The final stage of this years Tour Down Under was a 88 kilometres long crit at the Adelaide East End circuit. Immediately
after the race started the first attack: a rider from FD Jeux tried to break off but the bunch didn't let him go. A
few more attacks after he was caught but the speed was too high to get away.
After 10 kilometres Yoan Offredo (FD Jeux) attacked. The French rider didn't get away either, Team CSC is hammering at
the front of the bunch. Unisa-Australia and CSC are preparing the first intermediate sprint and after 28 kilometres the work
of Unisa pays out. Allan Davis, second overall, won the first intermediate sprint and takes 3 seconds from Greipel's overall
lead. Greipel has only 4 seconds left now. Greg Henderson (Team High Road) was second and CSC's Stuart O' Grady was third
at the first intermediate sprint.
Mauro Da Dalto (Liquigas) attacked after 34 kilometres but the bunch chased him down immediately. After 39 kilometres Astana's
Benoit Joachim attacked and a Quickstep rider tried to join him. But Unisa is working hard at the front of the bunch and the
two escapees didn't really get away. Unisa knows Allan Davis has to win the intermediate sprints if he wants to
win the overall.
With 32 kilometres to go Andre Greipel (Team High Road) wins the second intermediate sprint, Allan Davis was second and
Michael Albasini (Liquigas) grabbed the third spot. Greipel has an overall lead of 5 seonds on Davis now.
With 21 kilometres to go a group of five riders attacked. In the group are Koen de Kort (Astana), Wim Vansevenant (Silencew-Lotto)
and Nicholas Portal, Luis Leon Sanchez (both Caisse d'Epargne) and Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre). They have a lead of 13
seconds. But Unisa and CSC are leading the chase and with 11 kilometres to go the gap is down to 10 seconds.
With 9 kilometres to go the group was caught again and the sprinter teams kept the pace high to avoid any new attacks.
In the final kilometre Greipel is in the tenth wheel, while Davis is on Renshaw's wheel... Rabobank's Graeme Brown opens the
sprint but its Greipel who wins the stage and the overall. Robert Förster (Gerolsteiner) also passed Brown and came in second. Brown came in third.
" I’m really proud, and my team is proud of me," said Greipel. "Everyone trusted me and I’m happy to be in
Australia for the first time, and I’ve won the first Pro Tour race."
"My teammates took care of me..... (and) my sports director told me before the race, ‘You don’t have to think
about your jersey, try to do your own sprint and win the stage again," said Greipel who delivered on the advice.
"I couldn’t have done anything more," said Davis. "I said before (the stage) I’d go down fighting, no matter
what and I won the first sprint, put everything into it … put everything into the second sprint, was up there second
again, not far behind Greipel."
"I felt good enough to actually roll him so I was hoping everything was going well for the last sprint," Davis explained.
"I hit the front 200m to go in the bike race, chance to win [but] Andre was too good once again."
"As soon as I saw him go past me, that was it, the stage and tour," said Davis. "But I crossed the line knowing I couldn’t
have done one more centimetre harder than what I did and to the UniSA guys, every one of them, I’ve said it before and
I’ll say it again, it has been an honour and a privilege riding with you boys this week."
"Not only today, all week, you’ve worked so well, Dave Sanders, the soigneurs and mechanics, we been put together
in a world class cycling event and we’ve nearly pulled it off," said Davis of the national team line up given special
permission to race in the ProTour event. "It’s been so professional, so I’d like to thank the guys from the bottom
of my heart."
Gerolsteiners Heinrich Haussler publishes a riders diary at our website and radsport-aktiv.de (German version). Haussler finished 16th today, in the same time as stage winner Andre Greipel.