael Delage (Francaise Des Jeux) - are all four points behind on 16 points apiece. With 16, 12 and 8 points for first, second and third respectively, this competition is wide open.

The final two classifications are all but decided, with race leader Sanchez two-plus minutes clear of Aaron Kemps and half an hour ahead of Mickael Delage in the U23 classification, and after yesterday's stage, Liberty are 1'09 clear of Crédit Agricole and 3'06 ahead United Water in the teams comp.

12:42 CST   
And they're off!

It's a typically fast start, with Jan Kuyckx (Davitamon-Lotto) taking a flyer on the first lap, and now has a 30 seconds advantage.

12:45 CST    4.5km/76.5km to go
Riders from Quick.Step and United Water are attacking constantly, with Liberty Seguros controlling the peloton, naturally. The first 4.5km lap was completed at a brisk pace of 5'49.

12:46 CST   
It's now Jan Kuyckx (Davitamon-Lotto), Corey Sweet (Uni SA) off the front. Needless to say, the peloton is screaming along at 50km/h+. Yeah baby!

12:50 CST    9km/72km to go
Young Jonathon Clarke (United Water) is attempting to bridge the gap to Kuyckx and Sweet... and it looks like he's done it! It's now Jurgen Van Goolen (Quick.Step), Jan Kuyckx (Davitamon-Lotto), Jonathon Clarke (United Water), and Corey Sweet (Uni SA) out in front, with a 5'50 for lap 2.

12:53 CST   
Jans Koerts (Cofidis), withdraws, Partrice Halgand (Credit Agricole), attacks, with the peloton breathing down the quartet's necks, 20 seconds behind.

12:56 CST    13.5km/67.5km to go
Partrice Halgand (Credit Agricole) is caught, but the four riders continue to hold their advantage, albeit precariously, 24 seconds in front of ze peloton. That third lap was just a tad slower, completed in 5'54. These guys are motoring!

12:59 CST   
The gap's now at 34 seconds. Liberty Seguros have been policing the front right from the get-go, protecting the yellow jersey of Luis Sanchez. Brownie's (Graeme Brown, Panaria) is seeing the race doc again.

Despite his big effort yesterday, where Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis) battled all the way against the might of the Spanish armada from Liberty-Seguros, the South Australian local told Cyclingnews he was "definitely up for it today, I haven't won on this course before".

Stage 6 is a sprinter's course with a slight uphill finish. "I think there's going to be quite a few teams who will be interested in the win and Allan Davis (Liberty-Seguros) will be fast".

The holder of the JCTDU's sprinter's jersey, Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) reckons, the "race will be as a aggressive as hell out there today" with lots of attacks likely, especially in the second half of the race. Nonetheless, he expects it will come down to a sprint and he also backs himself for the win. "I've won here twice before," he added.

Another Australian sprinter who's likely to be active at the front is Hilton Clarke, riding in his first season for the USA's Navigators Insurance squad. He said the team's primary goal is to help Irishman, David McLaughlin, secure the KOM jersey, as he is tied on points with Gene Bates from the UniSA team.

"We'll go for that because the 'climb' is more like a sprint," he said of the two intermediate KOMs at the top of Montefiore Hill that come during the stage. "After that I will try to get into a break."

Jan Kirsipuu from Credit Agricole has been quiet all week due to what he believes may have been over-training in the week prior to the JCTDU. "But this kind of uphill sprint suits me, but I need the legs and I may not have it today."

13:03 CST    18km/63km to go
Lazlo Bodrogi (Credit Agricole) jumps out of the peloton. The riders in the break - Jurgen Van Goolen (Quick.Step), Jan Kuyckx (Davitamon-Lotto), Jonathon Clarke (United Water), and Corey Sweet (Uni SA) - are working really well, slowly but surely building their lead, now at 42 seconds. But it's a long way to go, riding at this speed for another 60k.

13:04 CST   
Lazlo Bodrogi (Credit Agricole) gets caught on the fourth ascension of
Montefiore Hill. Time gap: 37 seconds.

13:09 CST   
The breakaway is continuing to work well together, but US-registered team Navigators has gone to the front; they haven't had a great TDU, so they'll be in the hunt for some glory today.

13:12 CST   
Belated weather report from the Bureau of Meteorology:

Fine. A warm and sunny afternoon and a mild clear evening. Light to moderate southeast winds, becoming fresh and gusty about the hills and southern suburbs this evening. Moderate to fresh afternoon and early evening sea breezes.

13:16 CST    27km/54km to go
With 12 laps to go, it's all over, red rover/ echappe terminee/ peloton regroupe/ gruppo compatto. Yes, they're riding as one.

13:21 CST   
Liberty's on the front once again. 1km to the first sprint prime.

Possible winners: if it comes down to a bunch kick, it's more than likely Liberty Seguros will set their Blue Train up for Bundaberg's Allan Davis, who proved last year he can match it with the best sprinters in the world; there's also Graeme Brown, who's yet to show his best sprinting form, and hometown hero Stuey O'Grady, who will most certainly be looking for a stage win before returning to France.

13:27 CST   
Result of the first sprint: Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto), Aaron Kemps (Liberty Seguros), and Javier Ramirez (Liberty Seguros). No way in hell Robbie's gonna lose the sprint classification now, with 46 points (Davis is on 28).

More attacks - this time by Ag2R.

13:30 CST   
That attack was from 2003 winner, Mikel Astarloza. Adelaide boy Russell Van Hout (Uni SA) joins him. Go Russ, go!

Another tidbit about the sprint: riders will face a headwind coming down King William Road.

13:31 CST   
1k to the first KOM. Phillip Zajicek (Navigators Insurance) joins the pair up front, with a yet-unnamed Panaria rider.

13:34 CST   
Looks like Uni SA's highest-placed rider on the overall classification, Mean Gene Bates got the KOM. Actually, he's not very mean at all. Just waiting for confirmation...

13:38 CST   
Result from the first KOM: Gene Bates (Uni SA), Sergio Paulinho (Liberty Seguros), David O'Loughlin (Navigators Insurance), Alberto Contador (Liberty Seguros), and Nicolas Portal (Ag2r Prevoyance).

An attack by David Betts (United Water) and Steve Cunningham (Uni SA) followed shortly thereafter. Go Aussies!

13:39 CST   
David Betts (United Water) and Steve Cunningham (Uni SA) soon establish a 25 second advantage over the bunch.

Battling through an estimated crowd in downtown Adelaide, Cyclingnews' Jeff Jones managed to speak to dual Olympic gold medallist Graeme Brown from Panaria. But rather than 'Brownie' being the sprinter this week, it's been his team-mate Paride Grillo who's been in the thick of the action.

"We're both capable of having a good chance at the win," he said. "It gets a bit chaotic at the end and if we're together then we'll figure out who's got the best legs and go from there.

"I'm definitely geed for the win myself and if Grillo is a little bit off, then he'll help me out."

Asked about his relatively quiet ride in this year's JCTDU, Brownie replied with a grin, "I've just been saving myself, actually".

"But, I've won here before and I'd like to win again. A win here is a big win, but Robbie (McEwen) has awesome form right now and there's a lot of other good riders here as well. I'm going to give it my best shot and if it works out - fine - but if not, then it's back to the drawing board in Malaysia.

"This will be a really good stepping stone for Malaysia (Tour de Langkawi). My form hasn't been 100 percent coming into this race, but I think it's a lot better now than at the start of the week."

13:41 CST   
The hot favourite for today's stage is Allan Davis, the Queenslander who's leading Liberty-Seguros in the JCTDU. Each day, he just seems to get better at his job. "The boys would like to see an Aussie win the stage and if I can do it, that would be a bonus."

"We're pretty geed for that to happen so I'll see what I can do." Davis is not the only Australian in the team which is dominated by young Spanish climbers; there's also Aaron Kemps, a promising young rider who also hails from Bundaberg, the same Queensland town as the Davis brothers.

The current holder of the KOM jersey is Gene Bates of the UniSA squad, who's tied on points with the Navigators' Irish rider, David O'Loughlin. "I'm not nervous at all," he said. "I'm very confident I will win it (KOM jersey) and I'm going out there to be as aggressive as possible."

"I'll take the KOM jersey," he said, without a hint of hesitation, "and then I'll have a go at the stage after that."

The young Australian rider was particularly active during yesterday's crucial stage. "I put it all on the line because I knew it would take a bold move to win the race overall. It was win or nothing and unfortunately, it didn't pay off but that's the bike race for you.

"I'll be back next year to win it," he said with confidence.

13:43 CST    49.5km/31.5km to go
7 laps to go, 4km to the second sprint along King William Road, 32 seconds to the break of David Betts (United Water) and Steve Cunningham (Uni SA).

13:46 CST   
Uh oh. Alby Davis gets a flat, but his team-mate and Bundy companion Aaron Kemps is there to help him. Awww. Sergio Paulinho waits too. Double awww. They're slowly making their way back through the race convoy.

13:50 CST   
Oh noooo! Steve Cunningham (Uni SA) punctures. David Betts won't be able to do this on his own. That sucks. Graeme Brown is hanging off the back - and I mean the very, very back. C'mon Brownie, gidupthere, my son!

13:54 CST   
Result of the second sprint: David Betts (United Water), Steve Cunningham (Uni SA), and Ciaran Power (Navigators Insurance). Betts is now alone, 43 seconds in front of the peloton, while Richie (umm, I mean Steve) Cunningham is the piggy in the middle, 20 seconds in front.

13:57 CST    58.5km/22.5km to go
With 5 laps to go, it's no surprise to see Steve Cunningham caught. Davitamon-Lotto on the front, putting in a bit of Belgian-Aussie muscle. No doubt wanting to keep it together for Robbie McEwen, who's been on a bit of a roll of late, you could say.

14:01 CST   
Staf Scheirlinckx (Cofidis) punctures. Betts still has 35 seconds. If only Steve Cunningham didn't puncture...

OK, time to place your bets again. I'm reckon Robbie will get it, followed by Alby D, then Stuey.

Navigators on the front now.

14:04 CST   
All together at the Montefiore Hill KOM. Looks like Gene Bates got it again - he's our 2005 JCTDU mountains classification winner, anyway.

14:08 CST   
Result from the second KOM: Gene Bates (Uni SA), David O'Loughlin (Navigators Insurance), Fortunato Baliani (Ceramiche Panaria Navigare), Jan Kuyckx (Davitamon-Lotto), and Mickael Delage (FDJeux.com). So Gene gets the mountains jersey, followed by O'Loughlin, followed by Baliani.

14:11 CST    72km/9km to go
Good boy Brownie - he's moving up to the front. His buddy Brett Lancaster will give him a lead-out if he's got enough gas left in the tank.

David Betts (United Water) gets the most aggressive rider award for today's stage. Cofidis are putting a few guys up there with 2 laps to go.

14:14 CST    74km/7km to go
Davitamon-Lotto at the front, 7k from the finish. Oh boy, this is exciting!

14:16 CST    76.5km/4.5km to go
1 lap to go, FdJ goes to the front, trying to set it up for Baden Cooke.

14:19 CST    78km/3km to go
With three kilometres to go, the peloton make their last ascension of Montefiore climb. It's all set for a bunch gallop.

14:20 CST    80km/1km to go
All together with 1k to go...

14:22 CST    81km/0km to go
... and Robbie McEwen wins again! Drinks on me!!

14:31 CST   
We're still trying to confirm second and third place, but what we do know is this: Luis Sanchez (Liberty Seguros) has won the overall classification of the 2005 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, as well as the U23 classification, Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) the sprints classification, Gene Bates (Uni SA) mountains, and Liberty Seguros will take the team victory.

Thanks for tuning into our live coverage of the JCTDU this week. It's been a pleasure having you on board, and don't forget to check your seat pockets before you leave. We hope you enjoy your stay, wherever you are.

Results

1 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon - Lotto
2 Paride Grillo (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria - Navigare
3 Allan Davis (Aus) Liberty Seguros Team
4 Ruben Bongiorno (Arg) Ceramiche Panaria - Navigare
 
Final classification
 
1 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Liberty Seguros Team
2 Allan Davis (Aus) Liberty Seguros Team
3 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis - Le Credit Par Telephone
4 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Davitamon - Lotto
5 Javier Ramirez Abeja (Spa) Liberty Seguros Team
6 David McPartland (Aus) United Water
7 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Ag2R - Prevoyance
8 Paride Grillo (Ita) Ceramiche Panaria - Navigare
9 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Francaise Des Jeux
10 Robert McLachlan (Aus) United Water
 
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 David Betts (United Water)

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