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5th Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under - 2.3

Australia, January 21-26, 2003

Home    Stage profile    Start list    Results

Stage 1: Tuesday Jan 21, Adelaide street race, 50km

Complete live report

Start time: 19:30
Finish time: 20:40

Welcome to the live coverage of stage one of the 2003 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under. Tonight's race is a 25 lap/50 km criterium held in the city streets of Adelaide, which will determine who will wear the first yellow jersey. As there are no time bonuses, and for that matter no time gaps (except for lapped riders), this criterium will have almost no bearing on the final outcome of the race. However, it is a chance for the riders to sharpen their legs up for the stages to come, and it will be as hard fought as all of them.

The 2 km circuit is close to the city centre of Adelaide, starting in Rundle Rd, turning into East Tce, then Bartels Rd, Dequetteville Tce and back into Rundle Rd. The finishing straight is approximately 600m long, and should favour a mass sprint.

Riders to watch tonight are hot favourite for the stage Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo), the very fast Graeme Brown (Panaria), local hero Stuart O'Grady (Credit Agricole), Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com), Julian Dean (CSC), Allan Davis (ONCE), Jaan Kirsipuu (Ag2r), Tom Boonen (Quick Step-Davitamon), Fabio Sacchi (Saeco) and Mark Renshaw (United Water). A race like this is always fairly wide open, but these riders are considered the fastest in the field.

19:30 ACDT
And they're off! 94 riders clip into the pedals for the first stage. As they left, South Australian Premier Mike Rann said "this is the biggest bike race outside of Europe."

The crowds are lined three deep around the whole course, but there are a lot more people near the start/finish, definitely enjoying the atmosphere on this warm summer evening.

The peloton completes the first lap all together, with no-one trying an attack.

19:38 ACDT - Lap 4
After only four laps (8 km), we've already had some action in the race. Steve Cunningham (UniSA), Hans De Clercq (Lotto Domo), Dirk Reichl (Telekom), Igor Astarloa (Saeco-Longoni Sport) and Inigo Chaurreau (Ag2R) attacked on Lap 2, gaining a gap of 200-300m at most. However, the vigilant peloton pulled them back after two laps of freedom.

19:43 ACDT - Lap 6
Mark Scanlon (Ag2r) leads a breakaway group of seven riders past the start/finish line. Nick Gates (Lotto-Domo) is there too. The leaders have 15 seconds advantage over the peloton.

19:46 ACDT - Lap 7
The lead has gone out to 20 seconds, with Credit Agricole chasing hard on the front of the peloton. The riders in the break: Andrea Tafi (CSC), Alvaro Gonzalez De Galdeano (ONCE Eroski), Matt Wilson (FDJeux.com), Mark Scanlon (Ag2R), Fabio Sacchi (Saeco-Longoni Sport), Hans De Clercq (Lotto Domo), and Nick Gates (Lotto Domo).

19:57 ACDT - Lap 10
The break has maintained its 15 second advantage over the main bunch, which is still being towed by O'Grady's mob. The first sprint at lap 10 was won by FDJeux.com's Matt Wilson, with Andrea Tafi edging out Fabio Sacchi for second place.

One of the favourites for this stage is Graeme Brown (Panaria). We spoke to his teammate Brett Lancaster shortly before the stage to find out what the team's plans were. "Our team is going to try and do everything it can to get the win for Brownie," he said.

20:32 ACDT - Lap 12
The gap is still 18 seconds to the seven leaders: Andrea Tafi (CSC), Alvaro Gonzalez De Galdeano (ONCE Eroski), Matt Wilson (FDJeux.com), Mark Scanlon (Ag2R), Fabio Sacchi (Saeco-Longoni Sport), Hans De Clercq (Lotto Domo), and Nick Gates (Lotto Domo).

Ruben Bongiorno (Panaria Fiordo) is 10 seconds off the back of the peloton after a puncture. Also, Credit Agricole's Lilian Jegou crashed, and is chasing at 30 seconds. Noteworthy is Jacky 'Dudu' Durand (FDJeux.com), who is cruising on the back of the peloton showing off to the crowd.

20:35 ACDT - Lap 14
The gap with 11 laps to go is now up to 20 seconds. Jegou is allowed a lap out after his crash and hops back into the race.

20:39 ACDT - Lap 15
This break is looking like staying away now, as they have just 10 laps to go with a comfortable 40 second gap. No-one is really chasing hard in the peloton, but the breakaway is certainly working hard to keep its lead. One of the danger men in a sprint here is Ag2r's Mark Scanlon, but it depends on how well he's maintained his fitness over winter. He doesn't look too bad at the moment!

20:44 ACDT - Lap 17/8 laps to go
A Credit Agricole rider was on the front of the peloton as they came through with 8 laps to go, but the gap is still 40 seconds. However, Andrea Tafi has stopped working in the breakaway, and this may disrupt their cooperation a little.

20:51 ACDT - Lap 20/5 laps to go
The second intermediate was taken out by Andrea Tafi (CSC), followed by Matt Wilson (FDJeux.com) and Fabio Sacchi (Saeco-Longoni Sport). The seven man break now just has 5 laps (10 km to go) in this first stage, still holding 38 seconds on the peloton. Which one of them will win?

The other riders in the break: Alvaro Gonzalez De Galdeano (ONCE Eroski), Mark Scanlon (Ag2R), Hans De Clercq (Lotto Domo), and Nick Gates (Lotto Domo).

20:56 ACDT - Lap 22/3 laps to go
Sacchi attacks with three laps to go, trying to stir up the break a bit. They have lost some momentum as the gap has plummeted to 25 seconds. If they play too much cat and mouse, they will definitely be caught by the bunch and all their hard work will be for nothing.

20:59 ACDT - Lap 23/2 laps to go
Sacchi was caught and the break has lost its momentum. The gap is down to 10 seconds with Lotto-Domo working hard on the front for McEwen, who has been helped by the fact that his teammate Nick Gates hasn't been working much in the break.

McEwen told us this afternoon that "My form is not as good as last year because I started my preparation a bit later (which was intentional). I still want to win this stage."

21:01 ACDT - Lap 24/1 lap to go
Bell lap! The gap was down to five seconds as Gates was dropped from the break. With half a lap to go, they've swallowed them.

21:03 ACDT - Lap 25/0 laps to go
Brett Lancaster leads out for Graeme Brown, then O'Grady and McEwen follow. Cooke is also up there, guaranteeing an Australian victory. Brown wins! Cooke second followed by McEwen.

A rider (believed to be McEwen) has protested against Graeme Brown, as there was some contact between the two in the sprint. However, Brown told us that "Robbie grabbed me as I was coming up to the line," indicating his left hip.

It's now confirmed that Brown has been relegated. That means Baden Cooke is the winner of the first stage of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under. Second is McEwen and third is Luca Paolini (Quick Step-Davitamon).

After learning of his relegation, Brown commented about McEwen that "I can beat him tomorrow and the next day and the next day so it doesn't matter. I think he rode stupid. There was less than one metre on the left and more than 20 on the right."


1 Baden Cooke (Aus) FDJeux.com
2 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo
3 Luca Paolini (Ita) Quickstep-Davitamon