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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 4: Friday Jan 24, Unley - Goolwa, 144km

Complete live report

Start time: 11:00 ACDT (actual start 11:22)
Est finish time: 14:51 ACDT

11:00 ACDT - 0 km

Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of Stage 4 of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under. After a 7.2 kilometre neutral zone, the race continues along the coastline on Stage 4 to the Fleurieu Peninsula. Those riders high on general classification will most likely use this stage as a "rest" day - although stranger things have happened in previous editions. A short climb just 11 kilometres from the stage finish will certainly keep those serious about winning the race on the lookout all the way to Goolwa, with the sprinters' teams also vying to keep matters under control in the final kilometres.

11:15 ACDT - 0 km

Cyclingnews Editor Jeff Jones was on the start line today in Unley at 11:00am, with the temperature already at 38 degrees C and climbing. It is expected to reach a peak of 41 degrees C, but is more likely to soar to 45 degrees out on the road. A gradual climb with around 400m of climbing kicks in less than 10 kilometres into the race, however due to its proximity to the start, the bunch is expected to stay together for the remainder of the day.

11:25 ACDT - 1.1 km

With the wind behind their backs, the race proper began at 11:22, and the peloton are now making their way through a packed crowd lined four deep on the side of the road. For the majority of the day, the peloton will be heading in a SSE direction, and with the tailwind blowing, this should inspire some breakaway attempts. One of those could quite possibly from local hero Stuart O'Grady (Credit Agricole), who said at the start of today that this was one of his favourite stages.

11:34 ACDT - 4.8 km

Adrian Laidler (UniSA) has attacked on his own, with 200m on the bunch.

Cyclingnews spoke with classy young rider Mark Renshaw of the United Water team prior to the start. The world champion team pursuiter has been racing quite constantly throughout the Australian summer - both on the track and in road criteriums. He said he was feeling OK in the Jacob's Creek, but believed the hot weather may prevent anything too adventurous.

"I think for the climb we'll be happy just to sit in. Last year on this stage we had David Pell put in an attack on this stage, but I don't think that will happen this year, especially with this heat," said Renshaw. "We haven't really had an opportunity to get up with it (so far this tour), but we'll try to do something a bit later on in today's stage. I don't know what the hill is like (11km before the stage end) but I think it will string it out."

11:50 ACDT - 8 km

As Laidler (UniSA) neared the summit of the first pinch at Heysen, Stirling, the Australian already has a lead of a little over 3 minutes to the peloton. In terms of GC, Laidler is no real threat to the overall classification - he is currently lying in 78th place overall, 30:51 behind race leader Fabio Sacchi (Saeco).

11:57 ACDT - 17 km

Both Laidler and the peloton are now over the first and only real climb of the day. The bunch is heading towards the town of Aldgate, clocking up speeds of 80 km/h, although the gap to escapee Laidler has now blown out to a massive 6:45.

12:10 ACDT - 26 km

At the first sprint of the day at Echunga, Laidler not surprisingly took the first sprint, with the bunch trailing approximately 5 kilometres behind.

The reigning King of the Mountains in the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, CSC rider Lennie Kristensen, told Cyclingnews that he expected that a small group of riders will try to escape, "but I don't that will succeed, as Saeco will ride at the front and try to take control of the race".

Kristensen, who is in sixth overall and only 20 seconds behind race leader, the Italian Fabio Sacchi (Saeco - Longoni Sport), would be one of the riders the Italian team will keep in contact. Consequently, Lennie predicted the inevitable: "I think it will be be a big sprint again; it's possible a small group could go all the way to the finish. "But the heat? I think it has made eveyone tired after the last three days. It's still January and the stage are not so long but the heat makes them like they are 220km long."

Kristensen is the leader of the KOM classification on 20 points, with Uni of SA rider Russel Van Hout and Cadel Evans following him on 16 points each.

"Yesterday Cadel beat me but it was a very steep climb," he said of the 12 percent gradient at the end of Checker Hill. "Today I think I can beat him on the final hill", in reference to Macfarlane Hill, a short climb which peaks about 11 kilometres from the end of the stage in Goolwa.

12:15 ACDT - 30 km

Laidler (UniSA) is now approaching the town of Macclesfield, his lead over the peloton a massive 9:45. A counterattack of four riders including Jens Voigt (CA), Daniele Nardello (Telekom), Luke Roberts (UniSA) and Andy Flickinger (Ag2R) went just before the first sprint in Echunga, with a number of other counterattacks coming from the peloton.

12:25 ACDT - 36 km

As the bunch heads through Macclesfield, the peloton is all together sans Laidler (UniSA), whose lead has been reduced to 8:20, a consequence of the counterattacks occurring within the peloton. At the first sprint in Echunga, the next two placegetters were Andy Flickinger (Ag2R) and Luke Roberts (UniSA).

Speaking to Cyclingnews' Jeff Jones this morning, Lotto-Domo rider Robbie McEwen paid tribute to his team-mates for helping him secure his and the Lotto-Domo team's first win of the season in the desperately close sprint with arch rival Graeme Brown (Panaria) in stage 3 yesterday.

"They've been working flat out," the sprinter said of his team- mates. "The boys got on the front yesterday with about 20 kilometres to go - it was nice for me to be able to finish it off for the guys. It's always good to get the first win of the way; it's good for the confidence of the team. It's good if you don't have to wait too long for the first win of the season. We've got that now and I hope we'll be getting better as the weeks go on into the season in Europe."

McEwen reported that he felt reasonably fresh despite not having a good night's sleep the previous night when the air-conditioning blew. But being from Queensland in Australia's north, the warm weather didn't trouble him too greatly. Currently in second place on general classification, did he believe he could go for the win? "It will be difficult because the time bonuses aren't that great."

12:30 ACDT - 44 km

The peloton is now in the town of Strathalbyn. Adrian Laidler (UniSA) is still going strong, crouched over his bars and pedalling like a man possessed. The gap to the peloton is now 8:05.

12:40 ACDT - 51 km

Adrian Laidler's motoring! As he heads through the crowded streets of Strathalbyn, egged on by the gregarious South Australian crowd, his lead continues to hover around the 8 minute mark; the gap to the peloton now 8:25.

12:45 ACDT - 55 km

We're now in the town of Belvidere, around 6 kilometres before the second sprint of the day in Langhorne Creek. The temperature is an incredible 43 degrees C. With little to no wind blowing, it's an oven out there; don't be surprised to see some less-acclimatised Euros hopping off the bike today.

12:55 ACDT - 61 km

About 3 kilometres before the sprint in Langhorne Creek, most of Team Saeco are on the front of the bunch, setting a very cruisy tempo. The gap to Laidler has gone out again, now at 8:55.

As the bunch winds through the numerous vineyards that comprise Jacob's Creek, Editor Jeff Jones reports they are beginning to enter flat, barren country where the outside temperature reads 41 degrees C. Jeff happens to be an air- conditioned car, where the interior temperature gauge shows a cool 19.5 degrees.

Many domestiques are filtering back to the team cars to collect water for their team-mates; all around them is flat, dry country, used for cattle and sheep grazing but not an animal is to be seen on this brutally hot and dry day.

13:10 ACDT - 69 km / 75 km to go

The bunch is rolling through the area of Lake Plains; the gap to Laidler has gone out again, this time to 11:20. The results of the second sprint are Adrian Laidler (UniSA), Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo) and Andy Flickinger (Ag2R), in that order. Flickinger now lies third overall on general classification after starting the day 20 seconds behind race leader Fabio Sacchi (Saeco), now one spot ahead of Cedric Herve (Credit Agricole).

13:17 ACDT - 76 km

Along Lake Plains Road, Laidler's lead over the peloton is 9:40. As they weave their way towards Milang, Laidler doesn't appear to be tiring yet, nor is the bunch chasing.

13:25 ACDT - 81 km

Just before the feed zone in Milang, the bunch has now decided to chase with Lotto-Domo and Saeco-Longoni on the front; the speed along the predominantly flat terrain is around 50-55km/h.

13:35 ACDT - 85 km

As the bunch enter the feed zone in Milang, bottles are dropping all over the place - United Water, along with a few other teams, are having a bit of a shocker through the feed zone - it looks like the heat is getting to the soigneurs too. Saeco are still sitting back, letting Lotto-Domo and Panaria do all the work to bring it all back together for McEwen and Brown. Adrian Laidler's (UniSA) lead is around the 11 minute mark.

13:45 ACDT - 95 km

The peloton is now making its way towards Finniss - that's the town, not the a mispelling for finish, with the gap to Laidler at 9:45.

13:55 ACDT - 101 km

The temperature's dropped to a mild 36 degrees C as the bunch enters the town of Finniss. Adrian Laidler, the lone escapee who has now been away for 96 kilometres has called for his UniSA team car, his advantage now 8:30. Not much else is happening right now.

14:01 ACDT - 104 km / 40 km to go

Panaria and Saeco - the latter somewhat unexpectedly - have been chasing, the gap now at 7:55.

14:06 ACDT - 108 km / 36 km to go

The gap is still at 7:40. With just under an hour's racing to go, the question now becomes: "Can Adrian Laidler (UniSA) do it?" He'd certainly be a deserving winner. Bram Tankink (Quick Step-Davitamon) has pulled the pin. The bunch is now pelting along at 55-60km/h.

14:15 ACDT - 114 km / 30 km to go

As the peloton enter the final finishing circuit around Goolwa, Quick Step-Davitamon and Panaria-Fiordo are now on the front leading the chase. Laidler's lead has been reduced to 6:28; it's going to be touch and go whether he can pull this one off.

14:17 ACDT - 116 km / 28 km to go

The gap is now at 5:30, the bunch is really flying.

14:20 ACDT - 118 km / 26 km to go

Laidler's not looking in showroom condition right now, his lead now 4.45 to the peloton in the town of Middleton. Looks like a(nother) bunch gallop.

14:35 ACDT - 133 km / 11 km to go

Adrian Laidler (UniSA) is now on the climb of MacFarlane Hill, a three kilometre climb that rises to approximately 180m in elevation with an average gradient of around 7 percent. The peloton are now within sight of Laidler, so after being out for almost 130 kilometres on his own, it's all over red rover. The town of Goolwa is packed to the rafters, Stuey O'Grady fans everywhere. It may be topping 40 degrees celsius, but it hasn't stopped a plethora of fans lining Cadell Street, the final straight of the day.

14:50 ACDT - 140 km / 4 km to go

The winner of the KOM climb of MacFarlane Hill was Lennie Kristensen (CSC), followed by Cadel Evans (Telekom) and Igor Astarloa (Saeco). Kristensen will therefore hold onto his leader's jersey in the KOM competition for another day, extending his lead over Russell Van Hout (UniSA).

It's all back together now, with the Lotto-Domo, Panaria-Fiordo and Saeco-Longoni trains hurtling through the suburb of Currency Creek at 60 clicks an hour. Can Robbie do the double, or will Brownie get to avenge his loss to McEwen yesterday? CN Editor Jeff Jones says the final sprint is into a headwind, which should suit Brown a little more than McEwen. And let's not forget about Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com) either.

14:55 ACDT - 142 km / 2 km to go

Still gruppo compatto - we're headed for a HUGE bunch sprint!

15.00 ACDT - 144 km / 0 km to go

The Cookie Monster (Baden Cooke) wins in Goolwa!! Yummm!! Graeme Brown (Panaria) is second, Stuart O'Grady (Credit Agricole) third.

"It means a lot more when you can throw your arms in the air," said a delighted Cooke, his comments in reference to his win through Graeme Brown's relegation on Stage 1 of the Tour Down Under. "It was very hectic with the sidewind; everyone was sprinting against the fence, so I waited until the very last minute."


1 Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com)
2 Graeme Brown (Aus) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo
3 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Credit Agricole

General classification after stage 4
1 Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport
2 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo
3 Andy Flickinger (Fra) Ag2R
Sprints classification
1 Andrea Tafi (Ita) CSC
KOM classification
1 Lennie Kristensen (Den) CSC
U23 classification
1 Gene Bates (Aus) UniSA


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