Andre Greipel (Team High Road) won todays stage which finished at Hahndorff, a city which was founded in 1839 by German
settlers. A dream szenario for the second stage, as Greipel is a German rider.
Yoann Offredo (FD Jeux) was the first rider to attack. Offredo attacked immediately after the race kicked off.
After 12 kilometres Offredo had a lead of 2'10" on the bunch. Nicolas Crosbie (Bouygues Telecom) and Stephane Poulhies
(AG2R) started a counter attack. The first intermediate sprint was won by Offredo, Crosby was second and Poulhies was third.
Offredo had a lead of 1 minute on the two chasers and 3'. 55" on the bunch.
After only 20 kilometres the FD Jeux rider had a lead of 6'. 10" on the pleltoton. But Offredo knows he doesn't have
a change to come through solo so he decided to wait for the two chasers, Crosbie and Poulhies. The three men breakaway group
had a lead of 6'.15".
After 26 kilometres the bunch reduced the lead of the French trio to 5'.15". Credit Agricole is organizing the chase
but with no less than 18 small hills that's not goinjg to be easy. The bunch was satisfied with a lead just over 5 minutes
and Credit Agricole decided to play cat and mouse with the three escapees.
After 45 kilometres Poulhies won the KoM points, Offredo was second and Crosbie was third, their lead on the bunch wasreduced
to 4'.15 at the summit. The lead of the escapees slowly got smaller and smaller. As the breakaway group entered the circuit
in and around Hahndorf they had a lead of 3'. 45" with two laps to go. After 100 kilometres the three men hat 3 mintues left.
In the following 18 kilometres their advantage dropped rapidly and with 30 kilometres to go the pack caught the breakaway
of the day.
But FD Jeux wanted to win the stage so the next French rider attacked. Jeremy Roy (FD Jeux) eventually created a gap
but the sprinter teams didn't allow any rider to get away. With 21 kilometres to go a group of five riders broke away: Kasper
Klostergaard Larsen (CSC), Bernhard Eisel (Team High Road), Dmytro Grabovskyy (Quickstep), Jeremy Roy (Fd Jeux) and Javier
Aramendia Lorenti (Euskatel-Euskadi). But the hammering pace of the bunch caught them again.
With 16 kilometres to go the next breakaway goes but the four men group never had more than 10 seconds. Three of them
were caught but Pierre Rolland (Credit Agricole) took off alone and managed to extend his lead to 15 seconds. The chase
is organised by Rabobank and Quickstep now and Rolland was caught by the bunch with 3 kilometres to go.
Credit Agricole kept a high pace but it was German rider Andre Greipel (Team High Road) who won the mass sprint. Greipel,
who won the Down Under Classic at Glenelg on Sunday, unleashed a powerfull sprint to win the 148km stage from
Stirling in a time of 3h. 46'. 55" holding off Australians Graeme Brown (Rabobank) and Allan Davis (Australia-UniSA) who finished
second and third respectively.
"I feel like I am in Germany here and before the race I thought it would be nice to win here because it is a German city,"
said Greipel. "I think the people from Hahndorf are also proud of me."
Greipel admits his win was partly due to the choices Renshaw made in the final sprint: "He was on the right and I couldn’t
get past him, but then he went to the left and I was able to pass him," said Greipel. "My teammates did a really good job
and it meant I didn’t have to chase down any breaks."
"I’m proud of it [the win] and I’m proud of the team," said Greipel who was overjoyed with his first victory
in a UCI ProTour event. "We began training from November 1 so we could be good at the Tour Down Under and win races."
The tightly fought finish forced race officials to a countback situation to decide who would be presented with the Tour
Down Under ochre leader's jersey because Greipel, Renshaw and Brown all ended the day on the same race time at the top of
the classification. However after adding together their placings in the two stages so far the lowest aggregate was that of
Brown who placed third yesterday and second today for a total of five. Renshaw was first on Stage 1 and seventh today (8)
while Greipel was eighth on Stage 1 and first today (9).
"I am pretty happy," said Brown. "Leading a ProTour event is a pretty big thing and I would have preferred to win [the
stage] but this is not a bad consolation."
"I was coming quickly at the end but I was just a bit late but they say the jersey gives you a few more percent so
hopefully its good enough for tomorrow," said Brown. "I am sure that we will see a lot of orange riding on the front
tomorrow, like a team should when they have the leader's jersey."
At first the jury wanted to hand the leader's jersey to Mark Renshaw who, together with André Greipel, has the same time
as Brown. An intervention by Rabobank's sports director Erik Dekker prevented that. "After the finish I had worked out very
quickly that Graeme was the new leader. I explained that and the jury members agreed with me just before the ceremony."
Dekker believes that a sprinter can win the Tour Down Under. "It is possible but not likely. Saturday's stage may be
a little too much, also for Brown. Last week we already trained in interval units on that course. We encountered head winds
then. It would make a difference if that happened again. And it depends of course on the way the course progresses. All in
all it is going to be very difficult, but you should not rule out the possibility that a sprinter is going to win the final