Gerrans wins Tour Down Under

2012-01-22 14:46

Adelaide - Australian champion Simon Gerrans secured his second career victory in the Tour Down Under Sunday following a tense 90km final stage, won by Germany's Andre Greipel.

While Lotto-Belisol sprinter Greipel took his third stage win of the week and 11th in total, Gerrans claimed his first-ever stage race victory on the WorldTour and the first-ever win for the peloton's newest team, GreenEdge.

"It's just fantastic. I really can't thank my teammates at GreenEdge enough," said Gerrans, who won the race in 2006 when it was not yet part of cycling's elite calendar.

"We had a tough task today with Alejandro Valverde, he's a tough customer. But I managed to hold on to the lead today, and I couldn't be happier."

After a thrilling fifth stage on Friday which gave Gerrans the ochre jersey when he finished runner-up to Spanish ace Valverde, there was still plenty at stake on the final stage.

Gerrans started the 20-lap circuit race with the same overall time as the Movistar team leader, but with the ochre jersey by virtue of better placings in previous stages.

GreenEdge were given a boost when early attacks ate up the bonus seconds on offer at the intermediate sprints, where Valverde could have taken the virtual race lead.

But from the midway point until the final two laps the Australian outfit were given a fresh challenge when RadioShack-Nissan rider Belgian Jan Bakelants, only 19 seconds adrift of Gerrans, went on the attack.

GreenEdge sent Cameron Meyer up the road to mark him, but instead of pulling Bakelants back, Meyer's relays at the front helped increase the Belgian's lead on the chasing peloton to 51secs, making him the virtual leader.

In the final two laps, however, Meyer put GreenEdge back into the black when he attacked solo. The bunch soon had Bakelants in their sights, and he was easily reeled in.

The final lap then saw several teams move to the front as they jostled for position ahead of an imminent bunch sprint. But heading into the home straight only one team, Lotto-Belisol, dominated.

"What can I say? I think the team was just amazing," said two-time race champion Greipel, who came off the wheels of teammates Adam Hansen and Greg Henderson to finish comfortably ahead of his sprint rivals.

"I need to say 'chapeau' (hat's off) to all the guys, the way they did the sprint they made it look easy. All I had to do was the final 200 metres."

Valverde finished second overall, with the same time as Gerrans, while Portuguese Tiago Machado of RadioShack-Nissan was third at 08sec.

Despite only making his competitive return following a two-year doping ban, the Spaniard made an immediate impact by winning the toughest stage on Friday.

"I'm very happy finishing second in the race," said Valverde.

"It's much better than I expected when I came to Australia. Today was a super-fast stage with a bit of wind which made it even harder."

Pre-race contender Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) secured the sprinters' jersey and, in the young riders' standings the Norwegian finished runner-up to Australian Rohan Dennis (UniSA), who also won the best climbers' jersey.

Tour Down Under stage six results (90km criterium around Adelaide) in Australia on Sunday:

1. Andre Greipel (Germany / Lotto) 1 hr 56mins 48 sec 2. Mark Renshaw (Australia / Rabobank) same time 3. Alessandro Petacchi (Italy / Lampre) 4. Yauheni Hutarovich (Belarus / FDJ) 5. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spain / Movistar) 6. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway / Team Sky) 7. Romain Feillu (France / Vacansoleil) 8. Jonathan Cantwell (Australia / Saxo Bank) 9. Fabio Sabatini (Italy / Liquigas) 10. Manuel Belletti (Italy / AG2R) 11. Chris Sutton (Australia / Team Sky) 12. Kenny van Hummel (Netherlands / Vacansoleil) 13. Luca Paolini (Italy / Katusha) 14. Michael Rogers (Australia / Team Sky) 15. William Bonnet (France / FDJ) 16. Jack Bauer (New Zealand / Garmin) 17. Borut Bozic (Slovenia / Astana) 18. Gerald Ciolek (Germany / Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) 19. Julien Vermote (Belgium / Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) 20. Andrew Fenn (Britain / Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) 21. Greg Henderson (New Zealand / Lotto) 22. Robert Hunter (South Africa / Garmin) 23. Daniele Bennati (Italy / RadioShack) 24. Linus Gerdemann (Germany / RadioShack) 25. Alejandro Valverde (Spain / Movistar) 26. Robbie McEwen (Australia / GreenEdge) 27. Simon Gerrans (Australia / GreenEdge) 28. Michael Matthews (Australia / Rabobank) 29. Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Spain / Movistar) 30. Steele Von Hoff (Australia / Australia)


1. Simon Gerrans (Australia / GreenEdge) 20 hrs 46 mins 12 sec 2. Alejandro Valverde (Spain / Movistar) same time 3. Tiago Machado (Portugal / RadioShack) +8" 4. Michael Rogers (Australia / Team Sky) +14" 5. Rohan Dennis (Australia / Australia) 6. Jan Bakelants (Belgium / RadioShack) +16" 7. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway / Team Sky) +18" 8. Javier Moreno (Spain / Movistar) +23" 9. Michael Matthews (Australia / Rabobank) +29" 10. Eduard Vorganov (Russia / Katusha) +32" 11. Jack Bauer (New Zealand / Garmin) +34" 12. Linus Gerdemann (Germany / RadioShack) +42" 13. Gerald Ciolek (Germany / Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) +47" 14. Angel Madrazo (Spain / Movistar) +1:15" 15. Martin Kohler (Switzerland / BMC Racing) +1:16" 16. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spain / Movistar) +1:27" 17. Serge Pauwels (Belgium / Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) +1:28" 18. Blel Kadri (France / AG2R) +2:30" 19. Xavier Florencio (Spain / Katusha) +2:33" 20. Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Spain / Movistar) 21. Wilco Kelderman (Netherlands / Rabobank) 22. Kristjan Koren (Slovenia / Liquigas) +2:35" 23. Bernard Sulzberger (Australia / Australia) 24. Alessandro Ballan (Italy / BMC Racing) +2:36" 25. Jeremy Roy (France / FDJ) +3:00" 26. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spain / Rabobank) +3:01" 27. Adam Hansen (Australia / Lotto) +3:02" 28. Sandy Casar (France / FDJ) +3:11" 29. Heinrich Haussler (Australia / Garmin) +3:22" 30. Romain Lemarchand (France / AG2R) +3:33"