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8th Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under - 2.HC

Australia, January 17-22, 2006

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Stage 2 - Thursday, January 19: Stirling - Hahndorf, 146km

Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Les Clarke

Live report

Live coverage starts: 11:00 ACDT
Estimated finish: 14:30 ACDT

11:02 CST   
Welcome to the start of the second stage of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, brought to you courtesy of the Cyclingnews online blimp and its state of the art technology. Today's stage is similar in length to yesterday's - 146 kilometres - and with a similarly lumpy profile. The start is in the quaint Adelaide Hills town of Stirling, some 20 km from Adelaide's city centre. The stage then proceeds via Mylor and Echunga, before doing three laps of a 42 km circuit around Mt Barker, Woodside, and Hahndorf. The stage finishes in Hahndorf, which is one of the big German centres in South Australia, and very German it is indeed.

11:07 CST    2km/144km to go
The stage started at 11:02 after a short neutral section out of Stirling. It's already hot up here, with temps likely to hit the mid to high 30s today. There is no respite for the riders this week, as they will be racing in 35-40 degree conditions nearly every day. Unlike last year, when it was surprisingly cool.

There are two intermediate sprints on offer today, both at Woodside (km 51 and km 92.3). The only mountain sprint is at km 17 when the bunch climbs Church Hill road in Echunga. This is a steepish 1 kilometre climb that was used as part of the Australian Open Road Championships last year. But doing it once is somewhat easier than doing it 17 or 18 times.

11:09 CST   
Neither Sam Lee nor Richard Moffatt started today (the did not finish yesterday), so Will Walker's United Water team is down to six riders. One of those is injured (Mitch Docker) after he crashed yesterday.

11:14 CST   
Also racing today are the women in the second round of the Adelaide Advertiser Criterium Series, which is being held in Echunga. We'll update you with the brief results of that race as soon as we get them. Jenny MacPherson is looking particularly strong after her win in the opening round, but look out for Australian criterium champion and comeback kid of the year, Alexis Rhodes, as well as Australian road champion Kate Bates to challenge.

11:22 CST   
The first part of today's stage is downhill, so with plenty of teams looking to go on the offensive, it should be fairly quick. Two thirds of the peloton finished almost 24 minutes down yesterday, which according to my calculations is 11 percent slower than the winner's time. That's usually enough to be eliminated on time, but in the interests of keeping the race alive for the remaining four days, the commissaires might well have been generous enough to let the bunch continue today.

It happened in the Tour de France a few years ago, when a big chunk of the peloton finished about half an hour behind in a wet stage to Pontarlier (Dekker won that stage I think). According to the time cut-off, the bunch could have been eliminated. But there's always a "judges discretion" rule built in as a get out clause.

11:23 CST    14km/132km to go
We're approaching the first climb at Echunga, and Jose Rojas (Liberty) has attacked on his own, hoping to get the points. There's a massive crowd on Church Hill road waiting in antici...

11:29 CST    18km/128km to go

Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r - Prevoyance) wins the KOM and secures the mountains jersey again. Second was Gene Bates (Uni SA - Australia), ahead of Cadel Evans (Davitamon Lotto), Giovanni Visconti (Milram) and Paul Crake (Uni SA - Australia). A group of seven was away after the climb, but the peloton has brought them back and it's all together after 18 km.

Checking some facts: It was the eighth stage of the 2001 Tour de France from Colmar to Pontarlier, over 222 km. Erik Dekker won ahead of Aitor Gonzalez and Servais Knaven after a break of 14 got 35'54(!) on the peloton. Stuart O'Grady took over the yellow jersey that day, before it passed to Francois Simon. Climber Andrei Kivilev (RIP) was also in that break, but didn't quite have enough of a buffer to hold off Armstrong and co. in the mountains that followed.

11:37 CST    23km/123km to go
The heat and the wind are strong already, and as a results, any breaks are short live. Carlos Barredo (Liberty Seguros), Steven Caethoven (Chocolade Jacques),
Valeriy Kobzarenko (Navigators Insurance) and Matthew Hayman (Uni SA - Australia) try their luck, but to no avail.

11:37 CST   
Confirming the time cutoff rules: The bunch yesterday was just inside the time limit, which is 112 percent of the winner's time.

11:41 CST   
We spoke to Matt Hayman this morning, and he outlined UniSA's game plan. They were the best team by far yesterday, placing five men in the crucial breakaway. "We'll do things the same again, play it the same as yesterday. Dave [Sanders] has got us all motivated. We had five guys in the break yesterday and it pays off being active.

"Gene Bates is riding strongly, plus Russ and Chris Jongewaard, so we'll be working mostly for Gene, because he's fifth on GC. Gene's far enough away not to be within striking distance but too close not to do anything.

"What happened yesterday - with the profile, the heavy wind, and the heat - could easily happen today," concluded Hayman.

11:43 CST    25km/121km to go
Racing through Littlehampton now, and a group of seven gets clear with Eladio Sanchez (Liberty Seguros), Dennis Haueisen (Milram), Rony Martias (Bouygues Telecom), Hilton Clarke (Navigators Insurance), Matthew Goss (South Australia.com - AIS), Paul Crake (Uni SA - Australia) and Robert McLachlan (Uni SA - Australia).

Two more UniSA boys there, so it's clear that they've got their minds on the job again.

11:46 CST    27km/119km to go
The breakaway group grows to eight as Alby Davis (Liberty) tacks on. They have 16 seconds, which means it's the most promising move of the day.

11:52 CST    32km/114km to go
The break has reformed and now numbers 11 riders: Allan Davis, Eladio Sanchez (Liberty Seguros), Mark Renshaw (Credit Agricole), Mario Aerts (Davitamon Lotto), Fabio Sabatini (Milram), Mauro Da Dalto (Liquigas), Rony Martias (Bouygues Telecom), Jens Renders (Chocolade Jacques), Hilton Clarke (Navigators Insurance), Matthew Goss (South Australia.com - AIS), Paul Crake (Uni SA - Australia).

They have 31 seconds on a fast moving peloton.

11:57 CST    38km/108km to go
The gap to the leading 11 is growing, and after 38 km, it's 1'10. None of these riders are a threat to Gerrans on GC, as they were all in the 23'45 group yesterday. So this could be the winning move, we'll see.

12:00 CST   
One of the riders in the break today, Mark Renshaw, was looking a bit sheepish this morning. Credit Agricole basically missed the early move of 23 yesterday, and although Thor Hushovd eventually got across, he didn't have the gas to go with the leading riders, and finished 12 minutes down. Needless to say, their team director gave them a few words of advice last night.

12:04 CST    42km/104km to go
We're well into the first Hahndorf circuit, with the intermediate sprint due at km 51 in Woodside. Simon Gerrans has the points jersey as well as the leader's jersey, but his team is busy controlling the peloton today, and he won't be in a position to contest the sprints. Maybe Alby and Renshaw will duke it out.

"It's good to be here leading the race," Gerrans told us this morning. "My teammates are motivated to keep the lead and the pressure's on now. Having the leader's jersey makes you the benchmark so everyone's watching you."

12:07 CST    44km/102km to go
The gap grows to two minutes as the break races towards Woodside. Liberty has two guys in the break, and most of the other teams have one up there. Ag2r doesn't, but they are defending Gerrans. Also United Water has missed it. That's the only team that can really bring it back.

12:13 CST    52km/94km to go
The three sprinters in the break do fight it out for the first sprint in Woodside, and it's Hilton Clarke (Navigators Insurance) winning it ahead of Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros) and Mark Renshaw (Credit Agricole). The break has 2'35 over the peloton now.

12:20 CST    55km/91km to go
Ag2r-Prevoyance has command of the peloton, which is setting a comfortable tempo 3'15 behind the breakaway. They have no interest at all in bringing back the break, which will now almost certainly stay clear until the finish.

12:30 CST    61km/85km to go
We're heading back to Hahndorf now for the completion of the first lap. This breakaway of 11 has established itself out in front and will likely gain a bit more time.

It's not completely out of the question for the peloton to chase down the break, but something would have to change up front. If one rider got dropped or crashed, then his team may take up the chase to put themselves back in contention. Pulling back three to five minutes is doable, but obviously the decision has to be made sooner, rather than later.

12:38 CST   
Back in the peloton, Robbie McEwen is biding his time today, after a very tough first stage yesterday where he finished third. McEwen is a consistent rider at the JCTDU, nearly always making the break on stage 1 and keeping himself in contention for the jersey up until the penultimate stage, when the tougher climbs are.

We asked McEwen how he felt after yesterday's effort: "A bit hammered to be honest. The wind and the heat took its toll yesterday but at night we just had a massage, got as much to drink as we could to recover from it."

Will you stay near the front today? "I always try and come up with something to get up the front," he said.

12:46 CST    70km/76km to go
The race has passed through Hahndorf now, to something approaching rapturous applause, as the big crowd enjoys the spectacle of the JCTDU. The breakaways have continued to eke out their lead, and it's now at 4'15 with Ag2r-Prevoyance riding comfortably on the front of the main field.

12:48 CST    74km/72km to go
Race leader Simon Gerrans punctures after 73 km, but there's no drama and his team quickly helps him back to the bunch, before resuming their position on the front. That's going to give the break a bit more time.

12:53 CST   
A CN live report would not be accurate without mention of fauna. Our man on the spot Les Clarke reports that there are lots of cows about. Fresian dairy cows by the look of them, and they're loving the action.

13:00 CST   
The second round of the Adelaide Advertiser women's criterium series has been completed, with Natalie Bates taking it out ahead of series leader Jenny MacPherson and another comeback kid, Kate Nichols. We'll have full results, report and pics of that race later on Cyclingnews.

13:04 CST    83km/63km to go
Despite having Hilton Clarke in the break, the Navigators team has picked up the pace a bit in the peloton, and pegged the gap to 3'50. Maybe Clarke is not feeling so good, so they want to put Plan B in action. Or maybe they want a bit of quality time on the front of the peloton.

13:12 CST    89km/57km to go
The gap is steadily diminishing, and the leaders sense this, putting on the pace a bit before the second sprint at Woodside. It's now 3'35 as the bunch gets to within 4 km of the sprint.

13:21 CST    97km/49km to go
Things stabilise at 3'30 at the 93 km point, so it's not urgent yet. There are good crowds enjoying the extremely warm conditions, and plenty of smiles everywhere.

Hilton Clarke takes the second sprint ahead of Mario Aerts (Davitamon Lotto) and Matthew Goss (South Australia.com - AIS).

13:30 CST    102km/44km to go
Wes Sulzberger, from the United Water team, shared concerns about the heat when we spoke to him this morning. 35+ degree temperatures are not easy to ride in. "I suppose it affects everyone but we take it as it comes, and after Mitch's fall yesterday, he's going to be pretty sore riding today."

The team captain is of course Will Walker, who placed fourth yesterday. "If he needs help, he'll get on the radio and we'll focus on Will's chances."

13:35 CST    104km/42km to go
The leaders are approaching Hahndorf for the end of the second lap, with just one more 42 km circuit to complete. Nothing has really changed in the situation on the road, with the time gap between the bunch and the break around 3'30.

The riders in the break again: Allan Davis, Eladio Sanchez (Liberty Seguros), Mark Renshaw (Credit Agricole), Mario Aerts (Davitamon Lotto), Fabio Sabatini (Milram), Mauro Da Dalto (Liquigas), Rony Martias (Bouygues Telecom), Jens Renders (Chocolade Jacques), Hilton Clarke (Navigators Insurance), Matthew Goss (South Australia.com - AIS), Paul Crake (Uni SA - Australia).

13:43 CST    109km/37km to go
Things are changing in front, as Paul Crake (UniSA) attacks the break on the final lap after 105 km. He has 26 seconds on the remaining 10 riders, who are chasing hard. Crake is an interesting rider, coming from a stair running background to place third in the Australian Open Championships in 2005. He has ridden for Austrian team Corratec for the last couple of years.

13:48 CST    112km/34km to go
Crake is going well, and has 38 seconds on the chasing 10. Excelling riding by the ACT rider.

The main bunch has shut up shop, and Ag2r is on the front controlling things. The gap to the peloton is 4'48.

13:56 CST    117km/29km to go
Crake has got his head down and is keeping his speed up. They'll have a hard time catching him now, unless he croaks in the heat. But it looks like the others are suffering more than the UniSA rider is.

14:04 CST    131km/15km to go
15 km to go now, and Paul Crake's solo bid for glory has ended. He's been pulled back by the rest of the break, which is now 4'08 ahead of the peloton. The winner will come from this group, obviously. Could Alby get his first ever stage win in the JCTDU, or will Clarke and Renshaw pip him in the sprint, or will one of the others try their hand at a break?

All these questions will be answered soon.

14:06 CST   
The Ag2r-riders are sharing the load on the front of the bunch, all doing their work for team leader Gerrans. None of them has had an easy today.

14:10 CST    132km/14km to go
The 11 leaders are getting close to Hahndorf now, and we're inside the final 15 km. Crake has attacked again, together with Allan Davis, and they have 50 seconds.

14:21 CST    139km/7km to go
Crake and Davis are still ahead of the rest of the break, and one of them should win this stage. The odds are definitely in favour of Davis, who is an excellent sprinter. It's unlikely that Crake will be able to drop him.

14:23 CST   
Just before the stage finishes, we can announce that race leader Simon Gerrans is Mansfield Shire Councils Young Australian of the Year. Thanks to Gary Gaffney, CEO of Mansfield Shire Council for that tidbit, and congratulations Simon!

14:24 CST    143km/3km to go
Into the final three kilometres now, and Paul Crake and Alby Davis will fight it out for the stage win in Hahndorf.

14:26 CST   
The big crowd in Hahndorf is anticipating an Alby win. Let's see if he can prove them right today.

14:31 CST    146km/0km to go
...and Alby Davis has done it, beating Paul Crake in a two man sprint in Hahndorf!!!! That's his first JCTDU stage win. Behind them, Davis' teammate Eladio Sanchez solos in for third ahead of the rest of the break.

Simoni Gerrans will keep the ochre leader's jersey.

14:44 CST   
The results have been confirmed by the officials and Allan Davis is now celebrating his win. He should also take over the points jersey from Gerrans, while Dumoulin will keep the mountains jersey.

That's all from us here at Hahndorf, as we have to fly the blimp back to Adelaide now. But we'll be back with more live Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under at 11:00am tomorrow, for stage 3 from Strathalbyn to Yankalilla. Until then!


1 Allan Davis (Aus) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team           3.27.21
2 Paul Crake (Aus) UniSA-Australia                             
3 Eladio Sanchez Prado (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team     0.38
4 Hilton Clarke (Aus) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team     0.54
5 Rony Martias (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                          
6 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Credit Agricole                        2.00
7 Matthew Goss (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS Cycling           
8 Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Team Milram                             
9 Mauro Da Dalto (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi                        
10 Jens Renders (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-T Interim              
11 Mario Aerts (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto 
General classification after stage 2

1 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Ag2r                              7.12.55
2 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Liberty Seguros                  0.07
3 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon Lotto                      0.18
4 William Walker (Aus) United Water 

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