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Tour Down Under - Stage 5 LIVE TICKER (Part one)
 
By Nick Bull
Date: 1/22/2010
Tour Down Under - Stage 5 LIVE TICKER (Part one)
 

TOUR DOWN UNDER 2010
State 5 Live Ticker :: Page One

Snapper Point - Willunga
Jayco Stage 5, Tour Down Under
Saturday 23 January 2010
Race Distance: 148km


Stage 5: Snapper Point - Willunga 148 km

Skoda King of the Mountain: Old Willunga Hill Road
Sprint Location: The Esplanade Aldinga Beach (Snapper Point)
Feed Station: Main Road Willunga at Kell Street

STAGE PREVIEW

Hello and welcome to the DailyPeloton's live coverage of the Tour Down Under stage 5. Our first ticker of the 2010 season comes on the crucial stage of the race, the 148km ride from Snapper Point to Willunga.

This stage will be familiar to regular followers of this race, and it has graced the Tour in this role of being the penultimate day of racing for the last few years. Ominously for the chasing pack, race leader Andre Greipel (Columbia) won this very stage on his way to taking the overall victory two years ago. Astana's Allan Davis, who rode for Quick Step in 2009, replicated Greipel's feat last year, and the Australian will want to ride well having had a disappointing race thus far. The man from Queensland lost eight minutes on the opening day, ruling him out of the battle for overall victory this time around.

So what makes today so important? Well, the Old Willunga Pass is climbed twice, both within the final 50km. To an outsider, a 3km climb does not seem too tricky, and shouldn't pose any problems for the pro-peloton. However, in that short distance, it climbs 745 feet, with an average gradient of 7.6%. Combine this, fatigue from early season racing and the intense heat, and you'll see why it is such a decisive factor.

To make it worse, the start point of the hill is just 100m after a bar......

Over 100,000 fans lined the route last year; the chance to see the riders at least twice wherever you watch from can only be matched by a handful of races in the ProTour calendar.

Highlights of last year's stage can be seen here:

Our man Chris Graetz is again out on the course, and has this to say about the stage:
Usually a stage to Willunga will see a bunch kick with approximately 30-40 riders - that's been the scene over the last two years. The route is challenging and the last two years the temperatures have reached over 40 degrees Celsius on this particular stage. The temperature today, however, is tipped to be in the mid 20's so that makes it easier this year than the last few years.

As it stands at the moment there seems to be little wind but noting that will trouble the peloton too much. Andre Greipel won this stage back in 2008, but that is when they did the hill climb once. Last year it was Allan Davis winning the stage and last year Michael Rogers and Luis Leon Sanchez attacked, but with 20km to go, they got reeled back in.

So what does it mean today? Greipel has a solid lead of 20 seconds over Robbie McEwen and 24 over Greg Henderson and Gert Steegmans. Evans is 26 seconds back and a host of riders including Luis Leon Sanchez is 30 seconds adrift.

Robbie McEwen has always struggled on this stage. Last year, he finished 11 minutes down on the winner, Andre Greipel. Graeme Brown also finished well off the pace as did Greg Henderson, but he was riding with Columbia-HTC.

Today, Lance Armstrong has stated that he is going to try and set up Gert Steegmans for the win as he shouldn't have trouble over this climb. Cadel Evans is in a perfect position to pounce as is Martin Elmiger, the 2007 winner and Luis Leon Sanchez. There are going to be a mountain of attacks to try and unsettle the big German, but really, a group of about 10+ riders need to get off the front on the climb and they could hold off the peloton.

Columbia won't panic, they will do what needs to be done to get their man over the finish line and if worse comes to worse, Michael Rogers, who is 30 seconds behind may be a trump card.

As for the winner of today's stage, I can't see a group holding off the peloton and I expect a small group of 30-50 riders to contest the finish. If Greipel is amongst that group, he will win the stage but look out for Jose Joaquin Rojas from Caisse d'Epargne and Gert Steegmans from RadioShack. Both these sprnters should find no trouble in this stage and Rojas has finished top 3 the last two years on this stage with second last year to Andre Greipel.

As mentioned, the podium will change hands. Greipel should retain the lead with Steegmans second and if Roelandts is in the group, he will finish third, if not it will be Cadel Evans.

LIVE COVERAGE OF STAGE 5

1031CDT - Good morning, afternoon or evening to you, and thank you for joining the DailyPeloton for our live ticker of Stage 5.

Temperatures this morning are around 27 degrees celsius, (80F), which is significantly cooler than previous days. The cloud are anything but white either; some rain has been forecast for later on today.

Even with that temperature, I'm glad to be where the air conditioning is, and not roadside. The latter is where our man Chris Graetz is, and Chris will bring you the full round-up of today's action after this ticker.

The stage begins in just under thirty minutes.

1045CDT - Before the riders set off, I have to ask this......does anyone else like AND hate the new RadioShack jersey? At times, the red and grey looks a good mix, other times it looks vulgar. Add the yellow for the LiveStrong campaign and it looks a mess........

For those interested to look at the results of this stage in previous years, look here:
2009: http://www.cqranking.com/men/asp/gen/race.asp?raceid=10372
2008: http://www.cqranking.com/men/asp/gen/race.asp?raceid=6793

1051CDT - Lots of people seem to be tipping Cadel Evans (BMC) and Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) today. The latter looked very strong earlier on in the race, however the 19km from the top of the Old Willunga Hill to the finish may hinder that.

Lance Armstrong: "I think there are a few obvious favourites today. The sitting sitting in the best position if the race is aggressive and hard is Cadel. If he can get across with a few teammates he's in the perfect position"

1100CDT - The countdown begins, the gun is fired and the race begins.

Already David Kemp (UniSA) has attacked. He has been reeled in immediately, but that is followed by a few more digs upfront.

Arthur Vichot (FDJ) is now leading the pack along, followed by Matthew Hayman (Sky). Two minutes in, the pace has been relentless

1103CDT - An order must have come in from the management at La Francaise des Jeux this morning, as now it's Anthony Roux up front. Anders Lund (Saxo Bank) is in his wheel, as is an unidentified UniSA rider. That's hardly a surprise, they do like to mix it up with the so called 'big boys'.

Simon Clarke from, yep, you've guessed it, UniSA has launched the latest attack. He gets reeled in, yet still the pace is remarkably high.

1106CDT - David Gutierrez (Footon Servetto) is the first rider to gain ground on the main field. It's Roux and Dominik Roels (Milram) who chase.

Gutierrez has been caught, and almost immediately seven men break clear. Martin Kohler (BMC) is in it, along with Frenchman Roux.

1110CDT - Ludovic Turpin is also there for Ag2R. If you think RadioShack's kit is back, the blue/white/brown/black mix for the French team is even worse.

2007 Tour de France winner Oscar Pereiro (Astana) is the latest to go on the attack. Keeping up? Good. Just remember no-one has gained any ground yet, so all these attacks will soon be a memory. The 55km/h speed so far won't be; that will hurt the legs later on

38 year old Yuriy Krivstov (Ag2R) is the latest rider to show off that hideous kit at the front of the race.

Race leader Andre Greipel is riding in the middle of the pack. I do like his leader's Ochre jersey, but surely it's easier to say Orangey/Yellow?

Australian Rohan Dennis (UniSA) is now forcing the pace, before Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Caisse d'Epargne) takes over. I suspect this team will be wanting to work hard for Luis Leon Sanchez, who trails Greipel by thirty seconds overall.

1118CDT - A small group of six is forming at the front, and the peloton is no longer strung out. I suspect this is the break of the day. Garmin's Jack Bobridge is in there, along with Pierre Cazaux (FDJ).

Footon have a rider upfront too.

1121CDT - Ah, what do I know. This move hasn't worked. Garmin don't stop, as they send Cameron Meyer on the attack. Gert Steegmans (RadioShack) has followed, so I wonder if this move will be left alone....

1123CDT - Steegmans is still upfront, along with Turpin (Ag2R) and Cameron Meyer (Garmin). Several others are coming across too. Further back, Columbia are now controlling the pace of the group.

Michael Matthews (UniSA) and Valeriy Dmitriyev (Astana) are also upfront.

1127CDT - All of the Columbia team are riding for Greipel upfront. The race now appears to be settling into a rythmn; we'll try and confirm all our breakaway group shortly.

1130CDT - Our breakaway group lead by 31 seconds

Our lead group have passed through the finish line for the first time, and are about to begin climbing Willunga Hill for the first time.

So, our lead group consists of: Cameron Meyer, Matty Wilson (Garmin), Ludovic Turpin (Ag2R), Michael Matthews (UniSA), Valeriy Dmitriyev (Astana), David Gutierrez (Footon Servetto) and Eduard Vorganov (Katusha). Their lead is up to 47 seconds.

1137CDT - 1'11" is the new lead for our seven man group

1140CDT - After the breathless start, things have settled down nicely. Interestingly, Vorganov is just 30s back on our race leader overall, and Dmitriyev 38' in arrears. Columbia will not let this group gain a lot of time.

1144CDT - 1'31" is the new timegap between our leaders and the peloton.

This is a great day for riding; warm but not too hot. A light breeze but not anything too unpleasant, long straight roads........Until Willunga spoils things for us rank amateurs.........

1148CDT - Many people I know are tipping Cameron Meyer to be a rider to watch today, as well as in the future. He just won the Australian Time Trial Championship, so he is no slouch. And it's frightening to think that he's younger than me by a few months..........

1150CDT - Coming up to the first sprint of the day and Snapper Point after 40km.

The leaders are greeted by a nice tail wind right now. And as we've been racing for 52 minutes, I'd say the average speed so far has been around 46km/h. Welcome to the pro-season, everyone!

1153CDT - Vorganov (Katusha) accelerated in an attempt to get the bonus, but a rapid response from Astana's Dmitriyev pipped him to the line. He gets 3 seconds, so he trails Greipel by thirty five seconds in the GC now. Vorganov is twenty eight seconds in arrears.

Dmitriyev is the sole Kazakh in the race this year. And, yes, I know that the thought of a Kazakh riding for Astana brings back some nasty memories of 2007, but I won't label him in the same bracket as you know who.

And welcome back, Vino.........

1200CDT - One hour into the race. Our lead group have a gap of 1'51". Remember, our breakaway is formed of: Cameron Meyer, Matty Wilson (Garmin), Ludovic Turpin (Ag2R), Michael Matthews (UniSA), Valeriy Dmitriyev (Astana), David Gutierrez (Footon Servetto) and Eduard Vorganov (Katusha).

1203CDT - Garmin's other rider in the break, Matthew Wilson, finished seventh in this race last year. Despite being his home home, the 32 year old has never had the pleasure of winning a stage in the event.

Ludovic Turpin is the oldest man upfront. The 34 year old, clad in THAT kit, finished fourth in the 2000 TDU. Back in the days when his team looked respectable.....

Alright, alright, I will not mention the Ag2R jersey design again. Or the shorts. Or the fact that some of their riders have yellow overshoes.

1212CDT - Bert Grabsch is doing most of the pulling for Columbia. Caisse d'Epargne follow, but Vicente Garcia Acosta will certainly not follow Grabsch and contribute to the work.

1214CDT - The leaders are passing through the McLaren Vale, a great area for producing wine (mainly Shiraz). I cannot say it's a tipple I like, but then readers of my column (next entry due Tuesday) will know I'm a man of acquired taste.

END OF SHAMELESS PLUG....

As to be expected, the leaders are all working well together. We still have a long way to go, so they may as well be friendly before they start attacking each other as the peloton looms.

UniSA's Michael Matthews is another member of our breakaway who is in good form, placing third in the Under 23 national road race recently. The Australian says his favourite food is Subway, so clearly talent doesn't go hand in hand with taste....

1221CDT - 100km to go

Many of our lead group, now leading by 1'45", are taking the time to have a drink and some food. I noticed that the NBC show 'The Office' has a nice supply of Clif energy bars stacked above the fridge on set. I cannot get enough of their peanut butter bar.

1224CDT - We will be moving into part two at 1230CDT.

1226CDT - 1'49" is the gap for our lead group of Cameron Meyer, Matty Wilson (Garmin), Ludovic Turpin (Ag2R), Michael Matthews (UniSA), Valeriy Dmitriyev (Astana), David Gutierrez (Footon Servetto) and Eduard Vorganov (Katusha).

1228CDT - 85.5km to go. Our lead group have just passed through the finish at Willunga for the first time.

1230CDT - Please join us in Part Two of our coverage. The link is just below...........

 
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