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6th Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under - 2.3

Australia, January 20-25, 2004

Home    Stage profile    Start list    Results

Stage 5: Saturday Jan 25, Willunga - Willunga, 147 km

Complete live report

Commentary by Anthony Tan, with additional reporting by Gabriella Ekström, Karen Forman and Jeff Jones

Start time: 11:03 ACDT
Estimated finish: 14:44 ACDT

09:41 ACDT
Welcome to our live coverage of Stage 5 of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, easily the most popular and often most crucial day of the race, held in the region of Willunga. A carbon copy of previous JCTDUs, the 147 kilometre, beach-and-vine circuit around Willunga, Aldinga, Port Willunga and McLaren Vale is essentially comprised of three 40 kilometre loops, finishing with a 20 kilometre circuit that includes the climb of Old Willunga Hill approximately 10 kilometres from the end.

Fans who line up along the Snapper Point sprint line will have plenty to keep them entertained, with the last race of the National Women's Criterium Series conducted in between. It was also on this same stage last year that eventual winner Mikel Astarloza made his move from fifth place overall to the top of the leaderboard, displacing the leader for the previous three days, Fabio Sacchi. If anyone is going to break the dream run of local hero Patrick Jonker, it will have to be today. Realistically, only 13 riders are within striking distance of Jonker, from second-placed Robbie McEwen 1'38 behind to thirteenth-placed David McPartland (Team Australia) 2'17 in arrears.

With the weather slightly overcast at the start, it's a little cool outside, the air temperature in the low 20s with a light wind blowing in from the south.

11:01 ACDT
Cyclingnews' Chief Online Editor, Jeff Jones, who has been given special dispensation to venture out of the office today, reports that a big crowd is on hand in the start/finish town Willunga; there's a real party atmosphere with parades, live music and demonstrations throughout the day.

11:05 ACDT
The race has officially started. Everyone's taking a toilet break.

11:16 ACDT - 8.5 km/138.5 km to go
Cyclingnews' Gabriella Ekström reports that the peloton is "cruising" along at 65 k's an hour. A nice little warm-up before the race begins for real, we presume.

Guillermo Bongiorno (Panaria-Margres), Aaron Kemps (United Water) and Matthew Rex (UniSA) are the three non-starters today. There's plenty of attacks already. A good cross-tailwind is blowing the riders along at warp speed. Peter Dawson (United Water) has a small lead.

11:21 ACDT - 13 km/134 km to go
Credit Agricole's Benoit Poilvet said at the start, "The last hill is really the only place where Alexandre [Botcharov] can put in an attack, because the rest of the stage is not as hard as some people think.

"I don't think Alexandre can gain 1'48 on Jonker today though. Maybe it would be better for us to go for the stage. I can see myself in a break."

10 riders - Erki Putsep (Ag2r Prevoyance), Hans De Clercq (Lotto-Domo), Aurelien Clerc (Quick.Step-Davitamon), Nicholas Vogondy (FDJeux.com), Sergio Marinangeli (Domina Vacanze), Remco Van Der Ven (Bankgiroloterij), Laurens Ten Dam (Bankgiroloterij), David McPartland (Team Australia), Ryan Sullivan (United Water), Peter Dawson (United Water) - attacked at km 11 and have a lead of 13 seconds at km 13.

11:36 ACDT - 23 km/124 km to go
UniSA and Panaria-Magres are chasing hard, with the gap clocked at 14 seconds.

We've just heard Brett Lancaster (Panaria-Margres) has suffered an asthma attack, and has been forced to abandon. Get well soon, Brett.

It certainly is colourful today. As the peloton makes their way along the Esplanade through Aldinga Beach, the crowds are out in force.

11:42 ACDT - 28 km/119 km to go
Last year's winner of the JCTDU, Mikel Astarloza (Ag2R) said at the start: "We were really strong yesterday - we got into all the breaks. We will try to do the same today, but it's quite a hard stage, so I could also find myself out the back if I don't have a good day."

BankGiroLoterij's Alain Van Katwijk was a little more optimistic: "The whole team is going to work together to get in a break. The stage is not very selective apart from Willunga Hill. We have heard it is really hard, so we'll just see how we go. Tomorrow is really more our kind of stage."

The gap has gone out to 39 seconds. Getting a little dangerous now.

Current race situation

At km 11, a 10 rider break went clear, including: Erki Putsep (Ag2r Prevoyance), Hans De Clercq (Lotto-Domo), Aurelien Clerc (Quick.Step-Davitamon), Nicholas Vogondy (FDJeux.com), Sergio Marinangeli (Domina Vacanze), Remco Van Der Ven, Laurens Ten Dam (Bankgiroloterij), David McPartland (Team Australia), Ryan Sullivan and Peter Dawson (United Water)

Peloton at 39 seconds at km 28.

11:51 ACDT - 32 km/115 km to go
The 10 rider break's lead has gone done ever so slightly to 35 seconds. It's clear both groups are really trying hard.

11:57 ACDT
The rider with most to gain in the break is the winner of Stage 2, David McPartland (Team Australia); the young McPartland lies 2'17 behind Patrick Jonker (UniSA), so there's no real danger just yet.

Aurelien Clerc (Quick.Step-Davitamon) is the next best-placed rider, 4'01 behind Jonker. So really, the only team UniSA need to worry about at this stage is Team Australia, who only have one rider represented in the break in McPartland.

12:03 ACDT - 42 km/105 km to go
The break and peloton have just completed their first of three 40 kilometre loops around Willunga and they're flying, with first lap completed in 50 minutes. The break's lead is now out to 1'10 at km 42.

12:08 ACDT - 45 km/102 km to go
The gap has now gone out to 1'17 with 45 kilometres covered as they head towards Aldinga Beach for the second time.

Current race situation

At km 11, a 10 rider break went clear, including: Erki Putsep (Ag2r Prevoyance), Hans De Clercq (Lotto-Domo), Aurelien Clerc (Quick.Step-Davitamon), Nicholas Vogondy (FDJeux.com), Sergio Marinangeli (Domina Vacanze), Remco Van Der Ven, Laurens Ten Dam (Bankgiroloterij), David McPartland (Team Australia), Ryan Sullivan and Peter Dawson (United Water)

Peloton at 1'17 seconds at km 45.

12:15 ACDT - 53 km/94 km to go
The 10-man lead group is working beautifully, with their advantage now 1'21 at km 53. UniSA, Lotto-Domo and FDJeux.com really need to keep this break in check if they're to keep their men at the top of the leaderboard by the day's end.

12:25 ACDT - 59 km/88 km to go
At the first sprint of the day at Snapper Point (km 58.8), Swiss Aurelien Clerc (Quick.Step-Davitamon) took the maximum six points and a three second time bonus, just ahead of Erki Putsep (Ag2r Prevoyance) and Remco Van Der Ven (Bankgiroloterij); Clerc is now equal with Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo) in the sprints competition.

12:29 ACDT - 60 km/87 km to go
The break's advantage to the peloton is now 1'20 - the elastic band's gonna go soon... hopefully for Pat Jonker (UniSA), it will be the break who will blow a gasket first in this two-wheeled game of tug-o-war.

12:35 ACDT - 67 km/80 km to go
UniSA, not surprisingly, is on the front of the peloton, aided by Navigators and Credit Agricole. At km 67, the advantage is 1'12. All 10 riders still appear to be rolling smoothly, doing 5-10 second turns on the front, riding two abreast.

Current race situation

At km 11, a 10 rider break went clear, including: Erki Putsep (Ag2r Prevoyance), Hans De Clercq (Lotto-Domo), Aurelien Clerc (Quick.Step-Davitamon), Nicholas Vogondy (FDJeux.com), Sergio Marinangeli (Domina Vacanze), Remco Van Der Ven, Laurens Ten Dam (Bankgiroloterij), David McPartland (Team Australia), Ryan Sullivan and Peter Dawson (United Water)

Peloton at 1'12 seconds at km 67.

12:48 ACDT - 74 km/73 km to go
Both the break and peloton are still motoring, the last timecheck measuring the gap at 1'15. Interesting to see Hans De Clercq (Lotto-Domo and Nicholas Vogondy (FDJeux.com) working well in the break, despite having riders placed second and third overall respectively on general classification.

12:54 ACDT
The current leader on GC, South Australia's own Patrick Jonker (UniSA), told Cyclingnews this morning that he expects the wind will play a key role in today's stage. Already the peloton is in hammer mode, taking advantage of the sea-breeze blowing in from the Gulf, and Jonker expects it will freshen at the stage progresses.

Today's parcours is well-known to the South Australian, who yesterday told Cyclingnews in his diary, "The climb doesn't worry me, actually. I live there, in the vineyards of the south Adelaide region and I know the climb like I know the back of my hand. It's my backyard. There's no surprises on the climb, it's basically who is the strongest."

This morning he said, "the wind will pick up after 12 o'clock, especially along the beach. The guys (in his team) are feeling strong, so whatever happens, happens."

However, yesterday the UniSA team lost one of their riders, the 18-year old Matthew Rex, as he was caught holding on to the team car during one of the climbs and was disqualified from the race. The penalty also means the team director must drive at the back of the team cars, somewhat hampering communications and the ability to quickly change a wheel or attend to mechanical problems.

12:59 ACDT - 82 km/65 km to go
The break and peloton have just gone through the feed zone at km 81.8, with the gap slowly coming down to 1'05. The lightning fast pace over the first two laps saw the first 82 kilometres completed in 1'47'00 - 10 minutes ahead of schedule! Whoo-hoo!

13:03 ACDT - 88 km/59 km to go
David McPartland (Team Australia), the highest-placed rider overall in the break, is doing plenty of the driving, with a few double-turns thrown in for good measure. The gap appears to be stabilising again, now at 1'02 to the peloton.

Navigators rider David McKenzie may only be nine seconds from second place on GC, but he's in a somewhat congested field of contenders, given that he's still in ninth overall on GC. Still, the Australian rider, in his first season for the US team, said he was "happy with how the week has gone, but a stage win would have been better.

"Now, I'm pretty 'geed-up' for today's stage. Normally, I'd be dreading it (the climb of Willunga Hill) but in the first couple of days I was climbing alright, so if anything I should go over with them.

"I'd probably be frustrated if I ended up in the same position tomorrow afternoon," he said in reference to his nine-second time gap to second place on the podium. "I really want to have a go at moving up."

Current race situation

At km 11, a 10 rider break went clear, including: Erki Putsep (Ag2r Prevoyance), Hans De Clercq (Lotto-Domo), Aurelien Clerc (Quick.Step-Davitamon), Nicholas Vogondy (FDJeux.com), Sergio Marinangeli (Domina Vacanze), Remco Van Der Ven, Laurens Ten Dam (Bankgiroloterij), David McPartland (Team Australia), Ryan Sullivan and Peter Dawson (United Water).

The break has now been away for almost 80 kilometres, with the peloton 1'02 seconds in arrears at km 88.

13:09 ACDT - 90 km/57 km to go
With just over an hour's racing left in the stage, the peloton are slowly but surely bringing the break back, the gap now under a minute at 0'50.

Today is the 28th birthday of Giuliano Figuras, the talented climber with Italian team Panaria - Margres, and he told Cyclingnews before the start he was feeling good for the penultimate stage of the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under.

Figueras enters today's stage in seventh place on GC, 1.47 down to overnight leader Patrick Jonker (UniSA), and is looking forward to the final climb at Willunga Hill, some 20km before the finish. The main job of his team-mates, including the colourful sprinter Graeme Brown, is to deliver Figueras and Panaria's other best-placed rider on GC, Paolo Tiralongo, to the foot of this climb in the best possible shape. After that, 'Brownie' is looking to save his legs for tomorrow's street race in Adelaide, a stage he won last year.

However, Brown said he has not been in ideal condition during the JCTDU, as he is still suffering from the bronchitis he picked up during the Jayco Bay Classic criteriums earlier this month. He has just completed the course of antibiotics to try to clear up that condition. Brown's team-mate - and fellow member of the Australian world record-holding team pursuit squad, Brett Lancaster, abandoned this stage this morning from an asthma attack, so it seems the intense early-season racing is taking its toll.

13:15 ACDT - 97 km/50 km to go
Dutch rider Laurens Ten Dam (Bankgiroloterij) attacked the break at km 97, but was caught soon after.

Another rider carrying injuries is the new Australian men's road champion, Mathew Wilson, who started today's stage with his a bandaged left hand, courtesy of recurring tendonitis. Wilson told Cyclingnews' Jeff Jones this morning that "it's been a really good week. Everyone's really happy and we've worked well as a team and we're happy to continue like this.

"It was a bit of a blow (typical Australian understatement) to lose Brad (McGee, team leader) so early, so we've got one less card to play with. We've still got a couple of chances at stage wins today and tomorrow. I've had lots of opportunities to attack and get in breaks. I've been trying to do that but I haven't had much luck getting away. I'll be trying that again today."

One rider who seems to be growing from strength to strength is another Australian pursuiter, the former world junior individual pursuit champion Mark Jamieson. Currently second in the U23 competition, 'Jamo' is a 20- year old rider from a small town in Tasmania called 'The Nook' and considered one of the country's best future prospects. He told Cyclingnews this morning that he was looking forward to the climb - uncharacteristically for a rider who's very strong on the track - and that he was still feeling good after four stage of his first Tour. Jamieson has been racing all through the Australian summer, notably at the Tasmanian Christmas Carnivals.

13:22 ACDT - 101 km/46 km to go
At the second and final intermediate sprint of the day, it was once again Aurelien Clerc (Quick.Step-Davitamon) who took the maximum 6 points, with Remco Van Der Ven (Bankgiroloterij) and Erki Putsep (Ag2r Prevoyance) taking 4 and 2 points respectively. That now puts Clerc in the virtual sprinter's jersey on 30 points, six points clear of McEwen.

The lead group's advantage is still at 0'50.

13:24 ACDT - 102 km/45 km to go
The break's lead is now down to 39 seconds! Looks like it's all over, red rover for the 10 opportunists.

13:31 ACDT - 106 km/41 km to go
The break's lead is coming down rapidly, the peloton now at 0'25. Bloody good job by the UniSA team for their fearless leader Pat Jonker. We're now down to the business end of the bike race.

13:32 ACDT
Laurens Ten Dam (Bankgiroloterij) attacks again. He really wants this stage!

13:35 ACDT - 111 km/36 km to go
At km 111, Laurens Ten Dam (Bankgiroloterij) and Ryan Sullivan (United Water) have a small lead, with the remaining eight members of the break swallowed up by the peloton.

13:37 ACDT
Laurens Ten Dam (Bankgiroloterij) has dropped Ryan Sullivan (United Water), and has a 15 second lead to Nicholas Vogondy (FDJeux.com), who has 10 seconds on the bunch.

Current race situation

At km 11, a 10 rider break went clear, including: Erki Putsep (Ag2r Prevoyance), Hans De Clercq (Lotto-Domo), Aurelien Clerc (Quick.Step-Davitamon), Nicholas Vogondy (FDJeux.com), Sergio Marinangeli (Domina Vacanze), Remco Van Der Ven, Laurens Ten Dam (Bankgiroloterij), David McPartland (Team Australia), Ryan Sullivan and Peter Dawson (United Water).

At km 111, the break was caught with the exception of Laurens Ten Dam (Bankgiroloterij), who attacked just beforehand. Ten Dam's lead is 17 seconds.

13:44 ACDT - 117 km/30 km to go
Laurens Ten Dam (Bankgiroloterij) and Nicholas Vogondy (FDJeux.com) have both been caught, and the peloton is all together with 30 kilometres remaining. Watch out for fireworks on the climb of Old Willunga Hill, coming up in about 10 kilometres.

13:50 ACDT - 120 km/27 km to go
There are massive crowds on the climb of Old Willunga Hill, ready to cheer on their hero Patrick Jonker (UniSA). The final part of the climb is hardest, with the gradient rising significantly in the last kilometre.

14:00 ACDT - 124 km/23 km to go
Giuliano Figueras (Panaria-Margres) attacks on the climb, followed by Philippe Gilbert (FDJeux.com) and Nicolas Inaudi (Ag2r Prevoyance).

20 metres behind is Patrick Jonker (UniSA), Luke Roberts (UniSA), Simon Gerrans (Team Australia), Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo), Ben Day (Team Australia), Massimo Giunti (Domina Vacanze), Alexandre Botcharov (Credit Agricole), Nicolas Portal (Ag2r Prevoyance), Allan Davis (Team Australia) and Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com).

14:05 ACDT - 128 km/19 km to go
On the KOM, it was Paolo Tiralongo (Panaria-Margres) who took maximum points ahead of team-mate Giuliano Figueras, 10 seconds in front of Massimiliano Gentili (Domina Vacanze) and Philippe Gilbert (FDJeux.com).

Soon after, Gentili (Domina Vacanze) and Philippe Gilbert were caught, with Tiralongo and Figueras 24 seconds ahead of the main bunch.

14:07 ACDT - 133 km/14 km to go
Paolo Tiralongo and Giuliano Figueras (Panaria-Margres) enjoy a slender 18 second lead to the yellow jersey group with 14 kilometres to go. C'mon Pat, you can do it mate!

14:10 ACDT
In the yellow jersey group are: Patrick Jonker and Luke Roberts (UniSA), Simon Gerrans and Ben Day (Team Australia), Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo), Massimo Giunti (Domina Vacanze), Alexandre Botcharov (Credit Agricole), Nicolas Portal (Ag2r Prevoyance), Allan Davis (Team Australia), Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com), Antonio Fisher Murillo (Domina Vacanze), Philippe Gilbert (FDJeux.com), Massimiliano Gentili (Domina Vacanze).

14:14 ACDT - 142 km/5 km to go
The two-man break with Paolo Tiralongo and Giuliano Figueras (Panaria-Margres) has been caught. It's fairly safe to say Patrick Jonker is going to win the last race of his career in fine style. Go you good thing!

14:16 ACDT
Last year's winner, Mikel Astarloza, has crashed! Let's hope he's OK.

14:19 ACDT - 144 km/3 km to go
It looks like Cyclingnews' Karen Forman has chosen the right team car again, with Baden Cooke and Phlippe Gilbert (FDJeux.com) in the front group. Ben Day (Team Australia) attacks! He's got about a 50m gap.

14:22 ACDT - 147 km/0 km to go
Ben Day (Team Australia) holds off the field for a fantastic solo win, 80 metres ahead of the front group. Patrick Jonker will keep his yellow jersey. Onya Aussies!


1 Ben Day (Aus) Team Australia                            3.15.24
2 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo                             0.04
3 Baden Cooke (Aus) FDJeux.com
4 Allan Davis (Aus) Team Australia
5 Antonio Fisher Murillo (Bra) Domina Vacanze
6 Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Panaria-Margres
7 Luke Roberts (Aus) UniSA
8 Massimo Giunti (Ita) Domina Vacanze
9 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) FDJeux.com
10 Nicolas Portal (Fra) Ag2r Prevoyance
General classification after stage 5
1 Patrick Jonker (Aus) UniSA                             14.48.29
2 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo                             1.34
3 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) FDJeux.com                          1.39
4 Baden Cooke (Aus) FDJeux.com                               1.44
5 Antonio Fisher Murillo (Bra) Domina Vacanze                1.46
7 Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Panaria-Margres                    1.47
8 Luke Roberts (Aus) UniSA
9 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Credit Agricole                  1.48
10 Massimo Giunti (Ita) Domina Vacanze
Sprints classification
1 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo
Mountains classification
1 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Panaria-Margres
U23 classification
1 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) FDJeux.com 
Teams classification
1 UniSA

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