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9th Tour Down Under - 2.HC

Australia, January 16-21, 2007

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Down Under Classic - Tuesday, January 16: Adelaide City Council Circuit, 50km

Aussies sweep Down Under Classic

By Mark Zalewski in Adelaide

Mark Renshaw (Credit Agricole)
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
(Click for larger image)

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

Robert McLachlan (Australia-UniSA)
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
(Click for larger image)

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.

Stuart O'Grady (Team CSC)
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
(Click for larger image)

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.

Predictor Lotto were on the front a lot today.
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
(Click for larger image)

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.

Mark Renshaw (Credit Agricole) sensationally wins
Photo ©: Shane Goss
(Click for larger image)

"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                                                  

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