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9th Tour Down Under - 2.HC

Australia, January 16-21, 2007

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Stage 2 - Thursday, January 18: Mannum - Hahndorf, 150km

Complete live report

Live Commentary by Ben Abrahams & Greg Johnson, with additional reporting from Mark Zalewski

Live coverage starts: 11:00
Estimated finish: 14:48

10:40 CST    G'day and welcome back to South Australia for Cyclingnews' live coverage of the 2007 Tour Down Under. We're back aboard the Hindenburg V-2 for stage two, an undulating 150km journey from Mannum to Hahndorf.

10:48 CST    Conditions at today's start line are cooler than that of the previous two days, with the 20-degree, overcast conditions expected to hang around all day. Local weather warriors are predicting rain later and into the night, but that shouldn't commence before the end of today's stage.

10:55 CST    Around five minutes to the race start now, there's a short neutralised section before the flag is dropped at three minutes past eleven on the outskirts of Mannum. Once again, the crowds are out in force but so too are those pesky South Australian flies, irritating both riders and journalists alike.

10:57 CST    Predictor - Lotto's Matt Lloyd was looking forward to today's stage when Cyclingnews' man in the field Mark Zalewski caught up with the youngster. The 2006 Herald Sun Tour King of the Mountains jersey winner is hoping the team will get a lucky break on today's stage. "Obviously the ideal situation would be a break to go early without any of the guys from yesterday's break, but particularly the guys at the top of the GC," said Lloyd. "It's a bit of a tricky run into the towns [this afternoon], the last 10 kilometers it gets a bit hilly. If we're in it we'll probably be riding for McEwen or Rodriguez - but we haven't spoken about it yet."

11:04 CST    And they're off! 111 riders roll out through Mannum. It's gradually uphill to the day's first intermediate sprint at 25.7km.

11:07 CST    Race leader Karl Menzies is wearing his HealthNet team shorts today, and joked he can finally wear them now that he's had the chance to do his washing. "Today is all about taking it easy, my teammates are looking after me," said the UniSA rider. After taking the win in yesterday's opening stage, Menzies is kicking back a notch, just ensuring he makes it home in reasonable time. "I wont be going for the stage win today, I’m just taking it easy and staying relaxed."

11:14 CST    3km/147km to go No attacks just yet as the peloton cruise along a flat section of road, following the main water pipeline that runs from a nearby river through Mannum to Adelaide.

11:25 CST    It seems that we unwittingly unleashed a monster yesterday by asking readers to email in their predictions for the time gap between the break and the bunch. Obviously the prospect of a Cyclingnews T-shirt was too much for some of you to resist. As we now know, Stuart O'Grady brought the bunch home 26'15 behind stage winner Karl Menzies. Thanks to all those who wrote in - we'll be announcing the lucky winner during the course of this week's live coverage.

11:30 CST    15km/135km to go Still no-one fancies the early move, we're now passing through the small town of Palmer where a good crowd has gathered to greet the riders. The road kicks up steeply in a few kms, surely the attacks will come soon...

11:39 CST    17km/133km to go Now the attacks come and it's none other than local boy Stuey O'Grady with the first dig. He doesn't get far though. Nicolas Roche (Crédit Agricole) counters, he's got 50m on the bunch.

11:41 CST    Race radio is reporting a 20 rider break, they've got 150 metres. Could this be another repeat of yesterday? Rider names coming shortly...

11:55 CST    Here they are, it's another big one: Glenn D'hollander (Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen), Simon Gerrans, Martin Elmiger (AG2r Prevoyance), Stuart O'Grady, Matthew Goss (Team CSC), Geert Steurs (Predictor - Lotto), Alexandre Botcharov, Mark Renshaw (Credit Agricole), Laurent Brochard (Bouygues Telecom), Baden Cooke (Unibet.com), Serge Pauwels, Sven Renders (Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen), Ben Day, Sergey Lagutin (Navigators Insurance Cycling Team), Robert Hunter, Gianpaolo Cheula (Barloworld), Wesley Sulzberger (SouthAustralia.com-AIS), Robert McLachlan (Australia - UniSA), Matteo Carrara (Unibet.com)

11:56 CST    The break has 30 seconds but the UniSA team don't like the look of this. They're on the front to bring it back.

12:01 CST    25km/125km to go Back together before the first sprint at Tungkillo. Laurent Brochard (Bouygues Telecom) takes it. Wesley Sulzberger (SouthAustralia.com-AIS) is second followed by Matthew Goss (Team CSC).

12:03 CST    Through the sprint and group of eight go clear, they are: Simon Gerrans (AG2r Prevoyance), Matthew Goss (Team CSC), Alexandre Botcharov (Credit Agricole), Laurent Brochard (Bouygues Telecom), Serge Pauwels (Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen), Ben Day (Navigators Insurance Cycling Team), Gianpaolo Cheula (Barloworld), Wesley Sulzberger (SouthAustralia.com-AIS)

12:05 CST    These eight have 1'31 on the bunch, UniSA ride tempo on the front.

12:08 CST    37km/113km to go The gap comes down to 1'03 with UniSA still in charge. Seems they don't want this getting out of hand too early. 37 seconds now, looks like it's coming back together.

12:12 CST    41km/109km to go Approaching the second sprint at Mount Torrens, the gap to the leaders is hovering around 19 seconds.

12:18 CST    43km/107km to go Laurent Brochard attacks again, he wants those points for the blue sprinter's jersey.

12:21 CST    44km/106km to go He doesn't get them though. Wesley Sulzberger takes it, Brochard is second followed by Gianpaolo Cheula (Barloworld).

12:24 CST    52km/98km to go Those eight are finally caught. More counter attacks now through the town of Lobethal, large crowds line the streets.

12:30 CST    Uh oh, here comes the rain! This wasn't forcecast until later in the day. It could get interesting as we head into the hills, there's a KOM coming up at Fox Hill creek after 64.2km. Peloton all togther for now.

12:39 CST    63km/87km to go Approaching the top of Fox Creek Hill. The climb is only around 2.5km long but kicks up sharply towards the summit. More attacks now, a group of 15 go clear on the upper slopes.

12:44 CST    The 15 man group has 19 seconds now, it contains the following riders: Samuel Dumoulin (AG2r Prevoyance), Stuart O'Grady (Team CSC), Julian Dean, Nicolas Roche (Credit Agricole), Sebastian Siedler (Team Milram), Dimitri Champion (Bouygues Telecom), Matt Wilson, Markus Eichler (Unibet.com), Koen Barbe, Pieter Ghyllebert (Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen), Hilton Clarke, Sergey Lagutin (Navigators Insurance Cycling Team), Diego Caccia (Barloworld), Juan Miguel Mercado (Agritubel) and Wesley Sulzberger (SouthAustralia.com-AIS)

12:47 CST    Do you need a visual fix while you wait for the riders to battle it out to today's finish line? Then check out yesterday's video highlights package on Cyclingnews.com

12:53 CST    Results from the KOM: 1 Samuel Dumoulin (AG2r Prévoyance) 2 Sergey Lagutin (Navigators Insurance Cycling Team) 3 Hilton Clarke (Navigators Insurance Cycling Team) 4 Sebastian Siedler (Team Milram) 5 Markus Eichler (Unibet.com)

12:57 CST    67km/83km to go Those 15 are caught. Not much slack in the peloton today. All togther once more as we head for the feed zone at km70.

13:07 CST    Another large group splits off the front. It's been relentless so far today. There's seven riders away now, followed by a group of 14. Names coming shortly...

13:08 CST    Stuart O'Grady is on the front, head down, driving it like a madman. This could be a serious move now...

13:10 CST    The two groups merge and the gap to the peloton is up over a minute. O'Grady still doing lots of work, as is Hilton Clarke.

13:21 CST    90km/60km to go It's a 21 rider move upfront, some big names in there. We're passing through Hahndorf now and onto the finishing circuits. These are the leading riders: Ludovic Turpin (AG2r Prevoyance), Stuart O'Grady (Team CSC), Alexandre Botcharov, Julian Dean, Christophe Edaleine (Credit Agricole), Martin Mueller (Team Milram), Giovanni Bernaudeau (Bouygues Telecom), Pieter Jacobs, Markus Eichler (Unibet.com), Koen Barbe, Steven Caethoven, Pieter Ghyllebert, Kurt Hovelynck (Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen), Hilton Clarke, Viktor Rapinski (Navigators Insurance Cycling Team), Robert Hunter (Barloworld), Eduardo Gonzalo, Benoit Sinner (Agritubel), Jonathon Clarke, Wesley Sulzberger (SouthAustralia.com-AIS) and Logan Hutchings (New Zealand National Team)

13:29 CST    The lead group is being whittled down as some big guns turn the screw. Just 14 upfront now. They've got 57 seconds on the peloton.

13:32 CST    96km/54km to go The leading 14 are: Ludovic Turpin (AG2r Prevoyance), Stuart O'Grady (Team CSC), Alexandre Botcharov, Christophe Edaleine (Credit Agricole), Martin Mueller (Team Milram), Pieter Jacobs (Unibet.com), Steven Caethoven, Koen Barbe, Pieter Ghyllebert, Kurt Hovelynck (Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen), Hilton Clarke (Navigators Insurance Cycling Team), Eduardo Gonzalo (Agritubel), Benoit Sinner, Jonathon Clarke (SouthAustralia.com-AIS)

13:35 CST    Chocolade Jacques hammer on the front of the break. They've got the numbers advantage with four riders.

13:42 CST    107km/43km to go O'Grady is still the man upfront. Looking super motivated for the win today. If these 14 stay away, he's gotta be in with a shout. Massive crowds at the finish. They'll go nuts if Stuey wins it!

13:49 CST    112km/38km to go Onto the second lap of the finishing circuits. Seven riders try to bridge across to the 14 leaders. It's a big ask. The gap is 2'42.

13:54 CST    Predictions anyone? Send them in to commentator@cyclingnews.com. Our man in the field Mark Zalewski has big money on Hilton Clarke. The peloton is now 8 minutes back. One of these front 14 is surely going to win it.

14:05 CST    These finishing circuits are pretty tough, there's 1km climb followed by a descent of the same distance. Judging from the emails, O'Grady is definitely the crowd favourite but can he outfox the four Chocolade Jacques riders?

14:09 CST    Brett Aitken (Australia-UniSA) is having a tough time today, he's way behind the peloton and could get lapped on the finishing circuits.

14:12 CST    123km/27km to go They're heading into Hanndorf again, one lap remaining. The leaders are really flying now. Chocolade Jacques still controlling the group. O'Grady sits back, around fifth wheel. Clarke is still up there, looking dangerous.

14:23 CST    The front group splits on the small rise out of town. Martin Mueller (Team Milram) has a small gap but it should be back together on the descent. O'Grady is still up there.

14:27 CST    Hilton Clarke has his brother Jonathan in the break, will they try and work over O'Grady for the sprint?

14:29 CST    The peloton pass through the finish. Gap is at least 14 minutes now.

14:29 CST    O'Grady and Hilton Clarke attack! They're away from the rest with one other rider.

14:33 CST    Still O'Grady and Clarke in the lead. We're trying to identify the other rider up with them...

14:35 CST    146km/4km to go 4km to go. There's a slight climb coming, then a descent, over a railroad track, then it's a straight run to the finish.

14:37 CST    148km/2km to go Eduaro Ramirez from Agritubel is the third rider.

14:38 CST    148km/2km to go Inside the final 2km. These three still together. Clarke is very quick, he could have the edge for the sprint.

14:38 CST    149km/1km to go Here they come, inside the final kilometre...

14:39 CST    149km/1km to go 600m remaining...The chasers are coming back at them, this will be close.

14:43 CST    Wow, a last minute catch on the line from the chasing group, Steven Caethoven (Chocolade Jacques) takes the win!!

14:44 CST    Pieter Ghyllebert (Chocolade Jacques) takes second. O'Grady is third

14:46 CST    That was certainly not the expected result. Chocolade Jacques used their numbers to perfection. Pulling back O'Grady and Clarke inside the final 1km.

14:54 CST    O'Grady was so close to a win on home soil, but those Euro pros really know how to bring a break back right when it matters. We're still waiting on the peloton coming in, it's another huge time deficit today.

15:14 CST    After two consecutive Aussie victories in the Down Under Classic and TDU stage one, the Europeans hit back with a Belgian 1-2 in Hahndorf. That's the end of today's live coverage so thanks to all those who tuned in and we'll see you tomorrow for stage three - a 128km journey from Stirling to Victor Harbor.

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