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Santos Tour Down Under: Race Review
 
By Sam Jackson
Date: 2/2/2013
Santos Tour Down Under: Race Review
 
The 2013 Santos Tour Down Under was held in South Australia from the 22nd – 27th January. The race was ultimately won by Tom Jelte Slagter of Blanco Pro Cycling. The six stage race covered a total distance of 758.5km and was preceded by the People’s Choice Classic criterium around downtown Adelaide. The WorldTour race is now synonymous with the resumption of racing after the off-season, with teams often taking the chance to unveil new riders, kit and equipment.

TV Success for Tour Down Under

The 2013 edition of the race reached more international cycling fans than ever before owing to a wider distribution of broadcast agreements across the globe. Seven Central American nations received broadcasts for the first time, whilst live feeds were introduced to multiple states across the world. Speaking before the race started, Hitaf Rasheed of Events South Australia said that the expected (and subsequently delivered) increase in international broadcast signified the growing importance of the race and its reputation as the curtain raiser of the WorldTour cycling calendar.

Greipel wins People’s Choice Classic - Adelaide

Adding to his previous successes Down Under, Andre Greipel swept all before him at the People’s Choice Classic, the 51km curtain raiser criterium that traditionally precedes the tour itself. Led out to perfection by his Lotto-Belisol team, the German sprinter won in front of 108,000 fans in scenes reminiscent of his victory at the same event in 2012. Orica-GreenEdge’s Matt Goss was beaten by a bike length; with Greipel’s lead-out man Greg Henderson rounding out the podium. UNI-SA rider Zak Dempster ensured he would be wearing the Blue sprints jersey on Stage 1 by winning all of the intermediate sprint primes after an early escape with RadioShack veteran Jens Voigt.

1. Andre Greipel
2. Matt Goss (OGE)
3. Greg Henderson (LOT)

Greipel Sprints into the Record Books, Stage 1 – Prospect – Lobethal

The day after his imperious sprinting display at the People’s Choice Classic, Andre Greipel won his record equalling 12th Tour Down Under stage retaining the ochre leader’s jersey and taking the sprints jersey in the process. The 30 year-old’s team once again controlled an early breakaway to perfection before setting up the sprint. The U23 Australian road race champion UNI-SA rider Jordan Kerby rode solo for 100km, and became the first recipient of the 2013 King of the Mountains jersey in doing so. "At the start of my first WorldTour race, I was pretty excited," said Kerby, “it’s a challenge to keep the jersey with what’s coming up. I’ll give it a try though!"

1. Andre Greipel (LOT)
2. Arnaud Demare (FDJ)
3. Mark Renshaw (BLA)

Triumphant Thomas Takes Tour Lead, Stage 2 – Mount Barker – Rostrevor>

Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas rode into the lead after a blistering attack in the final moments of the stage. The 26 year-old double Olympic gold medallist beat Javi Moreno and Ben Hermans into second and third respectively, after a hard day on the South Australian roads. On a stage perpetuated by crashes, Team Sky’s Directeur Sportif Kurt-Asle Arvesen announced Sky’s intention to keep Thomas in the leader’s jersey until the end of the race. “Geraint was really motivated to do this stage. He’s in good form and will be better in the Classics. Now we try to keep the jersey.”

1. Geraint Thomas (SKY)
2. Javi Moreno (MOV)
3. Ben Hermans (RSL)

Slagter wins in Stirling, Stage 3 – Unley – Stirling

Young Dutchman Tom Jelte Slagter of Blanco Pro Cycling surged ahead of Matt Goss and World Champion Philippe Gilbert on the uphill finish in Stirling. Lead out by Australian teammate David Tanner, Slagter described his win as ‘beautiful.’ The Dutchman closed 9 seconds on Geraint Thomas in the General Classification stakes, cutting the Sky rider’s advantage to 5 seconds. After finishing fourth on the stage, the Welshman kept the ochre jersey, and gained enough points to add the Sprints jersey to his growing collection.

1. Tom Jelte Slagter (BLA)
2. Matt Goss (OGE)
3. Philippe Gilbert (BMC)

Greipel Wins Again, Stage 4 – Modbury – Tanunda

Andre Greipel won his second stage of the Tour Down Under to add to his victory in the People’s Choice Classic. The win was the German’s 13th career victory at the Tour Down Under making him the most prolific stage winner in the race’s 15 year history, overtaking Robbie McEwen and becoming the outright record holder. Greipel paid tribute to his teams ‘perfect lead-out’ after a chaotic finish marred by a series of crashes. Jack Bobridge of Blanco Pro Cycling rode into the King of the Mountains jersey, although admitted his team’s main priority was to assist Tom Jelte Slagter’s assault on the General Classification.

1. Andre Greipel (LOT)
2. Roberto Ferrari (LAM)
3. Jonathan Cantwell (SAX)

Gerrans wins on Australia Day, Stage 5 – McLaren Vale – Old Willunga Hill

The winner of the 2012 Tour Down Under, Simon Gerrans, was at the sharp end of proceedings on Old Willunga Hill for the second year in succession. The Orica-GreenEdge rider bettered his second place on the climb in 2012 by beating the new GC and sprints leader, Tom Jelte Slagter, into second place. The ‘Queen’ stage of the race put paid to Geraint Thomas’ GC ambitions, with the Team Sky rider losing 28 seconds on his rivals. Slagter’s second place on the stage was also enough to install him in the blue sprints jersey whilst his assumption of the ochre jersey meant that with Stage 6 expected to end with a bunch sprint, the Blanco rider was likely to win the race.

1. Simon Gerrans (OGE)
2. Tom Jelte Slagter (BLA)
3. Javi Moreno (MOV)

Slagter Seals the Victory, Stage 6 – Adelaide

Tom Jelte Slagter finished in the middle of the peloton as the Tour Down Under came to its conclusion in the South Australian capital of Adelaide. Finishing in the same time as stage winner Andre Greipel, the Dutchman took his first ever pro stage race win in the WorldTour race, finishing 17 seconds clear of Javi Moreno in 2nd. Geraint Thomas made a well-judged effort in the intermediate sprints to seize the blue jersey, and elevated himself into 3rd place overall through time bonuses. Fellow Team Sky rider Edvald Boasson Hagen finished 3rd on the stage behind Matt Goss, as Greipel took his 100th career stage win, and 3rd win of the tour.

1. Andre Greipel (LOT)
2. Matt Goss (OGE)
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (SKY)

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION
1. Tom Jelte Slagter (BLA)
2. Javi Moreno (MOV) +17s
3. Geraint Thomas (SKY) +25s
4. Jon Izagirre (EUS) +32s
5. Ben Hermans (RSL) +34s

TEAM CLASSIFICATION
1. RadioShack Leopard-Trek


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