9th Tour Down Under - 2.HC
Australia, January 16-21, 2007
Results & report
Stage 3 - Friday, January 19: Stirling - Victor Harbor , 128km
Complete live report
Live Commentary by Gerard Knapp & Ben Abrahams, with additional reporting
from Mark Zalewski & Greg Johnson
Live coverage starts: 11:00
Estimated finish: 14:14
Welcome back to South Australia for
live coverage of Tour Down Under stage three courtesy of the Cyclingnews
online blimp - Hindenburg V-2. Today's stage starts in Stirling, a small
town some 20km from Adelaide's centre and proceeds due South for 70km to Goolwa
before swinging back West for the finish in Victor Harbor. Total race distance
is a relatively short 128km, with just the one classified climb of Kerby Hill
coming after 87.2km followed by an easy(ish) run to the finish.
Menzies is still sitting pretty in the ochre leader's jersey after his Australia
- UniSA boys kept things under control during a chaotic stage two. Barring disaster,
today's parcours shouldn't present too many problems for the big Tasmanian before
tomorrow's showdown on Willunga Hill.
Quick weather update courtesy of our
men on the ground: The conditions at today's start line are overcast and threatening
rain, which is the forecast by those in the know. Roads around Stirling are
still damp from overnight rainfall, but we are yet to see the heavy downpours
predicted at the start of the event. The temperature is a relatively chilly
22 degrees Celcius.
Five minutes to the start now, we're
just going through today's rendition of the Australian National Anthem, sung
by some local school children.
Cycling's stalwart commentator Phil
Liggett was confident when asked about his predictions for the Tour Down Under
champion: "Martin Elmiger or Matt Lloyd," said Liggett. For today's stage, he
feels it will be a sprint to the line, and thinks Stuart O'Grady might just
get it right this time around.
The race is just rolling out through
the short 1km neutralised section. 110 starters this morning after Brett Aitken
had a tough time yesterday and pulled out on the finishing circuits. That's
one fewer men to protect Karl Menzies.
Today's first sprint comes after 15.5km
at Echunga. Before that the riders have to negotiate a tricky 3km descent. Roads
are still a bit wet but the rain is holding off for now.
Local boy Stuart O'Grady is hoping
to take today what he narrowly missed out on yesterday: a stage win. "It was
good for the moral yesterday," O'Grady told Cyclingnews. "The final climb
will be decisive today, but I'm feeling good." The South Australian's father
will ride along in the Team CSC car for today's stage - that should help Stuey's
11:15 CST 10km/118km to go
Here come the attacks:
a group of 19 riders have split from the peloton. The gap is hovering around
21 seconds. Early days yet. 5km to the first intermediate sprint.
Some three thousand people have lined
up at the start or today's stage, all waving their SA Events clapper hands.
The crowd have been pumped up by the riders and the Black Eyed Peas version
of Let's Get It Started. Sadly for Unibet's Baden Cooke the whole crowd laughed
when he was asked if there was someone special in his life and replied "No,
Viktor Rapinski (Navigators Insurance
Cycling Team) and Josep Jufre Pou (Predictor - Lotto) have attacked the 19 rider
break before the sprint at Echunga. Rapinski takes the points ahead of Jufre
Pou. Matt Goss (Team CSC) is third.
Fans were going crazy at the first
sprint as the police entourage flew through, you can imagine their disappointment
when the first thing to round the corner was a Mitsubishi Pajero towing a boat
- not the peloton they were hoping for.
Team CSC's support crew must have
consumed a lot of liquid this morning, they're parked on the side of the road
with the whole crew peeing in nearby bushes. Lovely!
Aerts (Predictor Lotto) drops back to the team car for some technical assistance.
Those 19 are well away from the peloton
now. Last time check from race radio was one minute and growing. These are the
Samuel Dumoulin (AG2r Prevoyance), Matthew Goss, Matti Breschel
(Team CSC), Josep Jufre Pou, Wim Vansevenant (Predictor - Lotto), Christophe
Laurent (Credit Agricole), Brett Lancaster (Team Milram), Dimitri Champion,
Yohann Gene (Bouygues Telecom), Baden Cooke, Jeremy Hunt (Unibet.com), Viktor
Rapinski (Navigators Insurance Cycling Team), Gianpaolo Cheula , Geraint Thomas
(Barloworld), Miles Olman, Michael Ford (SouthAustralia.com-AIS), Mitchell Docker,
Chris Jongerwaard (Australia - UniSA) and Scott Lyttle (New Zealand National
Hold on a second, what's going on?
A cement truck seems to have spilt a massive pile of, well, cement, across the
road. There's a two metre gap either side where the riders can pass. That's
one way of stopping a break getting too far ahead.
Know what it's like to be embarrassed?
Spare a thought for the red-faced truck driver who has spilled half a cubic
metre of concrete on the course. There's no sign of a shovel in sight and the
riders are quickly approaching.
And the rain has begun to fall. The
first time it's ever done so on a stage of this event. Maybe the rain will help
wash away the concrete? Doubtful, it's only light at this stage. We're on a
fast downhill section now that will need to be approached with caution.
Race leader Karl Menzies - who seems
to have the most nicknames of any rider, so far we've heard 'Killer', 'Big Dog'
and 'Ten Menzies' - said he was doing everything to make sure he's at the top
on the final day. The Aussie has been keeping off the drink and getting to bed
nice and early. "I'm not going anywhere near it 'till Sunday," he said. "We
are hoping to have reason for a big one then."
With the rain steadily falling the
break gets down to work. Matt Goss and Matti Breshcel from CSC are doing the
lion's share. Current time gap is 1'04. No riders have come back to the convoy
for rain jackets just yet.
Lars Bak, currently in third on GC,
drops back to speak with Team CSC boss Bjarne Riis in the car. The gap rises
slightly to 1'10 with Chocolade Jacques setting tempo in the peloton.
12:12 CST 56km/72km to go
The riders are just
starting to enter the fire ravaged parts of South Australia there's nothing
green for miles around. The break now has 2'25 as the CSC car goes up to look
after Goss and Breschel.
Locals have devised a way to slow
down the foreign riders, their road-side potato operation is offering a special
discount today, with bags down to $1.60, that's a dollar off. Bargain.
12:16 CST 64km/64km to go
5km to the second sprint
at Goolwa. Simon Clarke (SouthAustralia.com-AIS) goes back to see the race doctor.
No reports of a crash though.
12:17 CST 66km/62km to go
The break now has 3'33
with Credit Agricole, Milram and Unibet driving hard through the rain. 3km to
the sprint now.
The police escort that is guarding
the route have had enough of the rain, thankfully a booze bus has just rounded
ten of them up on the side of the route and handed out wet weather gear.
Latest time gap 5'09.
Order at sprint #2: 1st Viktor Rapinski
(Navigators Insurance Cycling Team), 2nd Christophe Laurent (Credit Agricole)
and 3rd Scott Lyttle (New Zealand National Team).
Latest time check
5'45. Surely these 19 are home and dry(?) now.
12:30 CST 77km/51km to go
Hugging the coastline
now through the town of Middleton, there's a feed zone at 82km followed by the
KOM of Kerby Hill at 87km. All team cars from the 12 teams represented have
now gone up behind the break.
The rains eases slightly across the
Goolwa plains. Still threatening clouds in the sky ahead though. Matteo Carrara
(Unibet.com) comes back for a rain jacket. It's now a full 6 minutes between
the two groups.
12:39 CST 82km/46km to go
The race turns inland
now, through the feed zone at Port Elliot. 5km to the KOM at Kerby Hill. This
will surely be the springboard for some attacks in the leading group.
Gianpaolo Cheula (Barloworld) has
attacked through the feed zone, he's got 150m on the rest. Christophe Laurent
(Credit Agricole) is trying to bridge across.
12:45 CST 86km/42km to go
We're onto the climb.
It's a steep one too. Cheula has 14 seconds over the chasers. 9'13 to the peloton
- they're well and truly out of it now. Good crowds up here despite the rain.
The break is spliting to bits now.
Brett Lancaster is out the back in some difficulty. Cheula drives on in the
lead. 300m to the KOM summmit.
12:49 CST 89km/39km to go
Cheula takes it followed
by Samuel Dumoulin and Josep Jufre Pou. Michael Ford (SouthAustralia.com-AIS)
is hurting on the steep slopes.
It's pouring down now on the stairstep
descent. Everyman and his dog is out braving the rain. German Shepard Mr Darcy
is out to see the finish. When asked who he was backing, he just woofed.
Cheula is still out there, in the
lead, alone. He's going from a long way out but with riders like Baden Cooke
in the break it could be his only option. A group of 9 are chasing, 12 seconds
Cheula is joined up front by eight
others. Here they are:
Samuel Dumoulin (AG2r Prevoyance), Matthew
Goss, Matti Breschel (Team CSC), Josep Jufre Pou (Predictor - Lotto), Dimitri
Champion (Bouygues Telecom), Baden Cooke, Jeremy Hunt (Unibet.com), Chris Jongerwaard
(Australia - UniSA)
Viktor Rapinski drives the chasers, 12 seconds
One of the hottest sprints at the
KOM finish was that of police officer who chased down a Ford Falcon on his Giant
mountain bike. The rogue driver had managed to get in between the break and
the peloton, despite the police lock down.
After that little flurry on Kerby
Hill, the original 19 are all back together. 10'13 to the peloton. Four riders
are now attacking, names coming shortly...
We've just flown past Granny's Gourmet
Lettuce farm in country SA and its stirred up a huge debate within the Cyclingnews
blimp. What is the difference between that and your standard lettuce? That's
what we would like to know, perhaps Granny or one of our Cyclingnews readers
who are experts in the area could write in and help us settle the debate? All
emails to email@example.com
Sorry about that, back to the race.
More attacks. Brett Lancaster, Michael Ford and Scott Lyttle are going backwards
from the break.
More gaps in the lead group. 10 riders
at the head of affairs now, with four in pursuit.
(Credit Agricole), Yohann Gene (Bouygues Telecom), Geraint Thomas (Barloworld),
Mitchell Docker (Australia - UniSA) and Miles Olman (SouthAustralia.com-AIS)
are also strugglying.
Loads of water on the roads now, totally unheard
of for the Tour Down Under!
The 10 riders in the lead now are:
Samuel Dumoulin (AG2r Prevoyance), Matthew Goss, Matti Breschel (Team CSC),
Josep Jufre Pou, Wim Vansevenant (Predictor - Lotto), Dimitri Champion (Bouygues
Telecom), Baden Cooke, Jeremy Hunt (Unibet.com), Gianpaolo Cheula (Barloworld)
and Chris Jongewaard (Australia - UniSA)
12'40 back to the peloton.
It's been a fast one today, well ahead of the race schedule.
Samuel Dumoulin (AG2r Prevoyance)
now leads the mountains competition while Viktor Rapinski (Navigators Insurance
Cycling Team) will wear the blue sprinter's jersey.
After stage 1, we've had to do some
detailed analysis of our 'guess the time gap competition'. Here is the latest
update from the CN prizes committee:
'The impromptu competition organised
by Cyclingnews commentator Ben Abrahams drew an enormous response. A suggestion
to "involve the readers" - as a time gap in the first stage began to look somewhat
inevitable - was taken quite literally and the incentive of the Cyclingnews
tee-shirt was obviously very attractive.
Thanks to all for taking the time
to completely clog up the commentator's inbox, but it was all good fun and showed
what a diverse bunch you are. And by that, we mean you're reading from a wide
variety of countries, and you also showed varying levels of faith in the peloton's
ability to stay in contact with the leaders.
In fact, it reminds one of
that famous stage .... '
Good grief that waffles on - back
to the race coverage.
Wim Vansevenant (Predictor - Lotto)
attacks the leaders. Riders are in pursuit. Apologies for the lack of km checks,
we'll have one through shortly...
13:34 CST 123km/5km to go
Just 5km to go now.
Vansevenant has 50m on the chasers...
13:36 CST 124km/4km to go
4km to go. Vansevenant
is caught and dropped, 6 riders in the lead...
13:37 CST 125km/3km to go
Upfront we have: Samuel
Dumoulin (AG2r Prevoyance), Matthew Goss (Team CSC), Josep Jufre Pou (Predictor
- Lotto), Baden Cooke (Unibet.com), Gianpaolo Cheula (Barloworld), Chris Jongewaard
(Australia - UniSA)
13:38 CST 126km/2km to go
In the last 2km now...
Still those 6 leading.
13:39 CST 127km/1km to go
Under the 1km banner...
At the line, one rider is clear...
Baden Cooke takes it!!!!!! Jongewaard
The third place rider came in just
after Jongewaard, clarification coming shortly! Behind, there was a group of
5 sprinting for fourth.
Matt Goss (CSC) takes third, an Aussie
Robbie McEwen and Martin Elmiger lead
the peloton home
From the original breakaway of 19,
Rapinski was the best placed on GC, 16'18 behind. The overall standings will
be close but Menzies should keep the leader's jersey.
It seems the presentations have been
held up somewhat while the organisers clarify whether Karl Menzies is still
the race leader. Full GC results as soon as we get them...
While we're waiting for the commissaires
to do the time gap sums, I've gone back to the long-winded summary from the
prizes committe ...
' ... just like it was in '55, really. Oh, where
was I? That's right, the tee-shirt competition. So without any further ado,
the winner of the CN tee-shirt is Mr Jeff Smith, who suggested 26.42 would be
the time gap, and with Stuart O'Grady leading the bunch home some 26.15 behind
the stage winner Killer Karl Menzies, that makes him our winner.
of you thought the gap would be much closer, like three or four minutes, but
one pessimist thought they'd be 43 minutes down; obviously someone who would
believe that the peloton had swapped water for local shiraz in their bidons,
like one reader suggested.
Congratulations to Jeff and thanks again
to all those who entered, and who've been following our live coverage of the
Tour Down Under.
And before I get snipped again by the commentator, I'll
let him get back to the final results for today's stage. Seems the presentations
are being held up a bit while they sort out the GC ...
reader stage prediction email, from a reader in Mexico, David Romero. "Fast
Freddie Rodriguez leads McEwen to the line in a bunch sprint. Aussie, Aussie,
Aussie, Oy, Oy, Oy!!! Not sure what that means (I'm Mexican), but I heard a
bunch of Australians yelling it at last years Tour de France."
back to those time gaps .... '
Thank you prizes committe chairman.
That'll do it for today's live coverage,
still no official confirmation of the overall standings, but Karl Menzies should
retain the race lead. It was another aggressively raced stage that saw the Aussies
hit back with a 1-2-3 finish in some horrendous conditions. Thanks again to
all those who tuned in - we'll be back up in the Cyclingnews blimp tomorrow
for what should be the decisive stage of this year's TDU: a 147km leg featuring
the brutal climb of Willunga Hill.
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