11th Tour Down Under - ProT
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, January 18-25, 2009
Results & report
Stage 1 - January 20: Norwood - Mawson Lakes, 140 km
Complete live report
Good morning from sunny South Australia. Today we will be bringing you the first
stage of Tour Down Under, the 140 kilometre stage from Norwood to Mawson Lakes.
Riders will tackle two King of the Mountains and as many sprint competitions
over the course of today. Coverage kicks off from 11 AM CDT. Join us then as
Lance Armstrong takes on his first ProTour stage of 2009.
Welcome back to Cyclingnews’ live coverage of the 2009 Tour Down Under.
Today’s race will start in the suburb of Norwood, which is in South Australia’s
oldest local government municipality. The peloton rolls out of Norwood towards
Gepps Cross, some 11 kilometres down the road, where the neutral zone will finish
and the race begins.
While it’s only 25 degrees Celsius outside at the moment – with 69% humidity
– it’s the making of a warmish day. The mercury is expected to entre the low
30s as the day moves on – toasty compared to the Northern European weather many
of the riders would otherwise be training in, but not a super warm day by recent
standards in Adelaide.
As the riders are carrying out their last checks with the stage just minutes
away from starting, we’re keen on hearing from the readers. Feel free to send
your predictions, comments, or just general rants to firstname.lastname@example.org
– we will print a few as the day rolls on.
And we're away! The peloton is rolling out of Norwood towards Mawson Lakes,
which is about 20 kilometres down the road. The peloton will pass through Mawson
Lakes in the first hour, then return shortly before 3 PM this afternoon for
Mark has asked if Allan Davis looks good in blue and white? I'll be honest with
you Mark, I don't often say this, but having seen Alby in the lobby yesterday
wearing his Quick Step kit, clean shaven, with nice hair cut, yeah, he was looking
Lets not forget Allan isn't the only Davis in this year's race. Scott Davis
is also competing as a part of the UniSA/Australian National team.
The first sprint in today’s race comes at kilometre 30.3, at One Tree Hill’s
Main Street. The second doesn’t come until kilometre 95.6, where riders will
sprint down Williamstown Road in Sandy Creek, after the feed station at Yetti
Road in Williamstown.
For those that missed the precursor to today’s stage, the Cancer Council Criterium,
it was Robbie McEwen (Katusha) who took a sprint victory over Milram rival Wim
Stroetinga. The duo flew past Andre Greipel whose Columbia team had put in a
solid showing, only to fall just outside the podium positions.
Speaking of Sunday’s race, second placed Wim Stroetinga spoke to Cyclingnews
before rolling out this morning. He’s thinking about having another go on today’s
“There’s always a chance [for me] when it’s a sprint. I’ll try to get position
- on Sunday it was really hard to get into position. Today is going to be a
longer race with some hills; I don’t know how I’ll sprint after a few hills.
If it’s a sprint I’ll try to win it.”
Wim added: “It was the first race of the season on Sunday. I’d done the Rotterdam
Six before then; Sunday was like a track race which was perfect. Today is different
but sprinting is still the same.”
After recording a massive 138,000 fans at Sunday night's race, crowd figures
look to be on their way to another record already today. Thousands of people
were present at the start line and also through the neutral zone this morning.
Probably a few people pulling sickies in Adelaide today - although we've already
heard from a few who haven't been able to escape the office.
The riders are getting close to the official start in Gepps Cross - around one
kilometre to go before the racing begins. Obviously there's no racing until
they reach this point - but to those who have e-mailed in, we will let you know
what's happening as the riders attack the course and one another.
A King of the Mountains will be contested shortly after the first sprint, at
kilometre 39.3 in Gould Creek. The second will come just before the feed station
at Checker Hill, 61.1 kilometres into the stage.
The highest the riders will climb to throughout today’s stage is 450 metres
above sea level.
There's clearly a few fans of little Robbie McEwen out there today - with the
Katusha rider the most backed rider for today's win out of all the fan e-mails
we've received thus far.
The news isn't so good for Katusha's team kit, nor Columbia's for that matter,
with fans telling they don't like this year's getups. Steve said: "It appears
the contest for the ugliest team outfit has started...Columbia/High Road is
just plain bad and is out in front...and Astana and Katusha are not much better.
A shame such good riders getting around in bad kit. "
As the peloton takes to the race start the only thing leaving the peloton is
the photographer motorbikes.
Riders experienced a hot day during Monday’s ‘rest day’ temperatures reached
over 40 degrees Celsius, but several team managers refused to bow to rider’s
calls to cut their training rides short. The message to most was if you can’t
train for five hours in the dry heat, you’ve got no hope of racing in it. Tough
love that one.
Olivier Kaisen (Silence-Lotto) and Andoni Lafuente (Euskaltel-Euskadi) are the
first riders to attack on today's stage.
Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) won't be doing any attacking just yet,
the Spaniard has dropped back to the team car to fix a problem with his shoe.
Our two leaders - Olivier Kaisen (Silence-Lotto) and Andoni Lafuente (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
- have been given some breathing room by the peloton with the gap out to one
Australia's Graeme Brown (Rabobank) told us this morning Sunday's third place
was both good and bad for the rider. “Sunday wasn’t quite to plan, but the important
thing was, from a team perspective, the director wanted us to ride as a team,
and that’s what we did. Everyone did a good job. I got a little excited in the
finish… close, but no cigar.”
Brown added that today is all about the final five kilometres, where he's hoping
for a sprint finish. “We’ve got some really strong riders here this year - there’s
probably four guys that can help me. When it comes to the final five kilometres
that’s when we really want to make our mark, which is a complete opposite to
last year. Last year we rode on the front every day and this year we’re not
going to do that. We’re going to do it in the last four kilometres where it
counts. The most important thing about this tour is that we do it right. If
we don’t win it doesn’t matter, we want to make sure we do it right.”
11:38 CST 8/132 to go
As the day's stage nears its first 10 kilometres, Olivier Kaisen (Silence-Lotto)
and Andoni Lafuente (Euskaltel-Euskadi) continue to draw out their margin over
le peloton. They now have 1.45 minutes over the group.
As most of you will be aware, this year’s event is also the comeback race of
Tour de France champions Lance Armstrong (Astana) and Oscar Pereiro (Caisse
d’Eparnge). Both riders have spoken to Cyclingnews.com about their returns –
one from retirement and the other from a horrifying injury during last year’s
Tour de France – so check out the interviews on the homepage. You can also see
video footage from Sunday’s crazy-long press conference with Armstrong.
I ran into defending champion Andre Greipel from Team Columbia in the lift this
morning…along with the entire Bbod-Bouygues Telecom team (lucky it was a big
lift). I’ve got to say Greipel looked like he’d been to the Kimi Raikkonen school
of cool. The German said at the weekend there’s no pressure on him this week,
and the only thing he’s showing is a set of ripped calf muscles.
Olivier Kaisen (Silence-Lotto) and Andoni Lafuente (Euskaltel-Euskadi) have
been doing some work over the last three kilometres. The duo are working well
together according to reports from the motorbike and have now pulled the gap
out to 3.15 minutes.
Hudd has asked the question I was frankly hoping nobody would - for my pick
on today's stage. I'm honestly torn on this one, we've got so many great sprinters
in this year's field and I think that's what it will come down to. Columbia
has a strong team, with Greipel having last year's stage winner Mark Renshaw
as a lead out man, that's a strong combination. With the said, Master McEwen
was nothing short of impressive on Sunday's criterium and Brownie is also keen
on knocking off his compatriot for a win.
I will say this: whoever takes it, it's going to be a great finish.
11:50 CST 14/126 to go
Olivier Kaisen (Silence-Lotto) and Andoni Lafuente (Euskaltel-Euskadi) are now
out to 4.20 minutes over the peloton. The group will likely let them out to
about six minutes and keep them hanging around there.
Matthew Hayman is hoping to lead out Brownie for a Rabobank win today. Hayman
was taken out - in every sense of the word - of last year's event. The headbut
incident led organisers to throw the first person out of the race in its history,
while Hayman was out with a broken collarbone.
“Mike’s [Turtur] made the race a bit harder this year, so there’ll be a few
more hills out there today. We’ll just have to see what happens – there’s a
bit of wind around, so out on the road we’ll know more. On Sunday it was a criterium,
so it’s a bit different, and everyone still has to find their legs on the hills.
We’re pretty confident it’ll be a bunch sprint, and hopefully I can drop Brownie
off somewhere close to the finish and we can get some runs on the board.”
Reports from the finish line indicate the crowd there is already three people
deep and growing. For those who have asked, we've hit a technical problem today
which means we won't be displaying images during the live coverage. With that
said we do have the equipment with us and will be doing this on the remaining
11:59 CST 20/120 to go
Olivier Kaisen (Silence-Lotto) and Andoni Lafuente (Euskaltel-Euskadi) have
pulled away to 5.45 minutes. The peloton should start to slow the pairs progress
now and hold them around the six to seven minute mark for the time being.
New Fuiji-Servetto rider William Walker from Australia has decided he wants
a slice of the breakaway action. Walker has attacked the peloton in pursuit
of the two leaders.
Walker, whose brother is a professional snowboarder, has pulled out a 400 metre
gap on the peloton.
12:07 CST 25/115 to go
Some 25 kilometres into the race the two leaders Olivier Kaisen (Silence-Lotto)
and Andoni Lafuente (Euskaltel-Euskadi) hold a 6.25 minute lead over the peloton.
Interestingly Will Walker's (Fuji-Servetto) efforts are paying off, he's only
4.55 minutes behind the pair now.
It's another Aussie attack as Robbie McEwen (Katusha) and Jack Bobridge (UniSA)
leave the front of the peloton. That means Aussie, Aussie, Aussie are chasing
Mickael Buffaz (Cofidis) and Pablo Urtasun (Euskaltel - Euskadi) have now joined
McEwen and Bobridge to form a group of four.
The peloton has split in two in reaction to the four riders - Robbie McEwen
(Katusha) Jack Bobridge (UniSA), Mickael Buffaz (Cofidis) and Pablo Urtasun
(Euskaltel - Euskadi) -breaking away from it.
Two kilometres out from the first sprint and the peloton is back together. Clearly
the threat of Robbie McEwen (Katusha) Jack Bobridge (UniSA), Mickael Buffaz
(Cofidis) and Pablo Urtasun (Euskaltel - Euskadi) getting away proved too great
and the peloton had to act.
12:15 CST 29/111 to go
A Lampre rider has gone down - we're waiting on confirmation as to who it was.
Will Walker's gap to the leaders - Olivier Kaisen (Silence-Lotto) and Andoni
Lafuente (Euskaltel-Euskadi) - remains at 4.55 minutes, while the peloton is
5.35 minutes behind the duo.
On Sunday evening’s race Master Armstrong had a peak at the front of the peloton,
flanked by two Astana teammates before retreating back to the middle of the
pack – where he was still surrounded by teammates. While Armstrong said he’d
throw caution to the wind for the criterium, he also said he’ll have a crack
at whatever opportunity comes his way for the remainder of the week.
So we could see Armstrong making some headlines later in the week…that would
sure be a change, he’s hardly been in the media at all so far.
We've had confirmation it was Lampre's Vitaliy Buts from the Ukraine that came
down earlier. The rider has rejoined the peloton.
12:19 CST 30.3/109.7 to go
Olivier Kaisen (Silence-Lotto) has taken the first sprint win over Andoni Lafuente
(Euskaltel-Euskadi) at Main Street in One Tree Hill. William Walker (Fuji-Servetto)
is still ahead of the peloton and so should take third spot.
Okay, okay, so just to set the record straight we've had plenty of people come
in to bat for Team Columbia's kit following our earlier feedback. I guess it's
one of those love it or hate it things!
12:24 CST 38.8/101.2 to go
The two leaders - Olivier Kaisen (Silence-Lotto) and Andoni Lafuente (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
- are just 500 metres away from the day's first KOM now.
It's all over for William Walker (Fuji-Servetto) as the peloton reaches the
KOM. Walker has been all but caught at Gould Creek.
Brian has corrected me on yesterday's max temperature in Adelaide - it was 37
not 40. I guess the reading outside the markets near Adelaide's Hilton Hotel
is a few degrees out!
Will Walker (Fuji-Servetto) has claimed third place in the KOM competition.
The Australian is fighting to hold onto his slim margin over the peloton.
Will Walker (Fuji-Servetto) has finally been caught - he was probably just holding
on to take the KOM bounty. The speed in the peloton is increasing.
Saxo Bank's Matthew Goss was feeling good ahead of today's stage. “I think the
legs should be ok – I’ve done a lot of racing but not so many long kilometres
in the saddle. I should be good if it comers to a [smaller] finish, I think
I’ve got the legs to be up there, and hopefully I’ll get the chance to do that
during the week.
“The guys are pretty geed. If I get out there I’d like to reward them with a
win, especially if they’re working for me.”
With some 30 kilometres before the next climb, the riders are taking the opportunity
to have a feed.
Andoni Lafuente (Euskaltel-Euskadi) took out the first KOM sprint from Olivier
Kaisen (Silence-Lotto). William Walker (Fuji-Servetto) took third from fellow
Aussie Jack Bobridge (UniSA) while Aitor Hernandez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) took
Graeme tells me the temperature has just clocked 30.3 degrees just near where
the riders currently are.
Paul from Sydney believes Robbie McEwen (Katusha) might not only take today's
stage, but also the overall tour. It's a big call, given race director Mike
Turtur has tried to put in some extra climbs for this year's race, like a second
lap of Willunga.
While the action has died down a little, many are asking about that guy from
Texas. What's his name? Lance Armstrong? Anyway, in response to the question
what is he doing the answer is not much. He may have won seven Tour de Frances
but after three years "drinking beer and sitting on my arse", as he put it,
Lance will likely spend the day just getting use to riding in the peloton.
Armstrong could, however, show his condition later in the week on the stages
to Stirling and Willunga.
My thoughts are with Michael from Canada who said "-14C here in Toronto, with
about 30cm of fresh snow". Should I rub in the fact I'm wearing shorts, sunnies
and a t-shirt, or does it go without saying?
As for the questions about cow reports - we were discussing this in the lift
this morning! While Jeff Jones now works on our sister website Bikeradar.com,
we're going to try and get some cow spotting in later in the week.
The peloton has brought back a little time on the leaders Olivier Kaisen (Silence-Lotto)
and Andoni Lafuente (Euskaltel-Euskadi). The gap is now at 6 minutes even.
For those who haven't heard - Armstrong is riding in his Astana team kit, however
he is riding the much-publicized black Livestrong Trek. The bike itself had
a close call after Sunday night's race; the bike was being photographed by some
punters as it was being taken back to the race village from the Hilton Hotel
- meanwhile a driver in a Holden Commodore turning right narrowly missed it.
So what have we learned? Don't take photos of a black bike on the road at night.
Our leaders Olivier Kaisen (Silence-Lotto) and Andoni Lafuente (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
are three kilometres from the second KOM climb.
Geoffery thinks tomorrow's stage will cause some issues for the peloton: "No
one has really mentioned how tough tomorrows stage is going to be...From my
experience riding through the hills of Adelaide, the riders are going to drop
13:03 CST 60/80 to go
The leaders gap continues to yoyo in the safe zone. Olivier Kaisen (Silence-Lotto)
and Andoni Lafuente (Euskaltel-Euskadi) are now 6.30 minutes ahead of the peloton
- which can easily be brought back by the riders.
Whether you like the muscle men's jerseys or not, Team Columbia is at the head
of the peloton.
My good mate and Cyclingnews contributor Bruce Hildenbrand has also pointed
out this race is young Tim Duggan's comeback race. He had that horrific crash
in last year's Tour of Georgia - suffering a pretty severe brain injury and
was in the hospital for over a month.
I met the Garmin-Slipstream rider in the lift on Sunday (sensing a theme here
anyone?) and I must say he's a most delightful young fella - who looks remarkably
similar to his teammate Cameron Meyer. Duggan said he was just loving the weather
in Australia - consider it a welcome back present mate!
Team vehicles are being cautioned as they reach the day's second KOM climb as
the crowd is so large. Good to see the Adelaide people are getting out and supporting
this event - and soaking up the gorgeous weather.
Just a reminder to all, a major partner in this year's race is Cancer Council
SA - remember to slip, slop, slap!
13:12 CST 61/79 to go
The leaders gap has come down substantially over the second KOM climb. The gap
has dropped from 6.30 minutes down to 4.35 minutes.
Tim has just asked why there isn't a Time Trial in the Tour down under. It's
a good question and the answer is logistics. As you know, Australia is a distant
island and the expense to bring teams and equipment from Europe and the Americas
is pretty high. If teams had to bring Time Trial bikes, in addition to normal
road frames, it would double the amount of equipment they need to bring and
is therefore cost prohibitive.
That's not to say it will never happen, but it is also less common for the earlier
ProTour races in each season to have a Time Trial.
Sam thinks Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Slipstream) could be a winner in this year's
young rider competition. It's a prediction I sure wouldn't bet against!
Andoni Lafuente (Euskaltel-Euskadi) has claimed the second KOM over Olivier
Kaisen (Silence-Lotto). Simon Clarke (UniSA) was the first out of the peloton
to cross the line and take third place, followed by Aitor Hernandez (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
and Bernhard Eisel (Team Columbia).
Gerald is also talking logistics and has asked about team cars. These are sourced
locally for Tour Down Under - and supplied by event sponsor Skoda Auto. Skoda
started out as a bicycle manufacturer in the 1800s before moving into cars and
is now owned by the Volkswagen Group whose major shareholder is now Porsche,
for all you rev-heads out there.
The riders are now on their way to the feed station on Yetti Road. With the
heat out there today, I doubt they will be running into any Abominable Snowmen
(although, I have been wrong before!).
Columbia is leading the peloton so should they come across an Abominable Snowman,
I'm backing Greipel to take it out. That guy is like a brick wall.
13:40 CST 79/61 to go
The gap to our leaders continues to decrease, it's now at 2.45 minutes.
Ewoud tells me Kai Reus (Rabobank) is also making a comeback at this year's
race. Reus, a former Junior Road World Champion crashed in the Alpes while training
and was in an induced coma for a month.
Simon Clarke (UniSA) took third at the last KOM, the rider spoke to us prior
to the start. “We’re going to definitely be attentive for all the breakaways
today. We’re just not sure how it’s going to work out. In previous years there’s
always been a big group that slips away, but last year being ProTour they definitely
raced in a different fashion so it’s a bit hard how to tell whether it’s going
to go back to the old ways, but either way we’ve got to be prepared.”
“I think the wind will be a factor today; it’s blowing quite strongly over some
sections where teams can commit if they want to do some damage. Today’s more
about being attentive, especially for a team like ours and we can see what’s
thrown at us.”
13:46 CST 83/57 to go
The gap is sitting at 2.50 minutes - meaning the peloton is holding them at
this time. This should allow the peloton to time the catch of the duo to perfection.
If they catch the pair two early, it will allow another break to go in the final
kilometres, too late and they've stuffed their chances.
By holding the riders here the peloton can ensure it will be able to chase down
the pair after they've claimed the final sprint points.
The gap is down to 2.05 minutes as the peloton reach the feed zone (no reports
of snowmen, for the record). We should see the break riders allowed to stay
away for another 10 kilometres before being brought back.
The readers' favoured friend for today's stage win Robbie McEwen (Katusha) has
just stopped on the side of the road. The Australia is swapping bikes.
The teams have been cautioned by race radio of a "nasty" corner at the bottom
of the descent at kilometre 104, following the final KOM for the day.
Matthew Hayman (Rabobank) has rejoined the peloton after a wheel change.
News from Cyclinews' man in the field, Les Clarke, is that people are out in
numbers for today. Clarke said: "There's huge crowds at Williamstown - I didn't
even know that many people lived there."
Fans are lining the streets with 'Go Robbie' and 'Go Lance' banners.
14:07 CST 95.6/44.4 to go
Olivier Kaisen (Silence-Lotto) and Andoni Lafuente (Euskaltel-Euskadi) took
the first two spots at the day's final sprint. Andre Greipel (Team Columbia)
has sounded a warning to his rivals by taking third with a sprint out of the
David thinks Julian Dean will win today's stage (no prizes for guessing where
David is from) - the Garmin-Slipstream leader has some strong lead out men like
Chris Sutton and Cameron Meyer to work with.
Teams have again been warned about the upcoming descent to Gawler, where riders
will face a fast approach to two right hand corners.
Greipel has grabbed a valuable one second time bonus with his third placing
in the intermediate sprint. The sprint rewards are as follows:
1 - three seconds, six points
2 - two seconds, four points
3 - one second, two points
1 - ten seconds, eight points
2 - six seconds, six points
3 - four seconds, four points
It seems little Master McEwen has heard your calls - his Katusha squad is controlling
the action at the front of the peloton.
Olivier Kaisen (Silence-Lotto) and Andoni Lafuente (Euskaltel-Euskadi) look
set to be caught as Columbia and Katusha work together to close the gap. The
leaders now have a slim 1.05 minutes over the rest of the peloton.
A Silence - Lotto rider has attacked the peloton.
Jack Bobridge (UniSA) has attacked the peloton as the gap to the leaders has
hit one minutes.
Olivier Kaisen (Silence-Lotto) is now alone at the front, with Jack Bobridge
(UniSA) chasing him down.
Jack Bobridge (UniSA) has not only caught Olivier Kaisen (Silence-Lotto), but
attacked the rider immediately. The new Australian Under 23 Road Champion is
clearly keen to show his form to the world.
Andoni Lafuente (Euskaltel-Euskadi) has now been caught by the main peloton
after 110 kilometres off the front.
Olivier Kaisen (Silence-Lotto) is now just 500 metres ahead of the peloton.
Jack Bobridge (UniSA) has pulled out 1.30 minutes over the peloton as Columbia
drives the pace higher to catch the runaway youngster.
14:43 CST 119/21 to go
In just one kilometre the peloton has pulled back the 17 seconds Olivier Kaisen
(Silence-Lotto) had over it, leaving just Jack Bobridge (UniSA) away.
Jack Bobridge's (UniSA) gap has been brought back to just 55 seconds.
14:51 CST 125/15 to go
Well there's some good news for followers of the Lance circus. The tenacious
Texan said a failure in his comeback would be being dropped on today's climbs
- but 125 kilometres in and the seven time Tour de France winner is still with
Fans in Gawler were going crazy as Jack Bobridge (UniSA) passed through his
home town in the race lead.
With 10 kilometres remaining, Jack Bobridge (UniSA) holds a 40 second lead.
Remy di Gregorio (Francaise des Jeux) has returned to the peloton after swapping
Officials have announced that early breakaway rider Olivier Kaisen (Silence-Lotto)
will be rewarded for his efforts with today's Most Aggressive Rider jersey.
15:01 CST 132/8 to go
Jack Bobridge (UniSA) is set to be caught on the flat run into Mawson Lakes,
with the youngster now holding a slim 30 second lead.
Jack Bobridge's narrow margin is getting smaller by the kilometre. The UniSA
rider looks certain to be caught as the peloton flies into Mawson Lakes for
what is set to be a sprint finish.
Jack Bobridge (UniSA) has been caught by the peloton.
The finish is flat and wide going into Mawson Lakes, perfect for several trains
of riders to vie for the win.
Liquigas has moved to the front with Columbia as the riders enter the final
Team Columbia again has the front of the group, can they make up for the loss
on Sunday night for Greipel?
Rabobank is moving forward as the race entres its last kilometre.
Team Columbia has the lead heading home. Greipel looks set to take the win.
Greipel is sure to take it, making up for last Sunday's loss for Columbia.
Greipel claims victory in a close sprint, with Stuart O'Grady (Saxo Bank) taking
Baden Cooke (UniSA) has taken third place while Jacopo Guanieri (Liquigas) takes
Well, there you have it ladies and gentlemen, a young Aussie in Jack Bobridge
(UniSA) has done his hometown proud in the last half of the race while defending
champion Andre Greipel (Team Columbia) has claimed a stage victory.
Thanks for joining me for today's stage. We will be back at 11 AM local time
tomorrow to do it all again. Tomorrow's Stage 2 is expected to be a tough one
which should see the general classification given a shake.
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