Stage 5 - January 19: Gawler - Tanunda, 156km
Complete live report
Start time: 11:00
Welcome to the live coverage of stage five of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, where the riders will be facing a scorching hot day as the temperature had reached 38 degrees by 10.30am. Clear skies, some wind and 156 kilometres of racing through some of South Australia's famous wine country, which is preparing for picking season - always done at the hottest time of the year.
Today's stage presents the best opportunity for one of the riders within striking distance of Saeco rider Fabio Sacchi's slender one second lead of GC to make a move, given that it includes two ascents of Menglers Hill, a climb of over four kilometres, with the final two kilometres of the climb steepening considerably.
However, there are still some 26 kilometres until the finish line in Tanunda after the second KOM ascent of Menglers, but today will certainly favour the adventurous, and those who possess a lizard's liking for hot weather.
11:07 - 0km
After rolling out of Gawler and through the 2.3km neutral stage the peloton commenced stage 5 in earnest after the red flag dropped, and only 200 metres into the race a group of six went clear, including Frederic Bessy (Crédit Agricole), Thierry Loder (AG2r-Prevoyance), Robert Bartko (Telekom), Fabian De Waele (Mapei Quick Step), Regis Lhuillier (La Française Des Jeux) and Adrian Laidler (UniSA).
11:10 - 5km
The pace is on already, as another five bridge to the six leaders, including Laszlo Bodrogi (Mapei Quick Step), Gerrit Glomser (Saeco-Longoni Sport), Thomas Bodo (La Française Des Jeux), Scott Davis (Australian Institute Of Sport) and Peter Dawson (United Water). Then Robbie McEwen (Lotto Adecco) bridges to make a group of 13.
11:15 - 8km
After this flurry of activity, the peloton has caught the attackers, but it looks like the heat is not going to slow them today.
11:24 - 13km
They're off again! This time another group tries to go free, including Thierry Loder (AG2r-Prevoyance), Kai Hundertmarck (Telekom), Laszlo Bodrogi (Mapei Quick Step), Kevin Hulsmans (Mapei Quick Step), Joerg Ludewig (Saeco-Longoni Sport), Nicolas Vogondy (La Française Des Jeux) ,Kurt Van De Wouwer (Lotto Adecco), Robbie McEwen (Lotto Adecco), Steve Williams (Australian Institute Of Sport) and Steve Cunningham (UniSA). They create a small gap on the peloton, being led by Saeco.
11:31 - 19km
After two attacks, Saeco brings back the leaders and the peloton is together again, yet the mood in the bunch is clearly aggressive - today is going to be a long and hard one for the Saeco riders as they try to protect Sacchi's one second lead.
11:36 - 22km
This time another group tries its hand and gains some 500 metres from the peloton - this morning clearly has a high intensity. The attack includes Pierrick Fedrigo (Crédit Agricole), Thierry Loder (AG2r-Prevoyance), Kai Hundertmarck (Telekom), Mikel Astarloza (AG2r-Prevoyance), Luca Paolini (Mapei Quick Step), Nicolas Vogondy (La Française Des Jeux), Bram Tankink (Domo Farm Frites), Kurt Van De Wouwer (Lotto Adecco) and Russell Van Hout (UniSA).
11:42 - 27km
The leaders' gap on the peloton has now increased to 50 seconds and once again, Saeco are left to chase, or at least keep the attackers within range.
None of the attackers pose a real threat to Sacchi's one second lead overall lead, as they are some eight minutes down on the GC. If Mapei wants to win the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, they'll have to help chase down the break so Andrea Tafi (third place on GC five seconds behind) or Daniele Nardello (45 seconds behind) can threaten the leader. The danger to Mapei is that any work they do could benefit AIS rider Michael Rogers, currently second on GC and only one second behind Sacchi. However, Rogers is also part of the Mapei development squad in Italy, even though he is competing in the JCTDU for the AIS, so they may overlook the name on his jersey for today.
11:51 - 33.5km - First Intermediate Sprint
The first intermediate sprint at the town of Jacob's Creek, the town in South Australia where the race's primary sponsor draws its name, was largely uncontested by the break, but to record proceedings the placings were Thierry Loder (AG2r-Prevoyance) in first, followed by Russell Van Hout (UniSA) and then Kurt Van De Wouwer (Lotto Adecco).
12 noon - 41km
As the break of nine riders went through the town of Tanunda for the first time today, the crowds are out in force despite the high temperatures, with people seeking the best viewing spot while also trying to stay out of the baking sun. The leaders, meanwhile, have built up a lead of 1.50 over the peloton.
12:12 - 47km
As the break heads out towards the town on Greenock on one of the laps of the large circuit which includes Menglers Hill, it had built a lead of 2.15 over the peloton. However, shortly after, Bram Tankink (Domo Farm Frites) crashed and may not be able to re-join the leading group.
Before the start, Telekom's Kai Hundertmarck told Cyclingnews' Jeff Jones that "I want to have a good race today. It's going to be a hard race in the heat. I came out here on the 22nd of December and the weather has been quite fresh, now it is hot."
When asked how he felt racing through the wine country of South Australia which has a rich German heritage, Hundertmarck said "it's interesting to speak to the spectators in German, it's good for my motivation". Also motivating Kai will be his memory of actually winning this stage in last year's JCTDU, where he won in a bunch sprint from a select group which had gone clear. Will he be able to repeat that performance this year?
12:37 - 61km
While the gap between the leading group and the peloton hovers at two minutes, the only thing increasing is the temperature, with the mercury now reaching 39 degrees. Saeco, meanwhile, can ride tempo and preserve the slenderest of margins. Prior to the start this morning, Saeco domestique Gerrit Glomser (Aut) told Cyclingnews' Gabriella Ekstrom that is "was going to be hard controlling the race and trying to keep the (leader's) jersey".
Saeco's great rival is of course Mapei - Quick Step, not only in the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under but in nearely every event they race. This morning, Laszlo Bodrogi (Mapei Quick Step), the Hungarian domestique for the super-squad, said the stage "was going to be hard because of the heat. The team will ride for (Daniele) Nardello and (Andrea) Tafi, or we might try to get Luca Paolini in the break". It seems they have gone for plan B, as Paolini is in the break which currently has two minutes on the peloton.
Will Luca get the word to stop working so Mapei can do something about reducing Tafi's five second deficit on GC? With two climbs to come, there is still a lot of racing to come and the heat will certainly affect the leading riders.
13:05 - 76km
The heat and pace certainly did get to the leading group of nine as they were swamped by the peloton as they hit the first ascent of Menglers Hill, and immmediately a quality selection of 15 have gone clear, including Russell Van Hout (UniSA), Michael Rogers (Australian Institute Of Sport), Patrick Jonker (UniSA), Pierrick Fedrigo (Crédit Agricole), Luca Paolini (Mapei Quick Step), Daniele Nardello (Mapei Quick Step), Bradley McGee (La Française Des Jeux), Dave McPartland (United Water), Kurt Van De Wouwer (Lotto Adecco), Alexandre Botcharov (AG2r-Prevoyance), Thierry Loder (AG2r-Prevoyance), Mikel Astarloza (AG2r-Prevoyance), Cadel Evans (Mapei Quick Step) and Baden Cooke (La Française Des Jeux), while Kai Hundertmarck (Telekom) kept up with this new selection.
13:10 - 78.3km
At the King of the Mountain sprint on Mengler Hill, the order over the top was Russell Van Hout (UniSA), Cadel Evans (Mapei Quick Step), Nicolas Vogondy (La Française Des Jeux), Kai Hundertmarck (Telekom) and Thierry Loder (AG2r-Prevoyance).
Immediately after the KOM sprint, a group of eight went clear from the leading 14 which had formed on the climb. This selection included Alexandre Botcharov (AG2r-Prevoyance), Kai Hundertmarck (Telekom), Daniele Nardello (Mapei Quick Step), Luca Paolini (Mapei Quick Step), Cadel Evans (Mapei Quick Step), Kurt Van De Wouwer (Lotto Adecco), Michael Rogers (Australian Institute Of Sport) and Patrick Jonker (UniSA).
Significantly, Fabio Sacchi was not in this group and was left behind in a second group, which also included Stuart O'Grady (Credit Agricole), who attacked this group in an effort to get across to the leaders.
13:26 - 95km
This leading group of eight have caused serious damage to the overall GC, and the JCTDU has a new virtual leader in Mick Rogers from the AIS. The lead group has a lead of 1.05 over a chasing group of 16, which includes Stuart O'Grady and Andrea Tafi, while Fabio Sacchi appears to have surrended his leader's jersey as he is some three minutes behind the leaders, in what remains of the peloton which was shattered by the first climb up Mengler Hill.
Mick Rogers is putting in a huge ride, given that he had a tangle with a TV camera bike prior to the ascent of Mengler Hill. Rogers' bike was badly damaged and he had to use a spectator's bike, before taking off in pursuit of the leaders, cursing as he went up the hill but no doubt motivated to get back into the action.
He then bagged the next intermediate sprint into Angaston at the 92.1km mark and is on fire today.
13:33 - 98km
A group of four try atttacking from the chasing bunch, including Paul Van Hyfte (CSC - Tiscali), Andrea Tafi (Mapei Quick Step), Brad Davidson (Saeco-Longoni Sport) and Anthony Morin (Crédit Agricole), but they caught by the chasers.
Tafi punctures and gets a wheel change.
13:41 - 107km
As the leaders rode out of Greenock on their way to Seppeltsfield, their lead was at 1.14 to the chasing bunch. The official results of the second intermediate sprint at Angaston is Michael Rogers (Australian Institute Of Sport), Luca Paolini (Mapei Quick Step) and Steve Cunningham (UniSA).
Tafi has put in a huge effort to rejoin the chasing group, swearing as he pounded his way back through the support vehicles to make his way back up to the chasing bunch, reports Cyclingnews' Karen Forman, who is following the action today inside the FDJ team car.
Karen also reports that the heat is really taking its toll on some of the field, with riders looking like they are close to suffering heat-stress.
13:52 - 114km
The leaders now have 1.42 on the chasing bunch. Just to confirm, this selection includes Alexandre Botcharov (AG2r-Prevoyance), Kai Hundertmarck (Telekom), Daniele Nardello (Mapei Quick Step), Luca Paolini (Mapei Quick Step), Cadel Evans (Mapei Quick Step), Kurt Van De Wouwer (Lotto Adecco), Michael Rogers (Australian Institute Of Sport) and Patrick Jonker (UniSA). The virtual leader on GC is Mick Rogers.
For the benefit of our American readers, who may not be able to appreciate the temperature of today's stage, currently close to 40 degrees celsius, our technical editor John Stevenson tell us that 40 degrees celsius is equal to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. It's hot out there today.
14:07 - 124km
The leading group was still together as they approached the Mengler Hill climb for the second time today - surely there will be another selection? Their lead on the chasing group is at 1.45, and this group of chasers includes Andrea Tafi and Stuart O'Grady. Jeff Jones reports the temperature is now 42 degrees celsius, or 107.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
14:15 - 130.7km
At the second KOM sprint of the day on top of Mengler Hill Mapei's guns were firing. The order was Cadel Evans (Mapei Quick Step), Daniele Nardello (Mapei Quick Step), Patrick Jonker (UniSA), Michael Rogers (Australian Institute Of Sport) and Alexandre Botcharov (AG2r-Prevoyance).
These five riders went clear on the climb, with Kai Hundertmarck (Telekom) and Kurt Van De Wouwer (Lotto Adecco) losing contact as they aproached the summit. Luca Paolini was dropped much earlier and is now drifting back to the chasing bunch. However, Kai and Kurt are chasing hard to rejoin the leaders.
14:32 - 140km
After another quarter of an hour chasing in the hot sun, it seems Kai Hundertmarck (Telekom) and Kurt Van De Wouwer (Lotto Adecco) will not be able to re-join the leaders and currently trail by 10 seconds. The leading group of five have some two minutes over the large chasing group which includes Andrea Tafi and Stuart O'Grady, and with the major difficulty of the day covered, it looks like the leading five will decide the win.
Earlier this morning, prior to the start, Cyclingnews' Jeff Jones spoke to both Michael Rogers (AIS) and Patrick Jonker (UniSA). Rogers said the stage was going to "hard, hot and windy. The hardest stage is certainly going to be today, and I'll give it my best".
He said his plans were to put then GC leader Fabio Sacchi (Saeco - Longoni Sport) under real pressure: "We'll just try to play our cards right," he said, somewhat prophetically.
Another rider in the leading break is Patrick Jonker, who told Cyclingnews "today is the decisive day. There's a possibility for me to take the (leader's) jersey and it will be interesting to see how the others go in the heat.
"It's normally to my advantage (the hot weather), but it hasn't been that hot, until today."
Riders to look out for? "Nardello and Botcharov," Jonker replied. Both are currently with the UniSA rider as they aproach the finish.
14:40 - 150km (6km to go)
The five leaders - Cadel Evans (Mapei Quick Step), Daniele Nardello (Mapei Quick Step), Patrick Jonker (UniSA), Michael Rogers (Australian Institute Of Sport) and Alexandre Botcharov (AG2r-Prevoyance) - are still together as they approach the finish line, working as a group. Kai Hundertmarck (Telekom) and Kurt Van De Wouwer (Lotto Adecco) are at 38 seconds behind.
14:45 - 153km (3km to go)
Cadel Evans (Mapei) has attacked and has taken a 150 metre lead on the other four leaders.
14:50 - 156km
Evans is giving this last surge everything he has, and as he approaches the finish line in the main street of Tanunda he has maintained a 100 metre lead over the chasers and crosses the line, pumping his fists in the air, clearly delighted with his victory.
Following him at 10 seconds behind is Mick Rogers, who claims second ahead of Daniele Nardello and Alexandre Botcharov (AG2r-Prevoyance), who trail by another 11 seconds. coming in at fifth is Patrick Jonker (UniSA), another 15 seconds in arrears, while Kai Hundertmarck (Telekom) and Kurt Van De Wouwer (Lotto Adecco) finish the stage about 1.30 behind Evans.
Unofficially, Michael Rogers takes the leader's jersey and Evans the stage win, giving the two young Australian riders the daily double for not only their country, but also Italy, given the Mapei connection. Even though Rogers is racing for the Australian Institute of Sport in the JCTDU, he is also part of Mapei's development squad, which has very close links with Australian cycling.
After the finish, an exhausted Rogers told Cyclingnews "we just kept working the whole day", he said of the quality selection which formed on the first ascent of Mengler Hill.
"I though we would win when we got over the top of the climb for the second time, but there's still a bit of work to do (to retain the leader's jersey)."
Rogers said his first bicycle was wrecked after a tangle with a TV motorcycle on the climb of Mengler Hill. However, Rogers was able to use a spectator's bike and actually caught the leaders on the climb, even though they were attacking the main field. "My bike was totally broken," he said. "I did panic a bit - I thought it was all over," he said. As for taking over the GC, the talented 22 year old rider, who won a silver medal in the individual time trial in the U23 category at the 2000 World Road Championships, said he had detected "some holes in his (Fabio Sacchi) armour.
"He (Sacchi) panicked and we took advantage of that," Rogers said.
The victor of the stage today, Cadel Evans, was clearly delighted with his first win on the road for his new team, Mapei - Quick Step. The former winner of the MTB World Cup was warmly embraced by his Italian team after securing the first stage win of the season. "I'm so happy to win my first race for Mapei in front of an Australian crowd. I wasn't sure who would be interested in a going in a break, but it worked out really well."
1 Cadel Evans (Aus) Mapei Quick Step 3.42.21 2 Michael Rogers (Aus) Australian Institute Of Sport 0.16 3 Daniele Nardello (Ita) Mapei Quick Step 0.25 4 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) AG2r-Prevoyance 5 Patrick Jonker (Aus) UniSA 0.33 6 Kai Hundertmarck (Ger) Telekom 1.30 7 Kurt Van De Wouwer (Bel) Lotto Adecco 8 Paul Van Hyfte (Bel) CSC - Tiscali 3.17 9 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Crédit Agricole 10 Anthony Morin (Fra) Crédit Agricole 4.43 General classification after stage 5 1 Michael Rogers (Aus) Australian Institute Of Sport 15.08.15 2 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) AG2r-Prevoyance 0.21 3 Patrick Jonker (Aus) UniSA 0.30 4 Cadel Evans (Aus) Mapei Quick Step 0.40 5 Daniele Nardello (Ita) Mapei Quick Step 0.58 6 Paul Van Hyfte (Bel) CSC - Tiscali 3.14 7 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Crédit Agricole 4.00 8 Andrea Tafi (Ita) Mapei Quick Step 4.38 9 Anthony Morin (Fra) Crédit Agricole 4.40 10 Robert Tighello (Aus) Australian Institute Of Sport 5.19 Sprints classification 1 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto Adecco Mountains classification 1 Cadel Evans (Aus) Mapei Quick Step U23 rider classification 1 Dave McPartland (Aus) United Water Most aggressive rider 1 Luca Paolini (Ita) Mapei Quick Step