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5th Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under - 2.3

Australia, January 21-26, 2003

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

Cooke burns 'em off

By Jeff Jones in Goolwa

The sweet taste of success
Photo: © Tom Balks
Click for larger image

"It's nice to actually get across the line first today," said stage 4 winner Baden Cooke moments after crossing the line. Cooke was of course referring to his stage 1 win, which came about after a Graeme Brown disqualification. Today there was no controversy at all, as Cooke sprinted over the line in Goolwa half a wheel ahead of Brown, with Stuart O'Grady again finishing in third place.

Cooke described the sprint as "...very hectic with the sidewind. Everyone was sprinting against the fence. I waited until the last minute when Ashley Hutchinson opened up a gap on the inside, which was the easy way through. But after seeing what Graeme Brown did the other day to McEwen, I took the hard way round. I'm lucky because I'm sure he would have stepped straight into me."

However, with 8 km to go it could have been otherwise as a group of 10 had escaped, containing Brad McGee, Jaan Kirsipuu, Graeme Brown and race leader Fabio Sacchi. Many teams were represented, but Stuart O'Grady and Robbie McEwen drove the chase hard from behind, swallowing up the break and setting things up for a mass sprint. FDJeux.com's Bernhard Eisel took Baden Cooke to the front, Cooke biding his time as other sprinters hit the wind too early and faded. In the final 100 metres, the Cookie Monster came flying through to win his second stage in the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under.

Race leader Fabio Sacchi (Saeco) today lost 2 of his 10 seconds buffer to Robbie McEwen when the Lotto-Domo rider took second place in one of the intermediate time bonus sprints. But Sacchi was cool and composed at the end of the stage, despite having just ridden for three and a half hours in 40 degree heat.

"Today I felt really good," said Sacchi. The conditions were good, the weather also and tomorrow should be a great day to have fun."

But Sacchi is not fully confident of holding onto the overall. "To win, you have to be the leader on Sunday. But tomorrow's another day."

Laidler: unsung hero
Photo: © Tom Balks
Click for larger image

The other star of the 144 km stage was the young UniSA rider Adrian Laidler, who rode in front of the peloton for over 130 km today, only to be caught just before the McFarlane Hill mountain sprint with around 12 kilometres to go. Laidler had attacked from the gun, building up a maximum lead of 11'20 at one point, eventually falling victim to the extreme heat and the Panaria/Quick Step mounted chase from behind.

When asked if he was crazy for attempting such a move, Laidler replied: "Yeah I think so. Twenty k's into the race I was starting to regret it a little bit. But you have to push and try to do what you can. Once you're out the front, you may as well keep going. I tried my best to hang on but it just didn't work out."

"Nearly all day there were long, straight roads, headwinds and hot breezes. It definitely hurt. But once you're there you've got to do it."

Laidler, who is from South Australia, wasn't nearly as bothered by the heat as the other riders. "It was pretty hot but we're from here and we're used to the heat. Bring it on, the hotter the better!"

How it unfolded

Taking cover... from the heat
Photo: © Tom Balks
Click for larger image

Today's stage from Unley to Goolwa started with a six kilometre climb along the freeway up to Stirling. From then on, it was mostly downhill or flat, with the small climb of McFarlane Hill coming at 10 km to go. Everyone knew today was going to be hot, and the thermometer read 38 degrees as the riders set off from Unley. At the hottest part of the day the mercury climbed to a searing 43 degrees, which probably explained the lack of aggression within the peloton.

Stage winner Baden Cooke said that he drank "a dozen bidons [6 litres]...I was drinking the whole time, even forcing it down. I think that was the key."

The heat obviously didn't deter Adrian Laidler (UniSA), the Australia U23 time trial champion who attacked virtually as the flag dropped at the Old Toll Gate on the South East Freeway. Laidler had started 30 minutes down on GC and was not pursued by the bunch, which was content to roll along up the climb at a tempo barely above andante. By the top, Laidler had 3'53, and it kept growing as he descended into Strathalbyn and onto the barren and baking Fleurieu Peninsula. Seven minutes, then 10, then up to a maximum of 11'20 when the peloton passed kilometre 61.

Saeco was perfectly happy to let Laidler stay out there, as he posed no threat to Sacchi's lead and was also swallowing up valuable time bonuses. "We didn't have to work much at all," said Fabio Sacchi. "The truth is that it would have been great if the guy out the front had been able to hang onto the win, because he really deserved it. The two things that (director) Guido Bontempi and myself decided were to try and maintain the gap and not to catch him, so that he could pull off the stage win."

The ploy worked well for Saeco, although Robbie McEwen did manage to snatch a two second bonus at the second intermediate sprint at Langhorne Creek. That moved him to within eight seconds of Sacchi on GC, and with six seconds bonus for a stage win, his chances at the overall have improved.

Saeco boys get a hosing down
Photo: © Tom Balks
Click for larger image

Laidler's advantage began to drop when the peloton reached Lake Alexandrina (the mouth of the Murray River), riding along its shores at 50 km/h led by Panaria and Saeco. Once Laidler hit the 90 km mark, he really began to suffer, losing four minutes over the next 20 km as the speed began to increase behind him. He passed through the big crowd at Goolwa (27 km to go) with 3'18, and 15 km later his marathon breakaway was finished.

As Laidler crumbled on the McFarlane Hill climb, the peloton was in full flight. Lennie Kristensen (CSC) sprinted off the front to take the mountain points in front of Cadel Evans (Telekom), solidifying his lead in the KOM competition. The attacks continued over the top of the climb, and a group of 10 riders escaped, containing Angel Vicioso (ONCE Eroski), Russell Van Hout (UniSA), Jaan Kirsipuu and Andy Flickinger (Ag2R), Cedric Hervé (Credit Agricole), Brad McGee (FDJeux.com), Andrea Tafi (CSC), Graeme Brown (Panaria Fiordo) and Fabio Sacchi (Saeco-Longoni Sport).

Cookie gets it
Photo: © Tom Balks
Click for larger image

Sacchi's presence in the break was enough to set the alarm bells off in the peloton, not to mention sprinters Kirsipuu and Brown. Stuart O'Grady and Robbie McEwen put in a huge effort to close it, and they succeeded with 5 km to go, ensuring a bunch sprint. But the heat and the wind made it difficult for any team to organise a lead out, and the bunch hurtled into Goolwa with all the top sprinters at its head. The tall Queenslander Ashley Hutchinson made a strong bid for the line with 250m to go, but in the end he was overtaken by a flying Baden Cooke, followed by Brown, O'Grady and McEwen.

While Cooke got his second win, Brown remains stageless, with McEwen (and Flickinger) moving a little closer to Sacchi on GC. The final two stages promise to be thrillers, especially tomorrow's 147 km stage starting and finishing in Willunga, featuring the tough climb of Willunga Hill with 20 km to go. The predicted temperature tomorrow is 41 degrees, and after today's scorcher, it's likely to cause some more damage to the GC.


Images by www.tombalks.com


1 Baden Cooke (Aus) FDJeux.com                       3.33.59 (40.4 km/h)
2 Graeme Brown (Aus) Panaria Fiordo
3 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Credit Agricole
4 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto Domo
5 Ashley Hutchinson (Aus) United Water
6 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep-Davitamon
7 Luke Roberts (Aus) UniSA
8 Mark Scanlon (Irl) Ag2R
9 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est)  Ag2R
10 Allan Davis (Aus) ONCE Eroski
11 Mikel Astarloza (Spa) Ag2R
12 Andy Flickinger (Fra) Ag2R
13 Stefen Wesemann (Ger) Telekom
14 Mark Renshaw (Aus) United Water
15 Brendan Cato (Aus) United Water
16 Nicolas Portal (Fra) Ag2R
17 Andrea Tafi (Ita) CSC
18 Dirk Reichl (Ger) Telekom
19 Gene Bates (Aus) UniSA
20 Cedric Herve (Fra) Credit Agricole
21 Christian Pepoli (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport
22 Xavier Florencio (Spa) ONCE Eroski
23 David Canada (Spa) Quickstep-Davitamon
24 Bobby Julich (USA)  Telekom
25 Christopher Jenner (NZl) Credit Agricole
26 Michael Rogers (Aus) Quickstep-Davitamon
27 Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport
28 Hans De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Domo
29 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) ONCE Eroski
30 Lennie Kristensen (Den) CSC
31 Erki Putsep (Est) Ag2R
32 Kurt Van De Wouwer (Bel) Quickstep-Davitamon
33 Paolo Lanfranchi (Ita) Panaria Fiordo
34 Daniele Nardello (Ita) Telekom
35 Patrick Jonker (Aus) UniSA
36 Russell Van Hout (Aus) UniSA
37 Joerg Ludewig (Ger) Saeco-Longoni Sport
38 Cadel Evans (Aus) Telekom
39 Brad McGee (Aus) FDJeux.com
40 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Ag2R
41 Angel Vicioso (Spa) ONCE Eroski
42 Stefan Schumacher (Ger)  Telekom
43 Christian Werner (Ger)  Telekom
44 Inigo Chaurreau (Spa) Ag2R
45 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) ONCE Eroski
46 Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) Credit Agricole
47 Tristan Hoffman (Ned) CSC
48 Geert Van Bondt (Bel) CSC
49 Kai Hundertmarck (Ger)  Telekom                      0.10
50 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) FDJeux.com                      0.14
51 Regis Lhuillier (Fra) FDJeux.com                     0.16
52 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Saeco-Longoni Sport              0.23
53 Arvis Piziks (Lat) CSC                               1.55
54 Jens Voigt (Ger) Credit Agricole                     3.47
55 Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Lotto Domo
56 Stephen Cunningham (Aus) UniSA
57 Glenn d'Hollander (Bel) Lotto Domo
58 Wim Vansevenant (Bel) Lotto Domo
59 David Betts (Aus) United Water
60 Igor Gonzalez De Galdeano (Spa) ONCE Eroski
61 Lilian Jegou (Fra) Credit Agricole
62 Julian Dean (NZl) CSC
63 Alvaro Gonzalez De Galdeano (Spa) ONCE Eroski
64 Thomas Bruun Eriksen (Den) CSC
65 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Panaria Fiordo
66 Scott Davis (Aus) Panaria Fiordo
67 Aaron Kemps (Aus) United Water                       4.05
68 Bernard Sulzberger (Aus) United Water
69 Adrian Laidler (Aus) UniSA                           7.11
70 Peter Dawson (Aus) United Water                      7.15
71 Davide Bramati (Ita) Quickstep-Davitamon
72 Dario Pieri (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport
73 Nicola Gavazzi (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport
74 Luca Paolini (Ita) Quickstep-Davitamon
75 Stefano Zanini (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport
76 Ruben Bongiorno (Arg) Panaria Fiordo
77 Thierry Marichal (Bel) Lotto Domo
78 Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio (Mex) Panaria Fiordo
79 Filippo Perfetto (Ita) Panaria Fiordo
80 Jacky Durand (Fra) FDJeux.com
81 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Credit Agricole
82 Jakob Piil (Den) CSC
83 Mickael Pichon (Fra) FDJeux.com
84 Benoit Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJeux.com
85 Juan Fuentes (Spa) Saeco-Longoni Sport
86 Matt Wilson (Aus) FDJeux.com
87 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Lotto Domo
88 Nick Gates (Aus) Lotto Domo
89 Sergey Matveyev (Ukr) Panaria Fiordo
DNF Bram Tankink (Ned) Quickstep-Davitamon
Adelaide Road at Institute, Echunga - 26.0 km
1 Adrian Laidler (Aus) UniSA                               6   3 pts/secs
2 Andy Flickinger (Fra) Ag2R                               4   2
3 Luke Roberts (Aus) UniSA                                 2   1
Main Street at General Store, Langhorne Creek - 64.8 km
1 Adrian Laidler (Aus) UniSA                               6   3 pts/secs
2 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto Domo                           4   2
3 Andy Flickinger (Fra) Ag2R                               2   1
Cadell Street near Dawson Street, Goolwa - 144 km - FINISH
1 Baden Cooke (Aus) FDJeux.com                             8   6 pts/secs
2 Graeme Brown (Aus) Panaria Fiordo                        6   4
3 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Credit Agricole                     4   2
Macfarlane Hill, Flagstaff Hill Rd, - Middleton - 132.6 km
1 Lennie Kristensen (Den) CSC                             16 pts
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) Telekom                               12
3 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Saeco-Longoni Sport                  8
4 Regis Lhuillier (Fra) FDJeux.com                         6
5 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) ONCE Eroski                       4
Most aggressive rider
1 Adrian Laidler (Aus) UniSA
General classification after stage 4
1 Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport            11.58.33
2 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto Domo                        0.08
3 Andy Flickinger (Fra) Ag2R                            0.17
4 Cedric Herve (Fra) Credit Agricole                    0.18
5 Mikel Astarloza (Spa) Ag2R                            0.20
6 Lennie Kristensen (Den) CSC
7 Russell Van Hout (Aus) UniSA                          0.23
8 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Credit Agricole                  0.25
9 Xavier Florencio (Spa) ONCE Eroski                    0.27
10 Luke Roberts (Aus) UniSA                             0.28
11 Daniele Nardello (Ita) Telekom
12 Michael Rogers (Aus) Quickstep-Davitamon             0.29
13 Angel Vicioso (Spa) ONCE Eroski
14 Gene Bates (Aus) UniSA
15 Tristan Hoffman (Ned) CSC
16 Geert Van Bondt (Bel) CSC
17 Cadel Evans (Aus) Telekom
18 Paolo Lanfranchi (Ita) Panaria Fiordo
19 Patrick Jonker (Aus) UniSA
20 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) ONCE Eroski                   0.30
21 Mark Scanlon (Irl) Ag2R                              0.33
22 David Canada (Spa) Quickstep-Davitamon
23 Kurt Van De Wouwer (Bel) Quickstep-Davitamon
24 Inigo Chaurreau (Spa) Ag2R
25 Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) Credit Agricole
26 Stefen Wesemann (Ger) Telekom                        0.39
27 Brad McGee (Aus) FDJeux.com                          0.42
28 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) FDJeux.com                      0.54
29 Baden Cooke (Aus) FDJeux.com                         1.59
30 Andrea Tafi (Ita) CSC
31 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep-Davitamon                 2.05
32 Dirk Reichl (Ger) Telekom
33 Erki Putsep (Est) Ag2R
34 Nicolas Portal (Fra) Ag2R
35 Joerg Ludewig (Ger) Saeco-Longoni Sport
36 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Ag2R
37 Christopher Jenner (NZl) Credit Agricole
38 Bobby Julich (USA)  Telekom
39 Christian Werner (Ger)  Telekom
40 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) ONCE Eroski
41 Kai Hundertmarck (Ger)  Telekom                      2.15
42 Hans De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Domo                      2.16
43 Regis Lhuillier (Fra) FDJeux.com                     2.21
44 Graeme Brown (Aus) Panaria Fiordo                    2.27
45 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Saeco-Longoni Sport              3.40
46 Thomas Bruun Eriksen (Den) CSC                       4.16
47 Jens Voigt (Ger) Credit Agricole                     4.18
48 Alvaro Gonzalez De Galdeano (Spa) ONCE Eroski        4.46
49 Scott Davis (Aus) Panaria Fiordo                     5.52
50 Wim Vansevenant (Bel) Lotto Domo                     6.42
51 David Betts (Aus) United Water                       6.49
52 Glenn d'Hollander (Bel) Lotto Domo                   7.04
53 Igor Gonzalez De Galdeano (Spa) ONCE Eroski
54 Luca Paolini (Ita) Quickstep-Davitamon               9.20
55 Peter Dawson (Aus) United Water                      9.29
56 Sergey Matveyev (Ukr) Panaria Fiordo                 9.31
57 Stefano Zanini (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport            10.32
58 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Lotto Domo
59 Allan Davis (Aus) ONCE Eroski                       11.34
60 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est)  Ag2R
61 Mark Renshaw (Aus) United Water
62 Christian Pepoli (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport
63 Brendan Cato (Aus) United Water
64 Stefan Schumacher (Ger)  Telekom
65 Arvis Piziks (Lat) CSC                              13.29
66 Stephen Cunningham (Aus) UniSA                      15.20
67 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Panaria Fiordo                15.21
68 Lilian Jegou (Fra) Credit Agricole
69 Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Lotto Domo                     16.33
70 Nicola Gavazzi (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport            18.49
71 Mickael Pichon (Fra) FDJeux.com
72 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Credit Agricole
73 Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio (Mex) Panaria Fiordo
74 Davide Bramati (Ita) Quickstep-Davitamon
75 Matt Wilson (Aus) FDJeux.com                        20.00
76 Dario Pieri (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport               20.01
77 Juan Fuentes (Spa) Saeco-Longoni Sport
78 Adrian Laidler (Aus) UniSA                          37.56
79 Ashley Hutchinson (Aus) United Water                41.50
80 Julian Dean (NZl) CSC                               45.39
81 Aaron Kemps (Aus) United Water                      45.57
82 Bernard Sulzberger (Aus) United Water
83 Ruben Bongiorno (Arg) Panaria Fiordo                49.07
84 Filippo Perfetto (Ita) Panaria Fiordo
85 Thierry Marichal (Bel) Lotto Domo
86 Jakob Piil (Den) CSC
87 Benoit Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJeux.com
88 Jacky Durand (Fra) FDJeux.com
89 Nick Gates (Aus) Lotto Domo
Sprints classification
1 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto Domo                          24 pts
2 Andrea Tafi (Ita) CSC                                   22
3 Baden Cooke (Aus) FDJeux.com                            16
4 Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport                  12
5 Russell Van Hout (Aus) UniSA                            12
6 Adrian Laidler (Aus) UniSA                              12
7 Matt Wilson (Aus) FDJeux.com                            12
8 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Credit Agricole                     8
9 Andy Flickinger (Fra) Ag2R                               6
10 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) ONCE Eroski                      6
11 Cedric Herve (Fra) Credit Agricole                      4
12 Xavier Florencio (Spa) ONCE Eroski                      4
13 Graeme Brown (Aus) Panaria Fiordo                       4
14 Jens Voigt (Ger) Credit Agricole                        4
15 Luca Paolini (Ita) Quickstep-Davitamon                  4
16 Ashley Hutchinson (Aus) United Water                    4
17 Luke Roberts (Aus) UniSA                                2
18 Daniele Nardello (Ita) Telekom                          2
19 Stephen Cunningham (Aus) UniSA                          2
Mountains classification
1 Lennie Kristensen (Den) CSC                             36 pts
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) Telekom                               28
3 Russell Van Hout (Aus) UniSA                            16
4 Paolo Lanfranchi (Ita) Panaria Fiordo                   12
5 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) ONCE Eroski                       8
6 Inigo Chaurreau (Spa) Ag2R                               8
7 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Saeco-Longoni Sport                  8
8 Kurt Van De Wouwer (Bel) Quickstep-Davitamon             6
9 Brad McGee (Aus) FDJeux.com                              6
10 Regis Lhuillier (Fra) FDJeux.com                        6
11 Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport                  4
U23 classification
1 Gene Bates (Aus) UniSA                            11.59.02
2 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) FDJeux.com                       0.25
3 Dirk Reichl (Ger) Telekom                             1.36
4 David Betts (Aus) United Water                        6.20
5 Peter Dawson (Aus) United Water                       9.00
6 Mark Renshaw (Aus) United Water                      11.05
7 Brendan Cato (Aus) United Water
8 Stefan Schumacher (Ger)  Telekom
9 Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Lotto Domo                      16.04
10 Adrian Laidler (Aus) UniSA                          37.27
11 Aaron Kemps (Aus) United Water                      45.28
12 Bernard Sulzberger (Aus) United Water
13 Benoit Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJeux.com                  48.38
Teams classification
1 Ag2r Prevoyance                                   35.56.52
2 Team CSC                                              0.05
3 Credit Agricole                                       0.09
4 UniSA                                                 0.14
5 ONCE-Eroski                                           0.18
6 Quick Step-Davitamon                                  0.22
7 Team Telekom                                          0.24
8 FDJeux.com                                            2.04
9 Saeco-Longoni Sport                                   3.03
10 Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo                             7.13
11 Lotto-Domo                                           8.05
12 United Water                                        14.49