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JCTDU

10th Tour Down Under - ProT

Australia, January 20-27, 2008

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Stage 6 - Sunday, January 27: Adelaide East End Circuit, 88 km

Complete live report

15:56 CST   
Please join us at 14.30 CDT Australia for the sixth and final stage of the Tour Down Under, an 88km race around the streets of Adelaide. The riders will face 16 laps of the tight and twisty 5.5km city circuit and with Andre Greipel of Team High Road holding down a 7 second lead on GC, it promises to be an exciting race.

14:26 CST   
Graeme Brown (Rabobank) Photo ©: Cyclingnews
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The riders are lined up Photo ©: Cyclingnews
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Good afternoon and welcome back to sunny Adelaide for the sixth and final stage of the 10th Tour Down Under. As mentioned previously, today there is an 88km circuit race around the streets of Adelaide - 16 laps of the tight and twisty 5.5km city circuit. With Andre Greipel of Team High Road holding down a 7 second lead on GC, it would seem the German revelation has a pretty secure hold on theleader's ochre jersey, but Allan 'Alby' Davis of UniSA - australia is not going tohhand it to him on a platter. Yesterday he told reporters, "We've got 88km to go yet and we'll be fighting for the last centimetre. Another day to go and we're not going to stop fighting. Seven seconds, it's winable, we can win it from there. There are 3-2-1 bonus sprints, plus a 10-6-4 sprint at the end. There's more than seven seconds to gain there. As long as we go down fighting, we're all happy."

14:30 CST   
To quote the old cliche, it's the not the size of the dog in the fight, etc, as Davis certainly gives a lot away in size to Greipel, who's been called 'gorilla' since his dominant performance here in Adelaide. The thing that both UniSa - Australia and Team High Road share is a 'nothing-to-lose' attitude. UniSa because it's made of riders from other teams who are keen to make an impression - especially the still uncontracted Davis - while Team High road is keen to atttract a full naming rights sponsor, since T-Mobile withdrew late last year.

14:36 CST   
Pre-race sign-on
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
(Click for larger image)
So the riders have assembled at the start line in Rundle Road and they face light to moderate winds out on the course, although the temperatures are a civilised 26 degrees, which should make for attacking riding.

14:39 CST    3km/85km to go
And they're away! And immediately a rider from FDJ has attacked and he's been joined by three others and they have a 50 metre gap .... but not for long. The peloton is not letting anything go.

14:45 CST    4km/84km to go
A Quick Step rider, Leonardo Scarselli (Ita), has now attacked and going hard. They're still on the first lap. We spoke to Stuart O'Grady of Team CSC before the start, "we are having a good time, all of the crowds have been great". Last night at the TDU 'Legends Dinner' Stuey made the winning bid of AUD$12K for an orginal jersey owned by Miguel Indurain, which he dontedt to a charity auction to benefit the Amy gillett Foundation. "Miguel's jersey will look good and the money goes to the Amy Gillet Foundation". Fellow Australian but rival, Nick Gates of Silence - Lotto, said, " my role will be to work for Robbie (McEwen) in the sprint finish". Of the current race leader, Andre Greipel, he said, "He is a pretty scary dude ... looking at him he looks like The Hulk."

14:46 CST    6km/82km to go
They have come through for the first lap without incident. Huge crowds line the course, as the mild conditions have really brought out the fans. Team CSC is on the front.

14:48 CST    9km/79km to go
We also spoke to big Dave Sanders, the wily manager of UniSA who will be hoping to direct alby Davis to the upset win. "It will be on. He can definetely do it - we haven't got anything to lose. The big boy (Greipel) has got some horsepower but he tends to get lost in the sprint and this track isn't that wide. We will target him for the first sprint them probably sit back until the finish. I'm confident."

14:49 CST    10km/78km to go
Yoann Offredo (Fra) of FDJ has a go - these young French riders have been awesome in this year's TDU - always on the attack. He's got 50 metres.

14:51 CST    11km/77km to go
OK so that's two laps down and 14 to go. Rabobank's hope for the sprint is Australian Graeme Brown, who told us, "Yesterday we had another setback, but today we will try once again. We have five guys here, so it could be tough. It's a headwind down the straight so we will give it our best".

14:53 CST    13km/75km to go
Team High Road manager Alan Peiper said "We will be defending today. We don't really have to do anything other than that. There are bonus seconds available so if it comes down to that he will have to go for that. It's really up to UniSA to control the race. We are soberly confident, it is only 7 seconds, and anything can happen. we will see. Greipel is a bit nervous, obviously. He will be following Alby today." Out on the course, the pace is high, too high for an atttack to go clear.

14:56 CST    14km/74km to go
Meanwhile, the challenger, Allan Davis, said just before the start, "We will do our best, this team has been riding like a big professional outfit even though we have only been together for a few days. I would just like to thank my team, without them I would never have been were I am now." Alby also has some big motors on his team and a fair bit of experience, too, with Karl Menzies, Luke Roberts - one of the fastest men in the world over 4km - and the highly experienced Matt Wilson.

14:57 CST    17km/71km to go
So there are 13 laps to go and we've got two more before the first intermediate sprint. It's a high pace and the peloton is altogether.

14:58 CST    18km/70km to go
Alby's brother, Scott Davis, is a key rider on Team High Road. Any brotherly conflict? Not really, his job is to protect Andre Greipel. "Well it must be tough for him, but I think his professionalism will shine through," he said of the big sprinter.

15:00 CST    19km/69km to go
Team CSC has an emerging young rider in the Tasmanian, Matt Goss, who's been gradually building his form during the TDU. "I am feeling good, yesterday hurt a bit but I will go for it today. See how Stuey is feeling before we decide who we will get up there for the sprint". And then afterwards? "I am looking forward to the bbq tonight, it will be a bit of fun and relaxing." But before that, he's got 60km of suffering ahead.

15:01 CST    20km/68km to go
The Dutch rider, Koen De Kort of Astana, told us, "I like this race, the weather has been great. I have been here in Australia for the past four months staying in Bundaberg (home town of the Davis brothers), so I feel a little like a local".

15:04 CST    22km/66km to go
Andre Greiepl has really been a revelation this year. Nick Gates of Silence - Lotto, apart from comparing Andre to a Marvel Comics creation, said, "He has obvouisly been training hard through November and December, so it's good for Team High Road after what happened over the winter", referring to its sponsorship woes. So we've got 12 to go and next up is the first all-important intermediate sprint.

15:06 CST    23km/65km to go
We've got UniSA and Team CSC on the front with the field altogether as they crank it up for the first sprint.

15:08 CST    24km/64km to go
They're still together as the sprinters' teams control the front, with Team High Road in close attendance. A minor subtext to tday's battle for GC is the points competition, as Davis, Greipel and Credit Agricole's Mark Renshaw are all locked on 24 points in the points competition, but it's of minor consequence compared to the overall.

15:13 CST    28km/60km to go
We also spoke to Brett Lancaster from Team Milram, "Today I'll see how the hip is and if it's alright I'll give it a go at the finish". And Koen de Kort from Astana had also said he's hoping to set up Aaron Kemps for the sprint, too. The field hits the line for the first intermediate sprint and Alby gets it! Amazingly, it looked like Greg Henderson from Team High Road in second and then Stuey in third! Where's Greipel?

15:15 CST    29km/59km to go
So it looks like Allan Davis has just knocked 3 seconds off Greipel's lead - 5 more to go to secure the GC.

15:19 CST    32km/56km to go
Coming up for 10 to go and the field is together. Great work before by UniSA although it looks like big Karl Menzies may have impeded - ever so slightly - big Andre's run to the line as High Road did a three-man lead-out, but still Alby got through and came off Henderson's wheel. Behind the field, 'Burt' Lancaster has abandoned.

15:21 CST    34km/54km to go
Mauro Da Dalto (Ita) of Liquigas has attacked the field and has made 100 metres, while behind UniSa and CSC lead the peloton.

15:22 CST    36km/52km to go
And like hungry cattledogs they chase him down. The pace is really high as there are some quality riders working hard on the front and the field is being strung out - very hard work for those riders at the back of the field when it goes through the tight 180-dgree bends.

15:27 CST    39km/49km to go
And Benoit Joachim from Astana has attacked and opened up a gap of about 100 metres. Nothing too serious yet but UniSa would want to contest out every sprint if Davis is going to overcome the German powerhouse. And it looks like a Quick Step rider is going across to join Joachim.

15:29 CST    42km/46km to go
So the field has two more laps before the next intermediate sprint and the chasing has brought back Joachim and the Quick Step rider, whose time off the front was so short we didn't even get his number.

15:35 CST    45km/43km to go
And with 8 laps to go the field is still all together. CSC has really been active on the front as it's working towards some ProTour points and wants its place in this finale, so it seems. As they say at many an Australian cycling event, 'welcome to the business end of the bike race'; in this case a six-day Tour.

15:38 CST    48km/40km to go
The pace is really on but an attack has been launched from a Silence - Lotto rider and he's got about 80 metres. It looks like Matt Lloyd ... he's a climber!

15:40 CST    52km/36km to go
There are 6 CSC riders on the front of the peloton, while Graeme Brown of Rabobank and Karl Menzies of UniSa are in close attendance. The field just got the bell for the next intermediate sprint, and with 7 laps to go.

15:45 CST    54km/34km to go
And the field remains together as Team High Road gets up the front to reserve some space for Big Andre. So Davis has taken a few seconds off him ...

15:49 CST    56km/32km to go
And Big Andre gets the next intermediate sprint from Davis, he's taken back a second and in third was Michael Albasini (Swi) of Liquigas. So we're set up for the grand finale.

15:51 CST    59km/29km to go
We've now got five laps to go and it looks like Davis will have to win the final sprint and Greipel will have to be out of the points for Davis to secure the overall win on GC. If Andre comes second to Alby he still gets the overall, and if he's third it looks like it'll be another dead heat on time, and then the winner will be determined on a countback.

15:53 CST    62km/26km to go
So with five to go and in that last sprint, with a clear run to the line Greipel outsprinted Alby by a bike-length. This German rider is really fast in this year's TDU.

15:57 CST    64km/24km to go
There are tens of thousands of people lining today's street circuit. Once again present in the crowd are fans with a banner in support of Robbie McEwen and thanking the UCI for giving the race ProTour status - this group has now been at every stage of the event. And nobody is leaving their spot at the barricades.

16:02 CST    67km/21km to go
A group of five riders has got away and built a small gap; it includes Koen De Kort (Ned) of Astana, Caisse D'Epargne's Nicolas Portal (Fra) and Wim Vansevenant (Bel) of Silence - Lotto. The peloton is being led by UniSA.

16:04 CST    70km/18km to go
So with four laps to go this group has a lead of about 250 metres while UniSa stays on the front of the main field.

16:06 CST    72km/16km to go
UniSa is working hard on the front and keeping the gap to about 300 metres or 11 seconds. There are now three laps to go.

16:10 CST   
Almost all the UniSA team was on the front as they went past the start finish line to signify three laps to go. The leaders have about 13 seconds on the main field. The riders in the break include Koen De Kort (Ned) of Astana, Caisse D'Epargne's Nicolas Portal (Fra) and Luis Leon sanchez, as well as Wim Vansevenant (Bel) of Silence - Lotto and Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) of Lampre.

16:15 CST    77km/11km to go
With two laps to go the gap is down to 10 seconds, while UniSa leads the chase and CSC is starting to help, as well as a few Credit Agricole riders. Stuey O'Grady can be seen up the front, while McEwen can't be seen, but as we all know, that doesn't mean anything as he can always materialise in the last 200 metres.

16:17 CST    79km/9km to go
Got 'em - the peloton is back together and now the jostling for the final sprint begins. UniSa can't relax too much to save its strength for the final lead-out as any lull in the pace will only result in a counter-attack.

16:19 CST    80km/8km to go
There are several crashes being called out in the peloton, riders from Ag2r and Euskaltel falling, injuries unknown.

16:21 CST    83km/5km to go
And there goes the bell to signify one lap to go, McEwen has materialised while CSC cranks away on the front.

16:23 CST    85km/3km to go
It's pretty hectic in the peloton as it's being led by CSC and Credit Agricole. Nick Gates has put McEwen into a good spot, and there is Graeme Brown, too. High Road getting in to position and even Philippe Gilbert of FDJ, the KoM jersey wearer, also present.

16:24 CST    86km/1km to go
Gilbert is second wheel and now he goes but doesn't get far.

16:25 CST   
It's High Road to the front as this team lifts the pace - the best form of defence, etc.

16:25 CST    87km/1km to go
Greipel is at 10th wheel in the final kilometre with Renshaw on Davis' wheel ...

16:27 CST    88km/0km to go
Brownie is going hard and leads the sprint, but there's Greipel and he gets a clear run to the line ...

16:27 CST    88km/0km to go
And he gets it! Our unofficial winner of the 10th Tour Down Under is andre Greipel of Team High Road after he took out the final stage in a full-on sprint finish.

16:29 CST   
Greipel got it by half-a-wheel to a Gerosteiner rider, possibly Forster who took over the lead-out from Brownie, who got third and it looks like Rojas from Caisse D'Epargne in fourth, and then possibly McEwen in fourth. Davis was out of this one.

16:31 CST   
Greipel says on the finish line, "I'm really proud of it and I had thebest support in this race. My team-mates were talking to me all the time and I had the best support throughout". He says that Menzies did impede his progress in the first intermdiate sprint, "but in the end the best rider won".

Postscript: Cyclingnews spoke to the chief commissaire after the race and he said he was perfectly happy with the first sprint and that no action could or would be taken.

Summary

By Gerard Knapp

The field was greeted by 26 degree temperatures and a moderate breeeze in otherwise perfect racing conditions on Sunday afternoon in Adelaide. It was frantic from the gun and while riders tried, none could get away.

They had to complete 16 laps of the 5.5km city circuit to make up the 88km stage around the streets of Adelaide. After the first five laps, Allan Davis from UniSA took out the first intermediate sprint, while Andre Greipel took out the second to even the score. With just under five laps to go a group of five riders had opened up a 13 second lead. It included Koen De Kort (Ned) of Astana, Caisse D'Epargne's Nicolas Portal (Fra) and Luis Leon Sanchez, as well as Wim Vansevenant (Bel) of Silence - Lotto and Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) of Lampre.

However, with less than two laps to go, the UniSA boys had brought them back, with some help from CSC. In the final mad dash for the line, Andre Greipel showed his pure strength to take the final sprint and with it, the overall classification of the 10th Tour Down Under.

After the finish, Greipel said, "I'm really proud of it and I had the best support in this race. My team-mates were talking to me all the time and I had the best support throughout". He says that UniSA's Karl Menzies did impede his progress in the first intermdiate sprint, "but in the end the best rider won". Indeed he did, as it was Greipel's third stage win in a row, his fourth in the TDU and fifth this week, as he also took out the Down Under Classic last Sunday. He's arrived in emphatic fashion.

Provisional results of stage 6, Tour Down Under, January 27, 2008

1 Andre Greipel (Ger) Team High Road                            1.15.13
2 Jan Robert Forster (Ger)                                           st
3 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
4 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse D'Epargne
5 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Rabobank
6 Aurelien Clerc (Swi) Bouygues Telecom
7 Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Lampre
8 Allan Davis (Aus) UniSA -  Australia                               
9 Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) Liquigas
10 Davide Vigano (Ita) Quick Step

Provisional General Classification after Stage 6

1 Andre Greipel (Ger) Team High Road                            18.46.03
2 Allan Davis (Aus) UniSA -  Australia                               .15
3 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse D'Epargne                      .48
4 Mickael Delage (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux                            .52
5 Mickael Buffaz (Fra) Cofidis Le Credit Par Telephone                st   

 

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