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After a week of strong sprint finishes at the 2009 Tour Down Under, it was most fitting that the final day played right into the hands of the fast men once again. Liquigas rider Francesco Chicchi roared down the finishing straight and blew past Graeme Brown (Rabobank) to secure the final victory on Sunday’s closed circuit race. Claiming second was Robbie McEwen (Katusha) with Brown in third. After racing in all eleven editions of his national tour, Allan Davis (Quick-Step) at last claimed the overall title in addition to three stages along the way with a margin of 25 seconds over Stuart O’Grady (Saxo Bank), making it two Aussies on the podium after a strong showing all week of the home-country favorites.
Riding in mild temperatures on a basically flat circuit, the 122 remaining riders completed the 18 laps in 1 hour 42 minutes. Big crowds greeted the riders for the final day of competition and the peloton did not disappoint those who came for a good show. An early break of 13 riders of course included the week’s grittiest up-and-comer Jack Bobridge (UniSA) and the ever-popular Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank) as well. When their gap went to over one minute, Davis’ Quick-Step team went to the front and drilled awhile to settle the gap at under one minute.
Near the end of the race Team Astana’s Lance Armstrong moved to the front of the chasing peloton and attacked to join the back of the lead group. But soon enough Team Columbia pushed the pace to bring it all together and the stage was set for the final sprint. Brown looked good to take his second stage victory, but Chicchi sprinted up the middle and stole the win in his first victory in Australia.
With the exception of the earlier retirement of Michael Schar, the Team Astana boys in blue came in safely to complete the first Pro Tour race of the season. The team enjoyed their time in Australia and Lance’s much-anticipated comeback race can now be replaced with his next mission, to race the Amgen Tour of California for the first time. “California will be hard,” commented Armstrong. “(There are) longer climbs, steeper climbs, longer stages. Levi (Leipheimer) is clearly focused on it, training with a lot of intensity for the race. He won last year and wants to win again. He will be very, very hard to beat.” Armstrong continued, “We will have a great team there between Levi, Chechu, Popo, Horner, myself and Brajkovic…strong guys.”
On February 1st team camp begins in Santa Rosa, with demanding training rides on tap as the team prepares to begin the full schedule of 2009 races. Thank you for joining us in Australia and see you in California! Congratulations to Allan Davis for his dominating performance in Adelaide.
G’day mates.
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Top 10 Results
1 Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Liquigas 1.42.00
2 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team Katusha
3 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
4 Gregory Henderson (NZl) Team Columbia – High Road
5 José Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
6 Tom Leezer (Ned) Rabobank
7 Willem Stroetinga (Ned) Team Milram
8 Jacopo Guanieri (Ita) Liquigas
9 Guillaume Blot (Fra) Cofidis
10 Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale
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GC after Stage 6
1 Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step 19.26.59
2 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank 0.25
3 José Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 0.30
4 Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale
5 Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Française Des Jeux 0.37
6 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia – High Road 0.38
7 Matthew Wilson (Aus) UniSA 0.39
8 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre – N.G.C 0.40
9 Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Française Des Jeux
10 Mickaël Chérel (Fra) Française Des Jeux
29 Lance Armstrong (USA) Team Astana
(By Cathy Mehl; Source: www.astana-cyclingteam.com)

After a week of sprint victories the road specialists looked to stage five for a chance to salvage a win at the 2009 Tour Down Under. Two times up and over Willunga Hill promised fireworks and the opportunity for climbers to finally shine. And yes, sparks were flying as attacks were the rule of the day, but in the end the peloton was all together in the final 5kms and the stage was set for the sprinters once more. This week no one has been stronger than Australian fast man Allan Davis and with his Quick-Step train motoring for the finish, Davis took his third stage win, this time in front of José Joaquin Rojas Gil (Caisse d’Epargne) and Switzerland’s Martin Elmiger (Ag2R). Time bonuses gave Davis an advantage of 25-seconds, making his chances for overall victory look bright indeed.
Massive crowds awaited the peloton of 122 riders on Willunga Hill, located some 40km from the finish line. Eight riders had gone away after only 20 minutes of racing and included new talent Jack Bobridge (UniSA) as well as Serguei Klimov (Katusha). Their gap went to three minutes with Quick-Step controlling the pace of the peloton. At the base the first time up, Team Columbia took over the chase with the front group still holding 100 seconds. The peloton split under pressure from Columbia and groups splintered on the climb, while Klimov attacked his group, followed by Bobridge. Team Astana’s Jesus Hernandez was part of the original chasing group, and eventually some 70-riders were all together, including Lance Armstrong and race leader Davis, with the race coming back together on the descent.
The second time over, David Moncoutié (Cofidis) attacked, followed by Matthew Lloyd (Silence-Lotto), Adam Hansen (Columbia) and none other than Armstrong himself, driving the chase with shear determination. Moncoutié managed to hold off the others as groups formed and re-formed near the top of the climb. With only a handful of seconds separating the groups it was a total free-for-all of attacks on the descent to Willunga. Quick-Step kept Davis in the mix and with the climbs behind him the Australian race leader tucked in nicely behind his boys as they pushed the pace to the line. Saxo Bank kept Stuey O’Grady in contention as well, but the sprint belonged to Davis, who captured his third stage win in fine style and all-but-sealed up the win for this year’s race. Second overall is O’Grady and third currently belongs to Gil.
One stage remains with Sunday’s circuit race before the 2009 Tour Down Under is in the books and the Pro Tour season is successfully launched.
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Top 10 Results
1 Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step 3.28.33
2 José Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
3 Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale
4 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank
5 Jérémy Roy (Fra) Française Des Jeux
6 Laurent Lefèvre (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom
7 Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Française Des Jeux
8 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Slipstream
9 Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Silence – Lotto
10 Julien El Farès (Fra) Cofidis
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GC after Stage 5
1 Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step 17.44.59
2 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank 0.25
3 José Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 0.30
4 Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale
5 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia – High Road 0.38
6 Matthew Wilson (Aus) UniSA 0.39
7 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre – N.G.C 0.40
8 Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Française Des Jeux
9 Mickaël Chérel (Fra) Française Des Jeux
10 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Slipstream

(By Cathe Mehl; source: www.astana-cyclingteam.com)

Australian sprinter Allan Davis (Quick-Step) tightened his grip on the 11th Tour Down Under by sealing another stage win and retaining the leader’s jersey for a third day. Following just behind was yesterday’s stage winner Graeme Brown (Rabobank) and a new face on the podium, Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Caisse d’Epargne) for third. Team Astana riders came in safe and sound after yesterday’s ride took Michael Schär out of the race with a calf injury which has been successfully repaired.
After Wednesday’s suffer-fest in hot, windy conditions, the peloton of 124 decided to take it a little easier in preparation for Saturday’s ride to Willunga. While it was still windy on course the temperatures were cooler and riders took a more leisure but nervous approach to the stage, conserving energy before Saturday’s anticipated action. A break of three riders went away just after the neutral start and stayed away for the majority of the stage. In the break were Vladimir Efimkin (Ag2R), Andoni Lafuente (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Travis Meyer (UniSA). Working well together right from the start, the trio steadily built a gap that eventually went to more than nine minutes. In the peloton it was Robbie McEwen’s Katusha team that drove the pace to ensure a catch when the time was right. After 90km of racing the gap was down to a more manageable 3.25 with the flat terrain giving a sure advantage to the chasing peloton.
On the final climb Lafuente was dropped but Efimkin and Meyer continued their quest. Many riders suffered on the climb and were quickly knocked out the back of the main field. In the last 15km more attacks went off the front and held for a few minutes but the tailwind continued to push the fast-moving peloton. At 10km to go Efimkin attacked Meyer, hoping to make a solo ride to the finish in Angaston, but tired legs prevailed and at 13km remaining the peloton was all together and a bunch sprint was promised.
Rabobank and Katusha remained at the front but Quick-Step soon took over and launched the popular Davis for the line.
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Top 10 Results
1 Allan Davis (Quick Step) 3.29.35
2 Graeme Brown (Rabobank)
3 José Joaquin Rojas Gil (Caisse d’Epargne)
4 Stuart O’Grady (Team Saxo Bank)
5 Mark Renshaw (Team Columbia – High Road)
6 Tom Leezer (Rabobank)
7 Davide Viganò (Fuji-Servetto)
8 Jussi Veikkanen (Française Des Jeux)
9 Robbie McEwen (Team Katusha)
10 Sébastien Hinault (AG2R La Mondiale)
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GC after Stage 4
1 Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step 14.16.36
2 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank 0.04
3 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank 0.15
4 Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale 0.24
5 José Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne 0.26
6 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia – High Road 0.28
7 Matthew Wilson (Aus) UniSA 0.29
8 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre – N.G.C 0.30
9 Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Française Des Jeux
10 Mickaël Chérel (Fra) Française Des Jeux
(By Cathy Mehl; source: www.astana-cyclingteam.com)
After days of being in the mix but falling short each time, Rabobank’s Graeme Brown finally scored a sprint win in the third stage of the 11th Tour Down Under. Second place went to race leader Allan Davis (Quick-Step) and third to Stuart O’Grady (Saxo Bank), making for an all-Australian podium. Davis retained his leader’s jersey for the second day in a row. Unfortunately Team Astana’s Michael Schär and Chechu Rubiera were involved in mid-race crashes with Michael taken to the hospital for evaluation.
After an 11AM roll-out with an initial 10km neutral zone, the attacks came fast and furious, including a short-lived effort by Schär that was quickly brought back. Eventually a group of 16 went away that included Lance Armstrong and Jesus Hernandez, as well as O’Grady. Working well together, the group developed a decent gap of almost two minutes, but behind them crashes were taking a toll on the peloton, knocking out defending champion Andre Greipel and Schär, among others. Luckily Rubiera was able to continue and rode in with the grupetto.
The Armstrong group put in a big effort to stay away but Team Columbia and Rabobank put men on the front and brought them back with 35km left to race. With plenty of real estate still ahead before hitting the line at Victor Harbor, more and more attacks were put in with Quick-Step also playing a role in the peloton. Glenn d’Hollander (Silence-Lotto) had attacked as the catch was made and Cameron Meyer (Garmin) made good time in bridging to him, but with less than 10 kilometers to go the peloton was all together and the stage was set for a bunch sprint.
Rabobank and Team Columbia went head to head, with Davis figuring in the mix as well, but it was Brown who had the legs and secured the win on the line.
“I felt alright,” said Lance after the stage, speaking about the windy conditions and his time in the break. “I don’t have that high-end intensity yet, that hasn’t been part of my training, but you had to be strong just to be in the group.” Speaking of his request for a media helicopter to move away from the group, Lance laughed and said, “When it’s that windy the last thing you need is a big wind machine on top of you! It was swirling so much, it just wasn’t safe. And with the deep dish rims and some of the little guys…the next stop for them was New Zealand!”
Crash Update: Michael has suffered superficial road rash and bruises, plus a cut on the outside of his calf. Also the saphenus nerve is cut. This is a superficial sensitory nerve with no motor function. The doctors are looking into suturing it. Chechu hurt his left shoulder and arm, plus has a shoulder bruise and road rash on his arm.
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Top 10 Stage 3
1 Graeme Brown (Rabobank) 3.15.35
2 Allan Davis (Quick Step)
3 Stuart O’Grady (Team Saxo Bank)
4 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Caisse d’Epargne)
5 George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia – High Road)
6 Martin Elmiger (AG2R La Mondiale)
7 José Joaquin Rojas Gil (Caisse d’Epargne)
8 Alexandre Pichot (Bbox Bouygues Telecom)
9 Mauro Santambrogio (Lampre – N.G.C)
10 Mickaël Chérel (Française Des Jeux)
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GC after stage 3
1 Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step 10.47.11
2 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
3 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank 0.05
4 Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale 0.14
5 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia – High Road 0.18
6 Matthew Wilson (Aus) UniSA 0.19
7 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre – N.G.C 0.20
8 José Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
9 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Slipstream
10 Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Française Des Jeux
(By Cathy Mehl; source: www.astana-cyclingteam.com)

Tuesday was the official start of the Pro Tour season as the peloton of 133 riders rolled out of Norwood, South Australia in Stage One of the 2009 Tour Down Under. Sunny skies and boiling hot temperatures set the stage for the sprinters to make their mark on the season opener. Last year’s defending champion did just that as Team Columbia’s Andre Greipel bore down on the finish line in a strong sprint to grab the win over Aussie contenders Stuart O’Grady (Saxo Bank) and Baden Cooke (UniSA). Team Astana’s Lance Armstrong was well-tended to throughout the day and all the boys in blue made it safely to Mawson Lakes at the end of the day, stage one tucked into the books.

After a roll-out at 11AM, Silence-Lotto rider Olivier Kaisen and Spaniard Andoni Lafuente (Euskaltel Euskadi) put in an early attack that saw them gain more than a six minute advantage over the peloton. Not willing to let them get too far ahead, the sprinters’ teams of Columbia and Katusha kept a careful watch on the two out front and controlled the speed of the peloton to ensure a timely catch, first bringing back Lafuente while Kaisen remained at large. But local rider and recent U23 Australian National Road champion Jack Bobridge (UniSA) tried to outfox them all by bridging across to Kaisen with 10km left to race. Once he made the catch he simply motored on by, making a big solo effort in front of his home crowd.
However as the peloton approached the 7km/4mi mark Bobridge’s time off the front was finished and the peloton was all together as they roared into the finish area. Team Columbia took tight control of the front, followed closely by Rabobank and Liquigas. After Sunday’s efforts to stay in front saw Columbia wash away in the closing kilometers, they were able to hold a tighter rein on Tuesday’s approach with Greipel scoring his first win of the season.
Wednesday’s stage Two to Stirling offers up more South Australian flatlands but should be somewhat more challenging with 19 short, nasty climbs along the way to split things up on the run to the line. Johan is Twittering from the car so be sure to follow his on-the-spot race commentating!

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Top Ten Finish STAGE 1
1 Andre Greipel (Ger) Team Columbia – High Road 3.45.27
2 Baden Cooke (Aus) UniSA
3 Stuart O’grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank
4 Robbie Mcewen (Aus) Team Katusha
5 Jacopo Guanieri (Ita) Liquigas
6 Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step
7 Willem Stroetinga (Ned) Team Milram
8 Timothy Gudsell (NZl) Francaise Des Jeux
9 Luca Barla (Ita) Team Milram
10 Andrea Grendene (Ita) Lampre – N.G.C
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GC after stage 1
1 Andre Greipel (Ger) Team Columbia – High Road 3.45.16
2 Baden Cooke (Aus) UniSA 0.05
3 Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Silence – Lotto
4 Stuart O’grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank 0.07
5 Andoni Lafuente (Spa) Euskaltel – Euskadi
6 William Walker (Aus) Fuji-Servetto 0.10
7 Robbie Mcewen (Aus) Team Katusha 0.11
8 Jacopo Guanieri (Ita) Liquigas
9 Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step
10 Willem Stroetinga (Ned) Team Milram
(By Cathy Mehlsource, uploaded from http://www.astana-cyclingteam.com)

Just a kind reminder TODAY Janury 20-2009
Tour Down Under
VERSUS’ on-air television coverage of the Tour Down Under,
the first race of the year on the UCI Pro Tour calendar,
will include 30-minute highlight shows each day from January 20-24.
All telecasts will air at 4 p.m. ET
except for the January 24 telecast which will air at 3:30 p.m. ET.

On January 24, the network will stream the final stage of
the race live on http://www.versus.com/

and will produce a one-hour highlight show of the final stage which will air on VERSUS on January 25 at 5 p.m. ET.

To follow the TDU live on radio please

For more info click:
Tour Down Under
Versus

Only 2 weeks to go to the start of the Tour Down Under in Australia. The Tour Down Under was the first race outside of Europe to be given UCI Pro Tour status. Elite international athletes race around South Australia over seven days, all vying to wear the Ochre Leaders Jersey. Many eyes will be upon Lance Armstrong in his first road race appearance since announcing his come-back!

Tuesday 20 January 2009 Stage 1 Norwood to Mawson Lakes Start-time – 11am Wednesday 21 January 2009 Stage 2 Hahndorf to Stirling Start-time – 11am
Thursday 22 January 2009 Stage 3 Unley to Victor Harbor Start-time – 11am
Friday 23 January 2009 Stage 4 Burnside Village to Angaston Start-time – 11am Saturday 24 January 2009 Stage 5 Snapper Point to Willunga Start-time -11am Sunday 25 January 2009 Stage 6 Adelaide City Counsel Ct Start-time -1.45pm

As posted before, Versus will air highlights on the respective stage days.

Ochre Leader’s Jersey THE rider with the fastest cumulative time at the end of each stage and to the race’s overall winner. This prestigious jersey is ochre, a colour strongly associated with Australia and unique to the TDU.
SA Lotteries Sprint Jersey
THE rider who leads the sprint points tally after each stage. Points are awarded to the first three riders across the line at designated sprints along the route.
Skoda King of the Mountain Jersey
AWARDED at the end of each stage to the rider who leads the mountain points tally. Points are awarded to the first fivee riders over the summit of designated climbs during the race.

TOUR DOWN UNDER TEAMS:
Team Columbia (USA); Astana (Luxembourg); Ag2r La Mondiale (France); Silence – Lotto (Belgium); Saxo Bank (Denmark); Cofidis (France); Caisse d’Epargne (Spain); Euskaltel – Euskadi (Spain); Lampre N.G.C. (Italy); Liquigas (Italy); Fuji – Servetto (Spain); Team Katusha (Russia); BBox Bouygues Telecom (France); Francaise Des Jeux (France); Quick Step (Belgium); Milram (Germany); Rabobank (Netherlands); Garmin – Slipstream (USA) and UniSA – Australia (Australia).

In search for alternative fuels?

Precision Bikes will be open on

Saturday January 3rd
10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
There will be a group leaving from Red Lerille’s,
Saturday morning at 7:00 AM, weather permitting.
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Mark your calendar and set your recorder:
VERSUS’ on-air television coverage of the 2009 Tour Down Under, the first race of the year on the UCI Pro Tour calendar, will include 30-minute highlight shows each day from January 20-24. All telecasts will air at 4 p.m. ET except for the January 24 telecast which will air at 3:30 p.m. ET. On January 24, the network will stream the final stage of
the race live on www.VERSUS.com and will produce a one-hour highlight show of the final stage which will air on VERSUS on January 25 at 5 p.m. ET.
For more info click: