Porte Soloes to Victory in Tour Down Under; Gerrans Reclaims Race Lead
Simon Gerrans (Team GreenEdge) set himself up to become the first three-time winner of the Santos Tour Down Under in a dramatic day of racing that saw Richie Porte (Team Sky Pro Cycling) win stage 5.
in the last 1500 metres of the Willunga Climb to clinch the win.
"I wasn’t exactly surprised to drop Cadel Evans off, I was disappointed the other day after the Corkscrew Climb (Thursday) (because) I started badly positioned.
"Not taking anything away from Cadel, I could have played a little bit better. Winning here means everything for me. Sky is such a great team. It’s a great way to repay them for the belief they have in me."
BMC Racing Team Sports Director, Allan Peiper says it will take something special to overtake Gerrans now.
"No, it's not over, but if you got to come from behind, it's a little bit difficult in a criterium," said Peiper. "We will discuss our options tonight to see what we come up with."
This morning jovial German Jens Voigt was seriously warming up just minutes before the start signalling an early attack from him was imminent. Sure enough within the first few kilometres Voigt bounded off the front with Russian Mikhail Ignatyev (Katusha), Spain's Juan Jose Lobato (Movistar) and Italian Matteo Trentin.
The quartet gained a handy lead as they raced the first of three laps that swept out along the scenic seashore of Aldinga Beach and Snapper Point. The lead increased to more than nine minutes as the leaders sliced through buffeting winds blowing any hopes of Gerrans grabbing bonus seconds on Evans in the Adam Internet intermediate sprints.
On the second lap, at the 63 kilometre mark, the quartet in front contested the first of the two sprints at Snapper Point with Ignatyev taking the top points ahead of Trentin and Voigt.
Back in the peloton Orica-GreenEDGE had been joined by Team SKY on the front and the pace lifted as they started the chase down the breakaways.
"When the break went away, I spoke with Mathew Hayman (Orica-GreenEDGE), and I said we want to go for the stage win, and you guys want the GC, so we each put a guy on the front to bring the gap down," said Porte's team mate Gerraint Thomas. "It was all about keeping Richie (Porte) out of the wind and out of trouble.
"I saw his attack. It was good to see him dancing away, and you could see that Cadel (Evans) was struggling a little bit. It was every man for himself."
The double team strength chase saw the gap to the leaders at the half way mark down to under four minutes.
The second sprint at Snapper Point also went to Ignatyev, the 2044 Olympic Games points race champion, ahead of Lobato and Voigt. Lobato dropped back to the peloton but the remaining three rode on with Voigt claiming the maximum Skoda King of the Mountain points over Williunga the first time trailled by Ignatyev and Trentin. Leader of the climber's classification, Australian Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol) rode across for fifth place points to make sure he kept hold of the green and white polka dot jersey but he's tied on points with Frenchman Axel Domont (AG2R La Mondiale) who was just ahead of