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11th Tour Down Under - ProT

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, January 18-25, 2009

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Stage 2 - January 21: Hahndorf - Stirling, 145 km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Greg Johnson

22:09 CST   
Join us on Wednesday for Stage 2 of the Tour Down Under. The action begins at 11:00 local Australia time (CDT), 1:30 European time (CEST)/ 19:30 (USA East).

11:00 CST   
Guten Morgen, wie geht es Ihnen? (Good morning, how are you?). As the more astute reader will have already guessed, we will be running a German theme throughout today’s live coverage, as the second stage of Tour Down Under takes us from then back through the German influenced suburb of Hahndorf.

11:02 CST   
Throughout today’s coverage we will be throwing out some German trivia questions for you to answer, and I’ll even be taking a poll at some stage. So go grab a wurst and an apple (we’re heading to Stirling, after all) and join in on today’s action. Remember you can hurl your comments, requests, predictions, compliments and even abuse at me via the commentator@cyclingnews.com address throughout the day.

11:03 CST   
The peloton is about to roll out of Hahndorf.

Julien El Fares (Cofidis)
Photo ©: Les Clarke
(Click for larger image)

11:04 CST   
For those of you who haven’t already checked out First Edition Cycling News today, I can confirm Robbie McEwen (Katusha) will be back in action on today’s stage. The Queenslander coped a camera lens to the forearm in yesterday’s sprint finish, which confirms my theory that just because you can afford a 400 mm lens, doesn’t mean you should be allowed to use one.

Anyway, I saw McEwen in the lift this morning coming back from breakfast and he was happily chewing down some cake while talking to the Katusha boys. He did however have a bandage on his arm still, which had a pretty clear lump in it.

11:05 CST   
While we’re on the topic of the lift, I’d just like to clear something up. No, I don’t stalk people in the lifts each morning and no, I’m not a concierge, as some of you have kindly suggested. I’m still trying to figure out if that person was just joking, or telling me I’d be better at being a concierge. The mystery of life.

11:06 CST   
A group of about 15 riders has moved ahead of the peloton. They're sitting just 100 metres down the road for now, so we won't go too far and call it an attack just yet.

11:07 CST    4km/141km to go
Seems like a wise choice on my part, four kilometres into the stage and everyone's back together. We should see some riders get away soon, the first sprint will pop up pretty quickly this morning.

11:10 CST    6km/139km to go
The race is reportedly flying along, but so far there hasn't been a group able to snap off the front.

11:11 CST   
McEwen told the crowd at today's start that it would have taken a broken arm to stop him from coming out today. "Unless it was actually snapped in half I was always going to start today. I think I’ll be able to get through, it’s just obviously not ideal.

"[To spectators:] Please keep them [cameras] inside the barriers. Maybe some people aren’t experienced at bikes races and don’t realise how fast we’re actually coming and the damage that can be done," he added.

11:12 CST   
There's been a few riders get away from the peloton, but the largest gap has been 50 metres. Any attempt is being shut down quickly.

11:14 CST    9km/136km to go
We've finally got a group away - its Guillaume Blot (Cofidis), Markel Irizar (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Aarond Kemps (UniSA).

11:14 CST   
Many are predicting that today will be one of the two main stages to shape this year’s race. Starting from Hahndorf, the race heads north for a lap through Woodside, Charleston, Lobethal, and climbs to Lenswood – the steepest climb of the day and also the day’s only King of the Mountains spot - before heading back to Woodside and through Hahndorf once more (which is home to the world’s best pie shop, according to…well…me).

11:16 CST   
Form there the race continues south to the outskirts of Echunga, where the peloton will turn towards Stirling. This is where riders are expecting the legs will be challenged, with three and a half laps of a loop around Mylor, Aldgate and Stirling, where the race will wrap up for the day.

11:17 CST   
I mentioned earlier that today’s only KOM will come early in the event, at kilometre 34.5. Before that riders will take on the first sprint at kilometre 16.7 in Charleston, with the second not until the race heads back towards Hahndorf at kilometre 54.8. From there it will be all about racing to the finish, with the feed zone coming at kilometre 83.7.

11:18 CST    11km/134km to go
The leaders - Guillaume Blot (Cofidis), Markel Irizar (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Aarond Kemps (UniSA) - have pulled out about a minute over the peloton so far. These guys should be able to hold out for the first sprint at least, we'll see how kind the peloton is feeling after that.

11:19 CST   
The race doctor has been called fro West Australian Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Slipstream). We will try and get some more information on this as the race goes on.

11:20 CST   
Roger is feeling the German theme we're setting up for today, he's suggested we created a 'wurst' young rider category. Wursts are already going to be the theme of one of my polls today, but I like the idea anyway!

11:21 CST   
Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Chipotle) has returned to the peloton safely now, so all is okay for the youngster.

11:22 CST   
We spoke to Meyer's teammate Tim Duggan at the start today. The pair look very similar to one another, but I'm pretty sure it was Tim that said: "We checked the course out the other day and it’s tough. It’s just going to be a selection and it’ll get harder every lap. We’ll see if Julian can hang in there, and Ryder’s also going well for general classification. Those two guys will be keeping their heads up and looking out for any big move that might go early in the race. It’ll be a tough one for Columbia to control today; it’ll be one of the harder ones of the tour for sure."

11:24 CST    15km/130km to go
The three leader's gap continues to expand, with the trio now having a buffer of more than three minutes. It will be up to them to decide who takes what points/bonuses/prize money at the upcoming sprint.

11:26 CST   
Christian Knees (Team Milram) has swapped bikes about two kilometres out from the sprint and is now chasing back to the peloton.

11:28 CST    16.7km/128.3km to go
Aaron Kemps (UniSA) has won today's first sprint from Guillaume Blot (Cofidis) and Markel Irizar (Euskaltel-Euskadi).

11:32 CST   
I’m going to kick off the trivia now – the majority are cycling related question, but we’re also covering a few other topics from other sports and also historical. Answers will be posted below the ‘race situation’ later in the day, so write down you answers and see how you go. We’re starting nice and easy, what is race leader Andre Greipel’s birth town? And also, where does he now reside?

11:33 CST   
Wow, Andrea Gripel's ears must have been burning. He just shot out of the peloton with Columbia teammate Bernhard Eisel.

11:34 CST   
The Columbia duo were too big a threat for the peloton, which has brought them back in. It's a good indicator that the squad is racing for a general classification win this week and testing what it can get away with. Unfortunately with with two Tour de France winners in the field, I doubt anyone's going to let the race leader break away with someone like Eisel at his side.

11:37 CST   
Weather was always going to be a factor in today’s stage. Riders know that it’s a loaded course, and had the weather been as brutal as in days gone by that loaded gun would have been fired in a very big way. Fortunately, however, for the riders temperatures in Adelaide have backed off a little today. That’s not to say it’s going to be a cool day – while it’s 22 degrees with a light breeze this morning, temperatures are expected to break into the low 30s by the time riders reach the closing circuit.

11:42 CST   
As feeding from the team cars commences, one thing many of you will be interested in (and others will tear strips off me for) is that today could be Lance Armstrong’s day. I’m not making any bold predictions about the seven time Tour de France winner, but the American himself outlined today’s stage and Saturday’s Willunga stage as those he’d have a crack on, if he’s up to it. So watch this space.

11:44 CST   
Team Columbia has taken to the head of the peloton and is driving down the leader's gap. Aaron Kemps (UniSA), Guillaume Blot (Cofidis) and Markel Irizar (Euskaltel-Euskadi) have been brought back to 4.30 minutes and closing.

Mathieu Perget (Caisse d'Epargne)
Photo ©: Les Clarke
(Click for larger image)

11:47 CST   
For those of you who like to keep an eye on the sky, the temperature in Adelaide has lifted to 24.4 degrees but humidity is down on yesterday - currently sitting at 45%.

11:48 CST   
Here's another trivia question for y'all, which German band produced the album ‘Tour de France’?

11:50 CST   
Columbia-High Road has put Bernhard Eisel on the front as their engine to bring the race back together. He doesn't quiet fit in my German theme, but Austria is pretty close! Anyway, Eisel's doing some good work as the gap is down to four minutes.

11:52 CST   
The gap is continuing to fall with Columbia's hard work as the leaders reach two kilometres from the KOM.

12:00 CST   
We're just waiting on official results from the first KOM climb...we'll be with you shortly (I'm practicing my Telstra voice, what do you think?)

12:01 CST   
Aaron Kemps (UniSA) has suffered a mechanical issue after the KOM (which we're still awaiting results for) and is being serviced. The rider could have a hard time getting back to the leaders if the peloton has managed to continue closing in on the three up the climb.

12:02 CST   
Aaron Kemps (UniSA) has managed to get back to the lead group. Pablo Urtasun (Euskaltel-Euskadi) is leading the peloton.

12:07 CST   
Okay, okay, okay - so it seems the last trivia question was too easy. How about this then, who was the captain of the West German football team that won the 1974 World Cup?

Everyone wanted to get a photo
Photo ©: Les Clarke
(Click for larger image)

12:09 CST   
KOM results are in...drum roll please: Markel Irizar (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Guillaume Blot (Cofidis) and Aaron Kemps (UniSA) took the top three spots in the lead group. Euskaltel-Euskadi rounded out the top five with Andoni Lafuente and Aitor Hernandez.

12:11 CST   
To Tim - no I don't live in that lift. Although, my apartment isn't much bigger. You will all be pleased to know that I've had a call from my boss in the United Kingdom and he's decided concierge would be a good addition to my job title. Me and my big mouth...

12:19 CST   
As the second sprint nears Bernhard Eisel (Columbia) is continuing to lead the peloton. One interesting little movement in the peloton is some Kazakh team called Astana. Five of the squad's riders have moved to the head of the peloton behind Eisel...it could be Lance time!

12:20 CST   
I caught up with Allan Davis (Quick Step) in the foyer yesterday. In reference to today’s stage, he noted: “I reckon it’s going to be tougher than everyone thinks”. Davis also thanked Mark from yesterday’s live coverage, asking if he looked good in blue and white, although he also joked: “I’m not sure that whether I do or not makes me any faster”.

12:23 CST   
The three leaders Aaron Kemps (UniSA), Guillaume Blot (Cofidis) and Markel Irizar (Euskaltel-Euskadi) have now pulled the gap out a little, with it sitting at 4.40 minutes.

12:25 CST   
The first three riders have passed through the day's second sprint. We're just waiting for the official results now. The main peloton is still two kilometres away from the sprint point, but is still together with Eisel still controlling the action.

The crowd was huge at the start
Photo ©: Les Clarke
(Click for larger image)

12:27 CST   
Hilton Clarke (Fuji-Servetto) said he felt a little uncomfortable after yesterday’s stage, and that the rest of his event will be up to his legs. “I guess it just depends on my legs. Yesterday I guess I just didn’t have a comfortable day and it was an easier day [on paper]. As the tour goes on, each day is different and I’ll just evaluate each day as the race goes on. Normally I’ve had some success around here with the finishes in Hahndorf. I’m just looking for some moves and aim to conserve. We’ll see.”

12:29 CST   
The peloton has just passed the sprint at Ballhannah - 4.30 minutes behind the leaders. With everyone now on their way back towards Hahndorf, here's the poll question. What is your favourite wurst?

12:29 CST   
Results from the second sprint are in - Aaron Kemps (UniSA) has taken the pints again from Guillaume Blot (Cofidis) and Markel Irizar (Euskaltel-Euskadi).

12:35 CST   
Over breakfast Mike Tomalaris, a local television personality with SBS Television), nominated a few people for today’s win. He eventually settled on Stuart O’Grady (Saxo Bank) for today’s win. Now, I’m not one to back a rider, because I know in this sport it’s a mug’s game, but I think Tomo could be on the money with this one.

O’Grady’s in good condition – something he proved yesterday – and could go the distance today. I think the real question is, is O’Grady searching for a stage win or to add another Tour Down Under crown to his collection?

David Moncoutié (Cofidis)
Photo ©: Les Clarke
(Click for larger image)

12:37 CST    59km/86km to go
The peloton has been pushing forward, while one of the photographer motorbikes has been jamming the radio network. The gap has dropped down to 3.50 minutes as the peloton gets closer to Hahndorf.

12:39 CST   
Graeme Brown (Rabobank) has dropped back to visit the race doctor.

12:43 CST    62km/83km to go
The gap between the peloton and leaders - Aaron Kemps (UniSA), Guillaume Blot (Cofidis) and Markel Irizar (Euskaltel-Euskadi) - is sitting steady again at four minutes. Eisel and Astana are still looking after matters at the head of the peloton.

12:44 CST   
After earning a ride in the UniSA team with a strong performance at the Australian National Titles earlier this month, Matt Wilson is feeling good. "The last year and a half I’ve lost some weight and I’m climbing a lot better. This stage suits me a lot more than yesterday. This week I’d ideally love to win a stage – a top ten overall would be great. Now Cookie’s in a good position if we can get him into a good position that’d be fantastic."

12:46 CST   
You'll also notice I've dropped in some images from the start of today's stage, if you go back through the live report. I guess I have the motorbike guy whose sitting on his radio to thank for that...it would be nice if he'd get off it though.

12:48 CST   
It seems the recent questions have been a little too easy, so how about this one: For which German team did Mark Cavendish and Darren Lapthorne ride?

12:50 CST    68km/77km to go
Race leaders - Aaron Kemps (UniSA), Guillaume Blot (Cofidis) and Markel Irizar (Euskaltel-Euskadi) - have been brought back to 3.15 minutes as the peloton exits Hanhdorf and is headed in Echunga's direction.

12:52 CST   
The peloton looks as if it's going to slowly draw the trio in ready to attack them at the base of the first climb into Stirling. The upcoming small descent should help the trio keep at bay, but how long they last when the first climb comes remains to be seen.

12:56 CST   
Just updating and correcting my previous time gap, it's now at 3.25 MINUTES not seconds. Perhaps I've had too many Mahr's Ungespundet Lagers today, must be time for a German Brezel.

13:02 CST   
I hate to bring the lift up again, but I think I may as well go sit in it. Seems they're still having radio problems out on the course as it's gone quiet. Oddly enough, ever since the race went through Hahndorf the officials have been a little quiet...maybe they stopped off to pick up some wursts too!

13:03 CST    76km/69km to go
Word of the devil, the gap is sitting still again around the 3.30 minute mark. The leaders are at the base of the descent now, and are starting to kick up towards the first climb.

13:06 CST   
Oh, and they're back from the pub, as Julien Dean (Garmin-Slipstream) attacks the peloton down the descent. The Kiwi has pulled out 300 metres over the peloton.

13:09 CST   
Dean is making some good progress. The former New Zealand national champion is now 2.55 minutes behind the leaders and 35 seconds ahead of the peloton.

13:16 CST   
Dean's a comin' boys. The New Zealander is 1.40 seconds behind the leaders now.

13:21 CST   
Aaron Kemps (UniSA), Guillaume Blot (Cofidis) and Markel Irizar (Euskaltel-Euskadi) are not exactly working together to hold out for a win at the moment. While the trio haven't sat up as such, they're allowing Dean to catch them - with the rider now at 1.10 minutes - and will probably not work with him if he's keen to continue the attack.

13:23 CST   
Given Dean's attack now seems a good time to give Greg Henderson a shout out. I had a shock when he wrote in - I thought he must have been keeping up with other people's tactics via our feed - but it turns out it's Greg Henderson the local librarian!

13:24 CST   
McEwen is riding safely back in the pack today. While he made it to the start the rider is unlikely to be lining up for the sprint, should today's stage end that way. He was expecting to have difficulty getting a solid grip on the 'bars.

13:25 CST    87km/58km to go
Dean has closed the gap to 40 seconds now, while the peloton is sitting at 3 minutes from leaders Aaron Kemps (UniSA), Guillaume Blot (Cofidis) and Markel Irizar (Euskaltel-Euskadi) .

13:28 CST   
Wow, I wonder how NZTelecom is going at the moment - I think we just received an e-mail from every public servant in the nation! It almost outweighs the number of e-mails from people in similar positions within Australia we've had today. A big hello to all our friends within Australian Customs, all of which I should know by first name now.

13:29 CST   
Those people will be glad Julian Dean (Garmin-Slipstream) is now just 18 seconds behind the lead group.

13:31 CST   
Lets slip in another triva question which Dean gets the job done. How many Germans have won the Tour de France and who was/were it/they?

13:31 CST    95km/50km to go
Well, that didn't take long, Dean has now caught Aaron Kemps (UniSA), Guillaume Blot (Cofidis) and Markel Irizar (Euskaltel-Euskadi) to make a group of four out front with 50 kilometres remaining.

13:34 CST   
Thanks to Chris (another Aussie public servant, mind you) for his e-mail in German. Perhaps you could translate it for me too? Just because I drink the beer and eat the pretzels doesn't actually mean I can speak the language! I know, if it looks like a duck, and sounds like a duck, it probably is. But I'm not!

13:35 CST   
The peloton has stepped up the pace on news of Dean's arrival in the lead group. It has taken 20 seconds out of the leaders.

13:36 CST   
Columbia's hard man Eisel clearly hasn't had a chance to share in the spoils of his neighboring country today. This fella's still on the front of the peloton, and has been for 50 kilometres.

13:39 CST   
The peloton is continuing to reel in the leaders. The time gap has dropped another 15 seconds to 2.30 minutes.

13:40 CST   
The race is entering its second lap of the closing circuit, so it will be interesting to see how they play out the race. It could be they will control the time gap and bring it to a sprint finish again, but I get the feeling there's some riders out the going for a W today, and will break it apart on the third of three and a half laps.

13:41 CST   
I don't usually make predictions, so lets hope they don't make me look like a fool!

13:42 CST    100km/45km to go
The peloton is closing in faster now, another 30 seconds has gone in the time it took them to take 15 last time.

13:43 CST   
Just for the record I've discovered another 10 Aussie Customs employees since my last shout out. I guess I was wrong, I haven't met them all yet!

13:44 CST   
A Fuji-Servetto rider has attacked the peloton entering the second lap of the closing circuit, at the start of the climb.

13:45 CST   
The rider's attack has put the pressure on the peloton, and riders are starting to hurt. The peloton is barely holding together and I think the boys are going to do me proud - a bunch kick is looking increasingly unlikely today.

13:48 CST   
Eisel was doing it easy for Columbia at the head of the peloton, but after 50 kilometres of dedication he's pulled off the front. The Austrian is on the verge of blowing up if my reports are correct.

A solid effort there from Eisel - obviously a team player for Columbia's cause.

13:48 CST   
The day is also coming to an end for our break away leaders. Aaron Kemps (UniSA), Guillaume Blot (Cofidis), Markel Irizar (Euskaltel-Euskadi), and Julian Dean (Garmin-Slipstream) have just 150 metres over the peloton now.

13:49 CST   
It looks as though the peloton will be all together as it reaches the highest part of the second lap.

13:50 CST   
Française des Jeux rider Jeremy Roy has attacked the peloton and crossed to the leading four. He will surely be the first of many, with the outcome the closure of the leading group.

13:51 CST   
There's been a small crash in the peloton with a Fuji-Servetto, Française des Jeux, UniSA and Euskaltel-Euskadi rider going down.

13:53 CST   
I must give another shout out to photographer motorbike three, who is sitting on his radio...again! Guess who I'm not buying a beer for tonight.

13:56 CST   
A group of 15 riders has gone clear of the peloton. We're just picking up all their jersey numbers now.

13:57 CST   
The riders have been caught before we could get them all, but a UniSA rider has counter-attacked. It feels like something's heatin' up (can anyone else believe I'm quoting a Justin Timberlake song? I wish I was drunk...)

13:59 CST   
Oh dear, it's Armstrong, Lance has hit the gas. Guess who's back people.

13:59 CST   
Lance Armstrong wrote on Twitter today that Jack Bobridge is the next big thing, now he's broken away with the UniSA rider!

14:00 CST   
Wouldn't it be great to see the pair bring it home (and Bobridge out-sprint a seven time Tour de France winner). Okay, I know I'm dreaming, but it would be nice.

14:00 CST   
...and short lived. Lance Armstrong (Astana) and Jack Bobridge (UniSA) have been caught by the peloton.

14:01 CST   
Lance has tested his legs...seems they're working fine. I wonder what his next move is going to be.

14:02 CST   
William Walker (Fuji-Servetto) has re-joined the peloton after being caught in the crash earlier.

14:05 CST    116km/29km to go
The peloton is watching one another closely but is all together as the descent starts. We've got another one and a half laps on the circuit, which means two climbs up the Stirling climb. I'm thinking we will see another flurry on the next lap, which will cool off like it has now, before busting apart on the final climb.

14:07 CST   
The most asked question today has been how I am covering the race. Former Cyclingnews.com reporter Jeff Jones - who now works on sister website Bikeradar.com - revealed that he did the live coverages from the Cyclingnews.com blimp.

Since then we've had many questions about said blimp. I can today - for the first time - announce that...my lips are sealed. I hope you're enjoying the race!

14:10 CST   
Matthew Lloyd (Silence-Lotto), Francesco Reda (Quick Step) and Scott Davis (UniSA) have attacked the peloton and have gained a 200 metre advantage.

14:11 CST   
Michael Rogers (Columbia) has taken over working at the front of the peloton, after teammate Eisel's 50 kilometre drive came to an end.

14:12 CST   
Australian Matthew Lloyd (Silence-Lotto) and Scott Davis (UniSA) are pushing the break away with Francesco Reda (Quick Step) sitting on at the back.

14:17 CST    125km/20km to go
The leading trio had pulled its gap out to 25 seconds, but is struggling to gain any more time.

14:22 CST   
Just a bit of a race update: There's currently three riders away - Matthew Lloyd (Silence-Lotto), Francesco Reda (Quick Step) and Scott Davis (UniSA) - with a 33 second advantage over the peloton. Mark Renshaw (Columbia) has control of the peloton and while some are struggling towards the rear of the peloton, it is still together. Nobody has been dropped, or withdrawn to date.

I've also added the trivia answers below the 'current position' box, so you can check how you went. To 'B' who clearly doesn't like my commentating style, I can't please everyone it seems!

14:23 CST   
Tom Stubbe (Silence-Lotto), Christian Meier (Garmin - Slipstream) and Daniele Nardello (Fuji-Servetto) have attacked the peloton.

14:25 CST   
Française des Jeux's Wesley Sulzberger said before today's race: "Last year I got away in the stage down to Victor Harbor and it nearly paid off – they caught me with two k to go. Today’s going to be interesting to see who takes charge. Caisse d’Epargne are going to be pretty strong, and of course Astana. I’ll be hopefully trying to slip into a break along the way."

14:26 CST   
Tom Stubbe (Silence-Lotto), Christian Meier (Garmin - Slipstream) and Daniele Nardello (Fuji-Servetto) have been caught by the peloton, and Scott Davis (UniSA) has also dropped back to the main bunch. Matthew Lloyd (Silence-Lotto) and Francesco Reda (Quick Step) have just 50 metres on the peloton.

14:29 CST   
Aaron Kemps (UniSA) has been announced as the day's most aggressive rider.

14:31 CST   
Alexandr Pliuschin (Ag2r) has attacked the peloton and joined the two leaders, 12 seconds ahead.

14:36 CST    135km/10km to go
Katusha has instructed five of its riders to drive at the front of the peloton, taking over from Columbia, as the race enters its final 10 kilometres.

14:40 CST   
Thomas Rohregger (Team Milram) has attacked the peloton and is making up time on the lead group.

14:41 CST   
David Moncoutie (Cofidis) has followed that move. I doubt the peloton will let the French team leader get away.

14:42 CST   
The lead group now consists of Thomas Rohregger (Team Milram), David Moncoutie (Cofidis), Matthew Lloyd (Silence-Lotto), Alexandr Pliuschin (Ag2r) and Francesco Reda (Quick Step).

14:42 CST   
The lead group has been caught by the peloton, just as David Moncoutie (Cofidis) attacked them. Moncoutie is getting away from the peloton.

14:43 CST    141km/4km to go
Team Columbia has put its men back on the front. They are clearly worried about David Moncoutie (Cofidis).

14:45 CST   
There's a flurry of attacks now.

14:46 CST   
David Moncoutie (Cofidis) is alone in front with the peloton just 50 metres behind.

14:47 CST   
David Moncoutie (Cofidis) looks doomed. We're gearing up for a sprint here.

14:47 CST   
Quick Step has joined Columbia at the front. David Moncoutie (Cofidis) is almost caught.

14:47 CST    144km/1km to go
David Moncoutie (Cofidis) has been caught with one kilometre to go.

14:47 CST   
We're going for a sprint finish, with both Columbia and Quick Step at the front.

14:48 CST   
UniSA has moved to the front of the peloton too. It missed the win yesterday, can it take a win today.

14:48 CST   
Caisse d'Epargne has launched an attack inside the final kilometre, they want to run away with it.

14:48 CST   
Eight riders have broken away from the peloton.

14:49 CST   
They're coming in now. Columbia looks like they've got it.

14:50 CST   
No wait down the outside, QuickStep is coming. They're going to take it.

14:50 CST   
Allan Davis (Quick Step) has taken the stage victory.

14:51 CST   
Rabobank's Graeme Brown has taken second.

14:51 CST   
2007 race winner Martin Elmiger (Ag2R) has taken out third spot, with Stuart O'Grady (Saxo Bank) in fourth.

14:52 CST   
George Hincapie (Team Columbia) has rounded out the top five places on today's stage.

14:52 CST   
Robbie McEwen (Katusha) did his best to be a part of the final sprint, but looked to be in pain as he crossed the line.

14:53 CST   
McEwen was able to make the final eight riders to contest the sprint, with the remainder of the peloton trickling in behind.

14:54 CST   
We don't yet have an official finishing position for Lance Armstrong (Astana), but we believe his was back in the peloton.

14:58 CST   
Allan Davis said after his win: "I'm very happy, it was a tough rider but my team did an awesome job."

14:59 CST   
Official crowd figures just released say 90,000 people were on hand to watch today's 145 kilometre stage.

Provisional results

  • 1 Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step
  • 2 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
  • 3 Martin Elmiger (Swi) Ag2R
  • 4 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Saxo Bank
  • 5 George Hincapie (USA) Columbia

Trivia results

  • What is Andre Greipel's birth place, home town: Rostock, Kritzmow
  • Which German band produced the album ‘Tour de France’: Kraftwerk
  • Who was the captain of the West German football team that won the 1974 World Cup: Franz Beckenbauer
  • For which German team did Mark Cavendish and Darren Lapthorne ride: Team Sparkasse
  • How many Germans have won the Tour de France and who were they: One, Jan Ullrich

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