TDU stage 5: Snapper Point to Willunga, 92mi

TDU stage 5: Snapper Point to Willunga, 92mi

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)

 

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