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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 2 - Wednesday, Jan 22, Jacob's Creek - Kapunda 140 km

Complete live report

Start time: 11:00
Finish time: 14:20

Welcome to the live coverage of stage 2 of the 2003 Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under. Today's stage takes place in South Australia's famous wine growing region, the Barossa Valley, situated to the northeast of Adelaide. Starting from the Jacob's Creek Visitor's Centre at Jacob's Creek, the route travels gradually uphill until the first sprint at Mt Pleasant (km 47). There is another sprint at Eden Valley (km 62), followed by 40 km of flattish roads until the day's main obstacle, Menglers Hill (km 103). This is a steep 1.3 km climb, and has always split the race up in the past. However, the riders will still be fresh today and so it might not create the big splits.

The finish in Kapunda is 37 km from the summit of Menglers Hill, and is largely downhill.

The weather conditions are still quite good for racing, with temperatures expected to reach 28 degrees Celsius. It's dry and sunny, as usual.

11:05 ACDT - 0 km
They're off for the first road stage of this year's race. The 94 riders rolled out of the Jacob's Creek Visitor's Centre for a 1 km neutral section before the flag dropped on the Barossa Valley Highway.

What's the plan today? Baden Cooke is in the race leader's yellow jersey, but he and the FDJeux.com team are under instructions not to defend it, as Cooke's main aim here is to win stages rather than the overall GC. That leaves the race wide open for everyone else of course, as all riders received the same time in last night's criterium. Except for Graeme Brown, who was penalised 30 seconds for deviating off his line in the sprint last night.

11:13 ACDT - 6 km
The peloton is still together after 6 km, with no-one trying an early attack yet. But that will not last for long, you can be sure.

Kevin Van Impe (Lotto-Domo) has had to change a wheel due to a puncture, and is chasing to rejoin the group.

11:31 ACDT - 15 km
There's been no racing yet as the peloton moves gently along through the Barossa. In about 5 km they'll start climbing, heading towards Williamstown and then the first sprint at Mt Pleasant (km 46). The riders are being cheered on by numerous spectators along the sides of the road, who have come out not only to watch the bike race but also support this big and colourful event in their state.

Today many riders will be watching Stuart O'Grady, who finds it pretty hard to hide in the bunch at the best of times. Now with his national champion's jersey on his back he stands out even more. He spoke to us this morning before the start, giving his thoughts on the stage.

"The break will probably go before Menglers, so the plan is to watch FDJ very closely today," he said.

11:39 ACDT - 20 km
It's been an uncharacteristically sedate start to the stage today, as the peloton remains together on its way up to Williamstown. They've just climbed an 800m hill, but still have a bit of climbing to come before the first sprint.

Defending JCTDU champion Michael Rogers said this morning before the start that "Today there's no real flat. I think that it will sort the boys from the men. So I'll try and make sure that I make the front group."

11:47 ACDT - 25 km
The first attack of the day was made at 23 km, with three riders getting clear for a short period of time. They were caught by the peloton, but that will probably mark the end of the quiet part of this stage.

ONCE's Allan Davis had a mechanical problem - possibly loose handlebars, but he's back in the peloton now.

11:57 ACDT - 29 km
Russell Van Hout (UniSA) has attacked, and has a 19 second lead. His effort came at the 27 km mark, and was the first really successful move in this stage. Can he stay clear to take the first sprint at Mt Pleasant?

12:18 ACDT - 39 km
After 36 km Russell Van Hout (UniSA) had extended his lead to 5'36 over the lethargic peloton. That's a big lead, but there's still 100 km to go. The first sprint is approaching at Mt Pleasant, and Van Hout will certainly take it.

12:29 ACDT - 46 km
Van Hout takes the first sprint at Mt Pleasant, gaining the maximum 6 points for it. He'll also win the second sprint at Eden Valley (km 62) unless something drastic happens in the peloton. That will give him 12 points in the competition, and he could find himself in the sprint jersey at the end of the day.

Second was Ashley Hutchinson (United Water) followed by Matt Wilson (FDJeux.com), who now also has 12 points.

Van Hout has ridden professionally for Selle Italia since 2000, but rumour has it that he's switching teams shortly to join British Division III team Endurasport.com.

12:49 ACDT - 62 km
As they approach the second sprint at Eden Valley, it's still Russell Van Hout (UniSA) out in front of the peloton by 3 minutes. A small group attempted to break clear of the peloton in pursuit of Van Hout, but they were recaptured.

As expected, Van Hout takes the second sprint and now has 12 points. Second was Jens Voigt (Credit Agricole) and third was Daniele Nardello (Telekom).

We spoke with ONCE's Allan Davis today, who is a real chance for this stage. "I think it's going to be very aggressive with only one ascent of Menglers today," he said. "So the plan is to watch everything because today will be the decisive day."

12:58 ACDT - 69 km/71 km to go
The latest time gap between the peloton and Russell Van Hout is 6 minutes at the Mt Eden sprint. Two of his UniSA teammates are on the front of the peloton, trying to slow down the field.

There have been several attempts by riders to get clear of the bunch, including Daniele Nardello (Telekom), who tried to chase him alone but was unsuccessful and is now back in the peloton. The latest group to attack consists of Kurt Van De Wouwer (Quickstep-Davitamon), Inigo Chaurreau (Ag2R) and Lennie Kristensen (CSC). The trio have 30 seconds on the peloton.

13:06 ACDT - 75 km/65 km to go
The chasing trio now have 45 seconds to the peloton, as they head towards Angaston. Van Hout has 5'10 to the chasers, and 5'55 to the peloton. He's riding along the flats at around 50 km/h, so he's not hurting yet. The last 15 km have been with a tailwind, and Van Hout has been reaching speeds of 80 km/h on small descents.

13:12 ACDT - 80 km/60 km to go
Van Hout is now three kilometres from Angaston, and 23 kilometres from Menglers Hill. His lead is still over 5 minutes.

13:22 ACDT - 87 km/53 km to go
Van Hout is still 6 minutes in front of the main peloton, but is losing group to the three chasers: Kurt Van De Wouwer (Quickstep-Davitamon), Inigo Chaurreau (Ag2R) and Lennie Kristensen (CSC). They have closed to within 4 minutes of the UniSA rider.

2 minutes behind them, another group has gone off the front of the peloton. This contains Mikel Astarloza (Ag2R), Robbie McEwen (Lotto Domo), Fabio Sacchi (Saeco-Longoni Sport), Steffen Wesemann (Telekom), Nicolas Inaudi (Ag2R), Cedric Herve (Credit Agricole), Thomas Bruun Eriksen (CSC), and Alvaro Gonzalez De Galdeano (ONCE Eroski). It's a dangerous move, but doesn't contain all the big names.

Bobby Julich (Telekom) told us this morning that "We've got a good rider for GC in Steffen Wesemann, so we'll be riding for him today to try and bring him up the overall classification." Now's his chance!

13:31 ACDT - 97 km/43 km to go
Van Hout is getting close to Menglers Hill, having only 5 km to go until the top of the feared climb. Chasing him are three groups: A trio with Van De Wouwer, Chaurreau and Kristensen, who lead a group of eight with Astarloza, McEwen, Sacchi, Wesemann, Inaudi, Herve, Eriksen and Alvaro Gonzalez De Galdeano by 1'45. The bunch is another 1'15 behind them.

13:43 ACDT - 103 km/37 km to go
Russell Van Hout (UniSA) looks comfortable as he climbs Menglers Hill, but he's losing a lot of ground to the three riders chasing him. Van De Wouwer, Chaurreau and Kristensen are now only 1'45 behind the Australian, and should make contact.

Behind them is a group with Astarloza (not Cooke as earlier reported), McEwen, Sacchi, Wesemann, Inaudi, Herve, Eriksen and Alvaro Gonzalez De Galdeano, another 1'30 back. The peloton is now 6'45 behind Van Hout.

13:48 ACDT - 105 km/35 km to go
Cresting the top of the climb, and it's Van Hout taking the points. 1'33 behind him is Van De Wouwer's group of three, followed at 2'55 by McEwen's group of eight.

13:55 ACDT - 108 km/32 km to go
Van Hout has been caught by the group of three now, with just over 30 km to go. So we have four riders being chased by eight, who are within 1'30. The peloton seems to be out of contention for this stage now.

14:07 ACDT - 116 km/24 km to go
The leading four have 1 minute to McEwen's eight man group, who in turn have 40 seconds to a new group that has gone off the front of the peloton.

The four leaders are: Russell Van Hout (UniSA), Kurt Van De Wouwer (Quickstep-Davitamon), Inigo Chaurreau (Ag2R) and Lennie Kristensen (CSC). The eight chasers are: Mikel Astarloza (Ag2R), Robbie McEwen (Lotto Domo), Fabio Sacchi (Saeco-Longoni Sport), Steffen Wesemann (Telekom), Nicolas Inaudi (Ag2R), Cedric Herve (Credit Agricole), Thomas Bruun Eriksen (CSC), and Alvaro Gonzalez De Galdeano (ONCE Eroski).

14:15 ACDT - 120 km/20 km to go
The front two groups have merged in Greenock with 20 km to go, to form a leading bunch of 12 riders. Chasing them at 1'20 is a group of 20 riders. It's going to be a tight finish to this stage, and all will depend on the co-operation of the two groups.

14:22 ACDT - 125 km/15 km to go
Several riders, including Wesemann and De Galdeano have been dropped by the leading group, which has split again. We now have a group of six leaders: Cedric Herve (Credit Agricole), Fabio Sacchi (Saeco-Longoni Sport), Robbie McEwen (Lotto Domo), Mikel Astarloza (Ag2R), Nicolas Inaudi (Ag2R) and Lennie Kristensen (CSC) with 42 seconds to the next chasing group.

14:29 ACDT - 134 km/6 km to go
The six leaders now have just 27 seconds on a group of 20 or so chasers with 6 km to go until the finish in Kapunda. The situation is still good for McEwen, who is in the front group of six, even if they get caught.

14:04 ACDT - 140 km/0 km to go
Fabio Sacchi has won stage 2, after breaking away in the closing stages. McEwen finished second, with his breakaway group almost getting caught by the 20 behind (led by Brad McGee) at the finish. The main bunch came in another minute back.

McEwen said afterwards that he felt Sacchi was the strongest of the breakaway group, but everyone in it knew that. They weren't working well in the final kilometres, which was why Sacchi hit out with 1 km to go. So Sacchi takes his second stage win of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, and will also get the leaders jersey.


1 Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport
2 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo
3 Cedric Herve (Fra) Credit Agricole

General classification after stage 2

1 Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport
2 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo
3 Cedric Herve (Fra) Credit Agricole

Mountains classification

1 Russell Van Hout (Aus) UniSA

U23 classification

1 Gene Bates (Aus) UniSA

Most aggressive rider

1 Lennie Kristensen (Den) CSC