|Cyclingnews TV News Tech Features Road MTB BMX Cyclo-cross Track Photos Fitness Letters Search Forum|
9th Tour Down Under - 2.HC
Australia, January 16-21, 2007
Down Under Classic - Tuesday, January 16: Adelaide City Council Circuit, 50km
Aussies sweep Down Under Classic
By Mark Zalewski in Adelaide
Strong winds and hot temperatures made the starting criterium of the 2007 Tour Down Under a little slower than last year, but quick sprinting by young Mark Renshaw (Credit Agricole) in the final 200 meters gave him the sprint victory ahead of Hilton Clarke (Navigators Insurance) and young Simon Clarke (South Australia.com-AIS.) "I had a good off season - it's the most I've ever ridden and the most committed," Renshaw told Cyclingnews as he rolled after the finish. "I rode well at the Bay Crits and now here. This is great!"
Renshaw did ride well at the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic, winning the overall title. And while he was not necessarily the planned sprinter for the day, his form put him in the best position in the end. "We didn't really have a fixed plan and he was in the right place," said teammate Julian Dean. "But with him doing well at the Bay Crits he has better condition for this style of racing."
Many riders commented that the racing was a bit slower, including defending champion Robbie McEwen. "There was more wind so it was easier to just sit in the bunch. Even though groups got away it wasn't anyone who could make it," he explained. "There doesn't seem to be a big difference in the level of the riders at this point. Maybe we'll see more out on the road from the Australian riders who have trained a bit."
Renshaw does not pull on the ochre leader jersey for the win, as the criterium is more a warm-up event for the five road stages. But with the way he is riding these days, it would be a safe bet we will see him at the finish a few times this week.
How it unfolded
Even for an early season race, the 50 kilometre distance was not long by any standards. Still, strong headwinds and warm temperatures at the start kept most things in check. Some breaks did form, and with some good compositions of teams, but nothing ever got more than twenty seconds.
The first break of the day contained Jeremy Hunt (Unibet.com), Miles Olman (SouthAustralia.com-AIS), Benoit Sinner (Agritubel), Gianpaolo Cheula (Barloworld), Robert McLachlan (Australia - UniSA) and Tim Gudsell (New Zealand National Team). The six riders grew the biggest lead of the day but was never really in any danger of escaping. Once they were caught many counter attacks went off the front, and an even bigger group got away.
Fourteen riders rode about ten seconds ahead of the field over the next laps until four of them rolled off the front - Glenn D'hollander (Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen), Samuel Dumoulin (AG2r Prévoyance), Nicolas Roche (Crédit Agricole) and Gene Bates (SouthAustralia.com-AIS). At this point, McEwen's Predictor-Lotto team started the pace making to ensure nothing got out of control.
But then Barloworld took over, signaling to most that South African sprinter Robbie Hunter was feeling good today. But Hunter was really just a decoy. "We were going to ride for Degano today," he said. "I think a lot of guys thought I was the one today... we were hoping so and worked for Degano with me as a decoy."
Barloworld continued to ride on the front along with Predictor-Lotto. The pack seemed to leave the break at ten seconds until the closing laps to make sure no late counters would escape. Sure enough, with three laps to go the catch was made. But soon after a Unibet rider, leading the field, overcooked the 180 degree turn after the start/finish, going into the barriers. Fortunately the rider was not injured in the low-speed accident. The field quickly got back up to speed and Barloworld kept the pace high, with CSC and Predictor-Lotto also near the front sheltering Stuart O'Grady and McEwen respectively.
During the final lap it was Barloworld driving the pace at first, until Hunter shut it off at the one kilometre mark."Degano lost the wheel, so I sat up and the other guys came past." This move put Unibet into the lead, with Baden Cooke looking to be the go-to guy. But it was too soon and too far from the line. "I worked with Freddie in the end, but he dropped his chain coming towards the bell lap," said McEwen. "So I just took my place and I was fourth wheel with two corners to go. Robbie Hunter swung off and left Baden Cooke on the front coming into the last bend, then O'Grady then me."
Following McEwen was a dueling pair of Hilton Clarke and Mark Renshaw, fighting for the valuable wheel of the Tour de France sprint champion. "I was behind Robbie fighting with Hilton Clarke for the wheel," said Renshaw. "There was a lot of switching from side-to-side... but I knew Robbie was the guy to watch." Except Renshaw must have known when to not follow McEwen.
"I was on the inside and just before the last sweeper me and Renshaw were bumping for McEwen's wheel," said Clarke. "He went right and McEwen went left and I followed McEwen and he sort of went nowhere. That made me hesitate and Renshaw went for it - I was on the other side of the road a half wheel behind and I stayed a half wheel behind the whole way."
Renshaw's teammate Julian Dean was there to give an impromptu leadout to his mate, but could not find afterburners this early in the season. "I couldn't do as much as I wanted to - still missing some explosive power," he said. "I came up on Mark and tried to lead him out, but just didn't have the power. I just opened up and let him go. He had a straight run at the line."
"Normally they go before the corner and I was waiting, waiting..." said Renshaw. "And it paid off."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com
Images by Mark Gunter/www.pbase.com/gunterphotograph
Images by Rachel Burke/www.maximumattack.biz
1 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Crédit Agricole 1.03.01 2 Hilton Clarke (Aus) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team 3 Simon Clarke (Aus) SouthAustralia.com-AIS 4 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 5 Allan Davis (Aus) Australia - UniSA 6 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Team Milram 7 Baden Cooke (Aus) Unibet.com 8 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team CSC 9 Enrico Degano (Ita) Barloworld 10 Hans Dekkers (Ned) Agritubel 11 Sven Renders (Bel) Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen 12 Steven Caethoven (Bel) Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen 13 Renaud Dion (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 14 Andy Flickinger (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 15 Brett Aitken (Aus) Australia - UniSA 16 Mathieu Claude (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 17 Julian Dean (NZl) Crédit Agricole 18 Giovanni Bernaudeau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 19 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Crédit Agricole 20 Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr) AG2r Prévoyance 21 Nicolas Roche (Ire) Crédit Agricole 22 Fred Rodriquez (USA) Predictor - Lotto 23 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld 0.05 24 Laurent Brochard (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 0.13 25 Kurt Hovelynck (Bel) Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen 26 Benoit Sinner (Fra) Agritubel 27 Christophe Laurent (Fra) Crédit Agricole 28 Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel) Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen 29 Gustav Larsson (Swe) Unibet.com 30 Matteo Carrara (Ita) Unibet.com 31 Luke Roberts (Aus) Team CSC 0.16 32 Lars Bak (Den) Team CSC 33 Sebastian Siedler (Ger) Team Milram 34 Valeriy Kobzarenko (Ukr) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team 35 Juan Miguel Mercado (Spa) Agritubel 36 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Crédit Agricole 37 Fabrizio Guidi (Ita) Barloworld 38 Robert McLachlan (Aus) Australia - UniSA 0.18 39 Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 40 Matti Breschel (Den) Team CSC 41 Matthew White (Aus) Australia - UniSA 42 Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Unibet.com 43 Chris Jongewaard (Aus) Australia - UniSA 44 Yohann Gene (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 45 Ben Brooks (Aus) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team 46 Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Unibet.com 0.31 47 Wim Vansevenant (Bel) Predictor - Lotto 48 Karl Menzies (Aus) Australia - UniSA 49 Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Unibet.com 50 Koen Barbe (Bel) Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen 51 Peter Latham (NZl) New Zealand National Team 52 Manuel Calvente (Spa) Agritubel 0.35 53 Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 0.37 54 Yannick Talabardon (Fra) Crédit Agricole 55 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 56 Ludovic Turpin (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 57 Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen 58 Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) SouthAustralia.com-AIS 59 Matt Wilson (Aus) Unibet.com 60 Mario Aerts (Bel) Predictor - Lotto 61 Geert Steurs (Bel) Predictor - Lotto 62 Logan Hutchings (NZl) New Zealand National Team 63 Eduardo Gonzalo (Spa) Agritubel 64 Oliver Bonnaire (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 65 Martin Mueller (Ger) Team Milram 66 Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Barloworld 67 Clinton Avery (NZl) New Zealand National Team 68 Nick Gates (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 0.41 69 Marcus Ljungqvist (Swe) Team CSC 70 Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Team Milram 71 Kurt Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team CSC 72 Josep Jufre Pou (Spa) Predictor - Lotto 73 Glenn D'hollander (Bel) Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen 74 Nicki Terpstra (Ned) Team Milram 75 Dennis Haueisen (Ger) Team Milram 76 Cedric Coutouly (Fra) Agritubel 77 Elia Rigotto (Ita) Team Milram 78 Scott Lyttle (NZl) New Zealand National Team 79 Sebastian Schwager (Ger) Team Milram 80 Serge Pauwels (Ned) Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen 81 Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team 0.48 82 Simon Gerrans (Aus) AG2r Prévoyance 83 Russell Van Hout (Aus) Australia - UniSA 0.50 84 Nicolas Crosbie (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 85 Dimitri Champion (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 86 Gene Bates (Aus) SouthAustralia.com-AIS 0.55 87 Christophe Edaleine (Fra) Crédit Agricole 88 Heath Blackgrove (NZl) New Zealand National Team 89 Tim Gudsell (NZl) New Zealand National Team 90 Allan Johansen (Den) Team CSC 91 Darren Lill (RSA) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team 1.06 92 Glen Chadwick (Aus) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team 93 Carl Naibo (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 94 Viktor Rapinski (Blr) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team 95 Jonathon Clarke (Aus) SouthAustralia.com-AIS 96 Matthew Haydock (NZl) New Zealand National Team 1.13 97 Mitchell Docker (Aus) Australia - UniSA 98 Johnnie Walker (Aus) SouthAustralia.com-AIS 99 Ben Day (Aus) Navigators Insurance Cycling Team 100 Gordon McCauley (NZl) New Zealand National Team 101 Michael Ford (Aus) SouthAustralia.com-AIS 1.20 102 Matthew Goss (Aus) Team CSC 103 Nicholas Sanderson (Aus) SouthAustralia.com-AIS 1.22 104 Miles Olman (Aus) SouthAustralia.com-AIS 105 Gianpaolo Cheula (Ita) Barloworld 1.39 106 Diego Caccia (Ita) Barloworld 107 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Barloworld 108 James Perry (RSA) Barloworld 109 Alberto Martinez (Spa) Agritubel 110 Moises Duenas (Spa) Agritubel 111 Markus Eichler (Ger) Unibet.com DNS Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance Sprint Primes A Brilliant Blend Prime #1 - Finish Arch - Lap 5 - 10.0 km (at 20 laps to go) 1 Gianpaolo Cheula (Ita) Barloworld Century 21 - Prime #2 - Finish Arch - Lap 10 - 20.0 km (at 15 laps to go) 1 Benoit Sinner (Fra) Agritubel Share The Road Prime #3 - Finish Arch - Lap 15 - 30.0 km (at 10 laps to go) 1 Gene Bates (Aus) SouthAustralia.com-AIS SA Lotteries - Prime #4 - Finish Arch - Lap 20 - 40 km (at 5 laps to go) 1 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld