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

Australia, January 17-22, 2006

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Stage 3 - Friday, January 20: Strathalbyn - Yankalilla, 154km

Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Les Clarke and Anthony Tan

Complete live report

Live coverage starts: 11:00 ACDT
Estimated finish: 14:50 ACDT

10:56 CST   
Welcome back to South Australia for the third stage of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, the longest day at 154 km between Strathalbyn and Yankalilla. We're almost halfway through the race, and today's stage will likely be a quiet one for the general classification guys before tomorrow's Willunga decider.

Today's stage is run on the Fleurieu peninsula, starting from the Adelaide Hills Heritage town of Strathalbyn, which boasts glorious gardens and bluestone buildings (according to the blurb). The riders then travel out to Victor Harbor, which has hosted several stage finishes in the past, but will continue westward along the peninsula, passing via the King of the Mountain at Newland Hill (km 85.6), then out to Delamere before turning north to Yankalilla, which is hosting a finish for the first time.

There are also two intermediate sprints today, at Goolwa (km 61.4) and Pt Elliot (km 73.1). Overall, it's an up and down day and will be another taxing one for the riders.

The heat will be on again, with temps expected to reach the high 30s today, with a little more humidity. There's more wind too, which may cut things up as the riders travel near the coastline.

It's a fairly decent sized crowd at the start. But the riders look a little worse for wear today, and it's likely most of them will try to consolidate and wait for tomorrow.

11:05 CST    2km/152km to go
And they're racing in the third stage of the JCTDU. After an 800m neutral section, the gun goes off and immediately the attacks start.

11:14 CST   
We spoke to several riders this morning, including Robbie McEwen, who is third placed on GC. Robbie's game plan is "Probably the same as yesterday, when you consider that everyone's position on GC remains unchanged. So I think it'll be a similar scenario to yesterday. I think it'll be aggressive at the start until the right combination is let go. Across the peninsula, it'll be windy and winding, so It'll be pretty much the same as yesterday in terms of the way it's ridden.

"I'll conserve energy, stay in the bunch, and I'll try to stay with Sanchez and Gerrans. My legs weren't bad yesterday but the muscles are still tender after the cramping on Tuesday night. Another day in the bunch would do them good."

11:17 CST    9km/145km to go
Cadel Evans (Davitamon Lotto), Carlos Barredo (Liberty Seguros), Jonathon Clarke (South Australia.com - AIS) have attacked very early after 4 km, and were joined by Alexandre Botcharov (Credit Agricole), Michele Gobbi (Milram), Vincent Jerome (Bouygues Telecom), Serge Pauwels (Chocolade Jacques) and Mathew Hayman (Uni SA - Australia). Three riders have managed to bridge up: Jose Joaquin Rojas (Liberty Seguros), Daniel Becke (Milram), Ben Day (Uni SA - Australia) and after eight kilometres, this 11 man group has 15 seconds.

11:20 CST    12km/142km to go
Glen Chadwick (Navigators Insurance) tries to bridge up, but fails, as the 11 leaders push their advantage to 25 seconds.

11:24 CST    14km/140km to go
Cadel Evans is the best placed rider on GC in the break, but he's over 12 minutes down and doesn't really threaten Gerrans' lead. But Ag2r won't relax completely, if they decide to let this break go.

The tough conditions have helped the gap grow to 50 seconds, but there it's raining counter-attacks in the peloton.

11:30 CST    18km/136km to go
The break numbers 11 and enjoys a 1'20 advantage over the peloton. The sun is beating down but there is a chance of a thunderstorm later.

11:32 CST   
One of the riders in the break, Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto), told us this morning that "If the opportunity comes today, I'll take it. If it comes tomorrow, I'll take it tomorrow." Well, it looks like it came today.

"Considering how far I've progressed in my training, I feel good at the moment. This year, the racing here is more solid than last year. This year, at this Tour Down Under, I haven't been so successful, but like Robbie and some of the other guys, I'm aiming for bigger things later in the year."

Will your team be looking after Robbie? "Robbie's riding so well, we'll be looking after him. Tomorrow, my job is just to get up Willunga nice and fast and bring the other guys up.

11:34 CST    20km/134km to go
After 20 clicks, the gap to the 11 out front has grown to 1'52 as Ag2r tries to control the peloton. Maybe they'll call a mass nature break like they did yesterday, much to the chagrin of Russell Van Hout.

11:38 CST    23km/131km to go
The front group is working well together, with nine teams represented. The gap continues to grow and it's now 2'25. Liberty (again), Uni SA, and Milram all have two riders in the break.

11:45 CST    27km/127km to go
Ag2r has control of the main bunch, but they can't afford to relax completely, as Cadel Evans is 'only' 12 minutes behind on GC. They have more time to play with, and could give Evans 10 minutes and still be safe tomorrow.

It's also a good move by Liberty Seguros to put two guys in the break, because it puts some pressure on Ag2r as well. Liberty wants to tire out the Ag2r team as much as possible before tomorrow's stage, so Sanchez can try to take that 7 seconds out of Gerrans.

11:55 CST    28km/126km to go
It's now up to 2'55 as the eleven riders head through Nangkita.

How to describe the Fleurieu Peninsula? Brown is probably the best word. Then grass, wind, and vineyards. And blue sea that you don't even need Photoshop for.

12:02 CST    37km/117km to go
The leaders are through Mt Compass now, with Evans and Hayman looking particularly strong. Matt Hayman was actually looking a bit burned last night in the hotel, but it's pretty hard to avoid that when you're racing four hours in the heat.

All riders are doing long, smooth turns. Vincent Jerome punctures, but is back with the break.

3'38 is the latest time check.

12:08 CST    39km/115km to go
The road continues uphill after Mt Compass, but it doesn't disturb the rhythm of the break. The wind is also quite strong.

12:17 CST    44km/110km to go
The situation has stabilised somewhat after 43 km, with the Ag2r led bunch holding the break at 3'33. The road continues to go up and down, and after the first hour, everyone will be feeling a bit tired.

12:21 CST    48km/106km to go
Ag2r is still controlling things and Simon Gerrans is looking very comfy behind his teammates on the climbs. "We'll play it like yesterday," Gerrans told us this morning. "We'll let another group go, if they're no threat to us. Looking not to spend so much energy today, as we spent a little too much yesterday, especially because today is really hard in the big crosswind."

[By the way, Gerrans is pronounced with a soft "g"]

12:25 CST    56km/98km to go
We're coming up to five kilometres before the first sprint in Goolwa, and the bunch has shown no signs of closing the gap to the leaders yet. No surprises there. None of the riders in the break is a really a threat for the points jersey (currently held by Gerrans, but worn by Alby Davis). But Cadel Evans is certainly a threat for the mountains jersey, currently worn by Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r). Evans is on 20 points, and if he wins the sprint at km 85, he will move four points ahead of Dumoulin.

12:32 CST    60km/94km to go
The latest time check is 4'10, after the bunch passes the five km mark to the first sprint. Up front, Matty Hayman is looking the best, relishing these conditions. Hayman is a classic rouleur - not really a climber, nor a sprinter, but a rider who can power along all day in tough, windy conditions, and ride the legs off the lightweights.

12:35 CST    62km/92km to go
The break reaches the first intermediate sprint in Goolwa, where the town's populace is out in force to watch the colour of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under come through. First across the line is Daniel Becke (Milram), who beats the pocket climber Alexandre Botcharov (Credit Agricole) and Mathew Hayman (Uni SA - Australia).

The wind is still high as they head along the coast now, towards Victor Harbor.

12:43 CST    68km/86km to go
The leaders are now progressing through Middleton, just before Pt Elliot, where the second and final sprint of the day is located. There are some big crowds in Middleton, enjoying something different.

12:45 CST   
The riders in the break: Carlos Barredo, Jose Joaquin Rojas (Liberty Seguros), Alexandre Botcharov (Credit Agricole), Cadel Evans (Davitamon Lotto), Daniel Becke and Michele Gobbi (Milram), Vincent Jerome (Bouygues Telecom), Serge Pauwels (Chocolade Jacques), Jonathon Clarke (South Australia.com - AIS), Ben Day and Mathew Hayman (Uni SA - Australia).

The break was initiated at the 4 km mark by Barredo, Evans and Clarke, and gradually grew to 12. They enjoy a four minute plus lead over the main bunch, which is led by the race leader's equipe, Ag2r-Prevoyance.

12:49 CST    70km/84km to go
The temperatures have dropped a bit as we head along the coast and the beaches of Port Elliot, much to the riders' relief. Hayman looks like he's riding a 53x15 gear, which is a nice one when you're doing about 45 km/h.

The gap is 4'35. The leaders are 1 km from the sprint in Pt Elliot.

12:52 CST    72km/82km to go
The second sprint sees Daniel Becke (Milram) and Alexandre Botcharov (Credit Agricole) take the first two placings again, with Jonathon Clarke (South Australia.com - AIS) picking up the last 2 points.

12:59 CST    77km/77km to go
There are great Ocean views in Port Elliot, with plenty of people supporting the race. It's still very windy, of course, as the gap hovers between the 4'30 and 4'40 mark. The leaders are halfway exactly.

13:06 CST    82km/72km to go
The leaders head through Victor Harbor and take on food and water at the feed zone. The gap is the same, and the Ag2r team has got this breakaway securely pegged. If other teams want to bring it back, they'll have to start chasing very soon.

13:13 CST    84km/70km to go
The first and only climb of the day is at the top of Newland Hill, coming out of Victor Harbor. The field is now through the feed zone, and most have taken on drinks as it's still very warm, despite the proximity to the coast.

13:17 CST    86km/68km to go
No surprises at the top of the hill, as Cadel Evans (Davitamon Lotto) takes the 16 points at the KOM ahead of Alexandre Botcharov (Credit Agricole), Serge Pauwels (Chocolade Jacques), Mathew Hayman (Uni SA - Australia) and Jonathon Clarke (South Australia.com - AIS). Evans is a very accomplished climber, and last year finished eighth overall in the Tour de France.

The gap to the bunch at the top is still 4'30.

13:18 CST   
The main field comes up the climb with Ag2r setting its relentless controlling tempo. No-one has tried to attack the GC leader Gerrans, who is looking very comfy as he chats to his teammates.

13:24 CST   
As a result of his win in the KOM, Cadel Evans has taken over the mountains jersey from Samuel Dumoulin. Evans has won the jersey twice already in past editions of the JCTDU: in 2002 and 2003.

13:26 CST    91km/63km to go
The race has moved away from the coast now, which means the wind has decreased but the temperature has gone back up again. The leaders are working well, hoping that the break will stay away to the finish.

13:31 CST   
UniSA has been on the attack every day, as usual, and have certainly helped to animate the race. One of their riders, Ben Day, up there in the break. He commented to us before the start that "The guys are riding aggressively and our boys are going well. Paul [Crake] rode well yesterday and five guys were up there on the first day. We've still got a few goals to achieve and a few days of hard racing ahead."

13:37 CST    93km/61km to go
The gap is 4'15 as the 12 leaders pass the 93 km mark. There is no real urgency in the chase with Ag2r on the front, so it looks like the breakaways will stay clear.

The cow report
Mostly, the cows are staying in the shade today, due to the heat. It's approx. 33 degrees Celsius at the moment. But wait, there are some more Friesians!

Thanks to our cow spotter Les Clarke for the cow report.

13:48 CST    104km/50km to go
In the break, Carlos Barredo (Liberty Seguros) attacks! Matt Hayman goes with him straight away. Now things will start to heat up.

13:50 CST    106km/48km to go
Barredo stays with Hayman, and they are joined by Vincent Jerome (Bouygues Telecom) and Alexandre Botcharov (Credit Agricole).

13:56 CST   
A correction: Glen Chadwick (Navigators Insurance) hasn't been in the break - he tried to bridge up early on, but failed. But his number was still called out over race radio. So all references to the dirty dozen will now be deleted. Thank you.

13:57 CST    108km/46km to go
Evans bridges across to the four leaders, and Rojas is also trying.

Ben Day (Uni SA - Australia), Jonathon Clarke (South Australia.com - AIS) and Michele Gobbi (Milram) are left behind.

14:05 CST    115km/39km to go
Up front, there are seven riders, and these have been confirmed as being: Carlos Barredo (Liberty Seguros), Mathew Hayman (Uni SA - Australia), Vincent Jerome (Bouygues Telecom), Alexandre Botcharov (Credit Agricole), Serge Pauwels (Chocolade Jacques), Daniel Becke (Milram), and Cadel Evans (Davitamon Lotto).

Behind them, there is a group of four with Jose Joaquin Rojas (Liberty Seguros), who almost but not quite managed to get across, Michele Gobbi (Milram), Jonathon Clarke (South Australia.com - AIS), and Ben Day (Uni SA - Australia).

14:13 CST    119km/35km to go
The last part of this stage is pretty much all downhill, so if there is going to be another selection, then now would be a good time to make it. We have seven survivors of the original break of 11. Becke has shown himself to be the best sprinter so far, so the others won't want to go to the finish with him. Botcharov is looking strong, as is Hayman and Evans.

14:17 CST   
The two front groups are about a minute apart, with the leaders now 5 minutes ahead of the peloton.

14:22 CST    125km/29km to go
The riders are heading north east towards the finish town of Yankalilla, and we have seven of the original 11 in front: Carlos Barredo (Liberty Seguros), Mathew Hayman (Uni SA - Australia), Vincent Jerome (Bouygues Telecom), Alexandre Botcharov (Credit Agricole), Serge Pauwels (Chocolade Jacques), Daniel Becke (Milram), and Cadel Evans (Davitamon Lotto).

Barredo and Hayman started the move, but Barredo dropped his chain and had to chase back on. So he's obviously feeling good today. He's a bit of a specialist at the long break, too.

14:28 CST   
The last rider who we caught up with at the start village this morning was Gene Bates, from UniSA (who will ride for LPR this year). He's placed fifth on GC, so he's a marked man.

"I'm in a difficult position," he said. "I'm too far behind to have a real go but I'm too close for them to let me go up the road. I'm just going to stay attentive today, with the wind and stuff, and have a go at the King of the Mountain, and I'll see if it pays off."

We asked him about the incident on the climb with Sergey Lagutin yesterday. "I went for the sprint, moved to the right and gave the Navigators guy a push on the hip. And he didn't like it. What can I say?"

"The team's working for the team prize and to look after me for a spot on GC."

14:32 CST    134km/20km to go
The seven front riders are nearing the descent towards the finish in Yankalilla, and they are gradually putting time into the chasing four, with the bunch not really in it at five minutes or so.

14:35 CST    139km/15km to go
The last time check we got was at 15 km to go, and the leaders are still together with a two minute gap to Rojas, Gobbi, J. Clarke and Day, and the Ag2r-led bunch at 5'00.

On paper, Daniel Becke has probably got the quickest legs if it comes down to a group sprint. Hayman might be strong enough to pull off a sprint win as well.

14:41 CST    144km/10km to go
The crowds have gathered in anticipation in Yankalilla, waiting to see who'll emerge with their wheel in front on the finishing straight. Another 10-15 minutes, and it will be over.

14:44 CST    145km/9km to go
Barredo has attacked the leaders now! The Liberty Seguros rider has 40 seconds gap on the remaining six, and looks like going all the way.

14:47 CST   
As Barredo powers on, news comes in that the bunch is now eight minutes behind the leader. That will move Evans up a few places on GC at the end of the day, but he won't threaten Gerrans as he was 12'14 down at the start of the day.

14:48 CST   
Barredo (24) is in his third year as a pro, and has won win to his name: a stage in the 2004 Vuelta a Asturias. He could get another today.

14:50 CST    152km/2km to go
Carlos Barredo has destroyed the rest of the break and is now 1'27 ahead with just 2 km to go. He's on track to winning the stage.

14:52 CST    154km/0km to go
Carlos Barredo (Liberty Seguros) has claimed the second stage win in a row for his team, coming across the line with his arms raised in triumph in Yankalilla. Great ride by the young Spaniard, and a good sign for Luis Sanchez for tomorrow.

14:58 CST   
The sprint for second place goes to Vincent Jerome (Bouygues Telecom), ahead of Daniel Becke (Team Milram). We're still waiting for the main bunch, but Simon Gerrans (Ag2r) will keep the Jacob's Creek ochre leader's jersey for another day.

15:08 CST   
Once again, the strongest guy at the end of the stage has pulled off the win, and this time it was the turn of the Europeans to claim one back from the Aussies. Barredo is a good, strong rider, and he showed it today with his powerful attack at around 10 km to go.

Simon Gerrans had a quiet day in the bunch, as did all the other GC riders, but they will be saving everything for tomorrow's stage around Willunga, which is always a cracker.

Although Gerrans keeps the leader's jersey, Daniel Becke should take over the points jersey after today, and Evans the mountains jersey. Will Walker will keep his lead in the U23 classification.

That's about it from us in Yankalilla. Tune in tomorrow at 11:00am local time for more live action of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under: the scorcher in Willunga!


1 Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team    3.51.03
2 Daniel Becke (Ger) Team Milram                                   0.32
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto                                    
4 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-T Interim                      
5 Vincent Jerome (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                            1.38
6 Mathew Hayman (Aus) UniSA-Australia                              1.40
7 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Credit Agricole                            
8 Jonathon Clarke (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS Cycling            5.26
9 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team          5.56
10 Ben Day (Aus) UniSA-Australia                                       
11 Michele Gobbi (Ita) Team Milram                                 6.05
12 Gene Bates (Aus) UniSA-Australia                                7.34

General classification after stage 3

1 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Ag2r Prevoyance                          11.11.32
2 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team           0.07
3 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto                              0.18
4 William Walker (Aus) United Water-Australia U/23                 0.46

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