9th Tour Down Under - 2.HC
Australia, January 16-21, 2007
Results & report
Stage 1 - Wednesday, January 17: Mawson Lakes - Tanunda , 152km
Complete live report
Live Commentary by Anthony Tan & Ben Abrahams, with additional reporting from Mark Zalewski
Live coverage starts: 11:00
Estimated finish: 14:58
Goedemorgen - and welcome to another sunny day aboard the Hindenburg V-2
for the opening road stage of the 2007 Tour Down Under.
Thankfully, it's much cooler this morning than last night's criterium; temperatures
around 27-28 degrees, bright sunshine and large crowds greet the riders as they
prepare for the start in Mawson Lakes. It's a still day with virtually no breeze.
We're now less than five minutes away from the race start of today's 155,5 kilometre
journey to Tanunda, where this time last year, a similar stage and day turned
the race on its head, and saw all bar six riders drop out of contention.
Credit Agricole's Mark Renshaw, winner of last night's Down Under Classic, is
ready for a big one today. Writing his exclusive Cyclingnews diary last
night, Renshaw said:
"I think tomorrow's going to be the GC day. I think it's going to be similar
to last year, same kind of stage: dead roads, hot and windy - once 20 guys get
up the road, the race is going to shut down and that's going to be the GC. It's
just that kind of race: there are a lot of guys who are motivated to win, there
are a lot of guys just here for training; once the guys that are motivated get
up the road, that's the race."
Nicolas Roche (Credit Agricole) was in the break last night, telling our Cyclingnews
reeporter in the field, Mark Zalewski, this morning: "Yeah, that was just stretching
the legs, putting on a show," he said. "We'll try and get someone in the early
breaks today but if not we've got Mark Renshaw in great form for the sprint."
Young Victorian Matthew Lloyd, in his neo-pro year with Predictor - Lotto, can
be regarded as an interesting outside bet for overall honours this year.
"This race is like a lot of the races at the end of the season, where there
are no decisive stages with climbs or time trials," he said, "so everyone's
gotta stay on their toes from the start. We're gonna keep an eye on the usual
suspects, O'Grady and Gerrans, and keep Robbie in good position."
And they're off. Well, sort of. 111 riders made their way out of The Promenade
for a 1.8 kilometre neutral section before the official start along Mawson Lakes
11:20 CST 4km/151.5km to go
The peloton is rolling along as one just now. No-one fancies that early move
11:25 CST 7km/148.5km to go
We've got our first attack of the day. Brett Aitken (Australia - UniSA) is about
100 metres clear of the bunch. Will this be the day's big move?
11:26 CST 9km/146.5km to go
Gordon McCauley (New Zealand National Team) and Gene Bates (SouthAustralia.com
- AIS) are trying to bridge up to Aitken.
11:29 CST 9km/146.5km to go
The three escapees get down to business. The time gap back to the peloton is
now 47 seconds.
11:38 CST 18km/130.5km to go
Matthew Goss (CSC), Nicolas Roche (Credit Agricole), Giovanni Bernaudeau (Bouyges
Telecom) and Yuriy Krivtsov (Ag2R) try to join the leaders but they don't get
far. It's still the same three up front with the gap down to 15 seconds.
A little more about last year, in case you've forgotten. A lead group of 23
riders formed 32 kilometres into the 148 km stage, before it was withered away
to a fantastic four 50 kilometres from the finish.
The quartet included 2005 champ Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Liberty Seguros - Wurth),
Simon Gerrans (AG2R - Prevoyance), Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto) and William
Walker (United Water - Australia U23), who broke clear at the highest point
of the day.
The end result saw fortune favour the brave as the baby-faced Gerrans broke
away with five kilometres to go and won the stage, which eventually saw him
being crowned overall champion four days later.
11:47 CST 21.5km/134km to go
We're now five clicks away from the first of two intermediate sprints, the first
coming after 26,5 km along Black Top Rd at One Tree Hill. Isn't that the name
of some girly US TV show?
Race radio has just informed us there's a 10 rider break. We'll have numbers
to you shortly.
11:50 CST 24.5km/131km to go
Holy crap! (Can we say that?) Looks like every team is represented; here we
Martin Elmiger (AG2r Prévoyance), Luke Roberts (Team CSC), Lars Bak (Team CSC),
Mario Aerts (Predictor - Lotto), Matthew Lloyd (Predictor - Lotto), Yannick
Talabardon (Crédit Agricole), Elia Rigotto (Team Milram), Nicolas Crosbie (Bouygues
Telecom), Andy Flickinger (Bouygues Telecom), Gustav Larsson (Unibet.com), Serge
Pauwels (Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen), Glen Chadwick (Navigators
Insurance Cycling Team), Paolo Longo Borghini (Barloworld), Juan Miguel Mercado
(Agritubel), Gene Bates (SouthAustralia.com-AIS), Simon Clarke (SouthAustralia.com-AIS),
Karl Menzies (Australia - UniSA), Gordon McCauley (New Zealand National Team).
We're just heading towards the first sprint now...
11:53 CST 25.5km/130km to go
One kilometre to the first sprint at the hill with one tree, appropriately named
One Tree Hill.
Correction: the break is 18 men strong. They enjoy a lead of 1'37 over le peloton.
11:58 CST 27km/128.5km to go
The 18-man break has just passed the first sprint of the day, where Luke Roberts
of (Team CSC) led the group over the line, followed by Gene Bates (SouthAustralia.com-AIS)
and Juan Miguel Mercado (Agritubel). At this point, their lead was 1'56.
12:01 CST 31km/124.5km to go
The time gap back to the peloton is now two minutes. This is looking like a
12:04 CST 33km/122.5km to go
Lars Bak (Team CSC) has a rear wheel puncture. He rejoins the break with some
crafty drafting behind the team car.
12:08 CST 36km/119.5km to go
It appears the elastic has well and truly snapped... the peloton are sitting
up and the break has over three minutes. 4km to the day's only KOM at Humbug
12:14 CST 39.4km/116.1km to go
1km to the top of Humbug Scrub. Serge Pauwels (Chocolade Jacques - Topsport
Vlaanderen) has a dig with three riders in pursuit.
12:18 CST 40.4km/115.1km to go
A small crowd greets the escapees as they crest the KOM. Pauwels takes the points
from Gustav Larsson (Unibet.com), Paolo Longo Borghini (Barloworld) and Nicolas
Crosbie (Bouygues Telecom)
12:19 CST 42km/113.5km to go
Those four now have 15 seconds with the peloton back at 5'42.
12:27 CST 48km/107.5km to go
The leaders re-group on the descent of Humbug Scrub. Lastest time check from
race radio is 6'20 back to the peloton.
12:37 CST 53km/102.5km to go
The leaders pass through some picturesque rolling hills. They're working pretty
well for a large group, it's now 8'25 back to the bunch. Plenty of time for
a chase just yet but each team has a rider up there.
12:42 CST 60km/95.5km to go
Approaching the second sprint at Williamstown. Seven riders are sprinting for
12:44 CST 61km/94.5km to go
Gene Bates (SouthAustralia.com-AIS) takes maximum points in Williamstown from
Luke Roberts (Team CSC) and Martin Elmiger (AG2r Prévoyance)
Clinton Avery (New Zealand National Team) clearly doesn't want an easy day in
the bunch. He's trying to bridge across solo to the leaders. It's a big ask;
6'14 is the gap just now as he rides tempo on the hoods.
With all teams represented up front it's surely going to be a mammoth gap between
the leaders and the peloton once we cross the line in Tanunda. Any guesses on
what that gap will be? Send us your predictions; closest wins a Cyclingnews
T-shirt. Come on, that's gotta be worth an email!
The peloton crosses the sprint line in Williamstown. They're 6.20 behind a hard
working Clinton Avery and 11'20 behind the leaders. Chocolade Jacques are riding
tempo on the front.
13:05 CST 70km/85.5km to go
We're into wine country now, perhaps the peloton will stop for a quick tipple
- they don't seem to be in any rush. If anyone was wondering why Clinton Avery
is attempting this crazy solo move; there are no under 23 riders up front so
he's going for the white jersey of best young rider.
13:15 CST 77km/78.5km to go
13 minutes and 28 seconds to the peloton. And 6 minutes 15 seconds to the Kiwi
piggy in the middle, Clinton Avery. Well, at least it's not like last year,
where it was race over for all bar five teams after Day 1.
We're now in the finish town of Tanunda, the northernmost finish town of the
2007 TDU, where riders will complete a number of circuits before finishing the
day after 155.5 kilometres' racing.
New Zealand National Team member Clinton Avery is still going strong. This 19
year-old (!) kid from Rotorua is a national and Oceania champion in mountain
biking, and a junior national TT champ. In other words, a big star in the making.
But his palmares notwithstanding, can he bridge a gap to a classy group of 18?
Correction: Breakaway member Simon Clarke (SouthAustralia.com-AIS) is also an
U-23 rider, so if (and it's a big if) Avery bridges, he may not necessarily
be in the young riders' jersey at the end of the day.
13:35 CST 92.5km/63km to go
13'46 is the gap to the peloton, as the leading group of 18 go through the feed
zone at Seppeltfield. Riders appear to be munching on beer-battered John Dory
& hand-cut potato chips.
That was a joke.
The Cyclingnews mailbox has been flooded with time gap predictions, mostly
from readers who seem to be at work. Just make sure the boss doesn't catch you!
Guesses ranged from almost half an hour to a last-minute catch in the final
kilometre. We'll keep you posted...
New Zealand National Team guy Gordon McCauley is requesting more water. It's
warm, but nothing like yesterday. Luckily, the blimp was fitted with reverse
cycle air-con over the break. Wouldn't mind a plunge pool as well though.
15'35 to the peloton. The bunch have totally resigned themselves, and are probably
eating black forest cake for afternoon tea.
14:14 CST 113km/42.5km to go
Eight minutes to rider #137, Clinton Avery. He's not gonna get on now.
Riders in the break are starting to attack each other. Nicolas Crosbie (Bouygues
Telecom) gets 100 metres... now 300 metres, followed by Paolo Longo Borghini
14:18 CST 125.5km/30km to go
Allez, allez, allez! Crosbie (Bouygues Telecom) is in the drops, hammering on
his own with a tentative 15 second advantage. Borghini (Barloworld) didn't make
it across, and is part of the next group of 17 riders.
Our reporter in the field today, Cyclingnews' Mark Zalewski, spoke with New
Zealand team manager Jacques Landry a short while ago, who is in fact a Canadian.
Asked if it was he or Clinton Avery who initiated the chase to the lead group,
Landry replied: "It must've`been his`idea, because it wasn't mine. He is a mountain
biker after all - not too bright, you know. We were hoping a few more would
come across [to chase], but obviously that didn't happen."
With the final 3km being totally pan-flat, it's surely suited to someone with
a fast finish. AIS rider Simon Clarke has some track speed and could get up
there. But don't discount 'Killer' Karl Menzies or Frenchman Andy Flickinger,
winner of the GP Plouay in 2003.
Nicolas Crosbie (Bouygues Telecom) was recaught by his breakaway companions,
but the recapture led to the front group splitting again, as Lars Bak of Team
CSC puts down the hammer.
10 riders have broken clear of the original 18-man lead group: Martin Elmiger
(AG2r Prévoyance), Lars Bak (Team CSC), Matthew Lloyd (Predictor - Lotto), Yannick
Talabardon (Crédit Agricole), Andy Flickinger (Bouygues Telecom), Gustav Larsson
(Unibet.com), Paolo Longo Borghini (Barloworld), Juan Miguel Mercado (Agritubel),
Simon Clarke (SouthAustralia.com-AIS), and Karl Menzies (Australia - UniSA),
with an 18 second lead.
Now Juan Miguel Mercado (Agritubel) attacks the group that attacked the lead
group that attacked the peloton. There's a lot of attacking going on.
Alright, time for some predictions. Thanks to all the readers for your helpful
advice, now it's time to stick our necks out! For me (Ben) it's gotta be CSC's
Lars Bak while Anthony has gone for Karl Menzies. Just enough time to run for
the nearest TAB and place some bets...
We've now got a group of five together in front with a 10 second lead. They
are: Martin Elmiger (AG2r Prévoyance), Lars Bak (Team CSC), Matthew Lloyd (Predictor
- Lotto), Gustav Larsson (Unibet.com) and Karl Menzies (Australia - UniSA)
Three more are in hot pursuit, a further 10 seconds back: Luke Roberts (Team
CSC), Juan Miguel Mercado (Agritubel) and Gene Bates (SouthAustralia.com-AIS)
hammer across to the leaders. It's all kicking off now.
14:51 CST 6km to go
6km to go now, CSC have the numbers advantage upfront with Bak and Roberts
14:54 CST 153.5km/2km to go
2 km to go. The front five have a 28 second lead on the other three.
14:55 CST 154km/1.5km to go
One of these five will win the day.
14:55 CST 154.5km/1km to go
Final k - those 5 again: Martin Elmiger (AG2r Prévoyance), Lars Bak (Team CSC),
Matthew Lloyd (Predictor - Lotto), Gustav Larsson (Unibet.com) and Karl Menzies
(Australia - UniSA).
Menzies has a gap!
14:57 CST 155.5km/0km to go
Killer Karl Menzies wins comfortably!!!! Drinks on me tonight!!!!
AG2r Prévoyance's Martin Elmiger wins the sprint home for second, followed by
CSC's Lars Bak. A tough-as-nails Tasmanian in the race leader's jersey tonight
- what more could you want?!
Well, once again, Stage 1 of the TDU turns decisive. While we wait for the peloton
to roll across the finish line here in Tanunda, who are currently more than
10 minutes in arrears, it's obvious that one of 18 riders is set to win the
From the events of yesterday and today, it's clear that there's a large group
of Aussies in form, a handful of Euro-dogs and a Kiwi or two. From today's successful
breakaway group, one third are Australian, with three Frenchmen, two Italians,
a Dane, a Belgian, a Dutchman, a Spaniard, a Swede, a Swiss and a Kiwi apiece.
Thanks for tuning in to CN FM at the 2007 Tour Down Under. We hope to see you
again tomorrow at 11am, when Stage 2 kicks off from Mannum, a 150 kilometre
journey that ends in the German-influenced town of Hahndorf.
Auf Wiedersehen und danke!
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