German sprinter Andre Greipel won his second stage of the Tour Down Under in Adelaide today bringing his career race total to a record 16.
Greipel comfortably beat Omega Pharma-Quick Step duo Mark Renshaw and Andy Fenn, who finished second and third, respectively, in the bunch sprint at the end of the 85.5km city criterium.
Marcel Kittel, who won the criterium prelude a week ago, was not in the mix and visibly frustrated at the Giant-Shimano bus after the race.
Simon Gerrans kept his one second advantage over Cadel Evans (BMC) to win his third tour title with ‘home’ outfit Orica-GreenEdge.
The 31 year old Greipel has a good track record at the first WorldTour event of the season but he and his Lotto Belisol team were particularly impressive during the week, and ever present in almost all stages. Greipel made a decisive split to win stage four to Victor Harbor, and teammate Adam Hansen claimed the King of the Mountain jersey and finished ninth overall.
“Chapeau to my teammates! They rode incredibly fast so I could save myself for the last moment,” Greipel said post-race. “This is a very nice victory for us. I had fast legs today and I’m confident in my capacities these days.
“It was difficult to keep the peloton together but everyone knew where we’d start the lead-out. This new circuit is really fast but we have enough experience in the team to adjust ourselves to a new course. I’m really happy to come out of the Santos Tour Down Under as a winner again.”
Will Clarke (Drapac), Maxim Belkov (Katusha) and Angelo Tulik (Europcar) escaped in the first of 18 laps in and around Rymill Park that included 10 sharp corners. Tulik crashed heavily, with Belkov running into him, on one of those and abandoned.
Clarke and Belkov later regrouped with Julien Berard (AG2R La Mondiale) joining the escape that was inevitably caught as the peloton mobilised for the bunch sprint with about three laps to go before Greipel was seamlessly guided to the finish.
De Kort was unsure how Kittel lost position in the race to the line.
“I still have to talk to Marcel, he was angry and rode straight to the hotel so he’s obviously very disappointed,” he said.
“We were all very well positioned going into the last lap and it’s just very hectic. It’s a very difficult circuit where the straights are really long and then suddenly a lot of corners in a row, which means people are coming underneath and sprinting to the corners. It makes it really hard to stay together as a team.”
Team Sky’s Richie Porte maintained his position in fourth overall with teammate Geraint Thomas finishing eighth in the general classification.
Gerrans’s title was confirmed on Australia Day making the victory extra sweet.
“It’s our home tour and besides the Tour de France and pretty much the Giro it’s got more publicity than any other race in our calendar, so it’s very important for us,” Orica-GreenEdge sports director Matt White said.
“This is pretty much our Tour de France team. We’ve got some guys who could have won stages themselves but it’s been 100 per cent for Gerrans and it’s paid dividends.”
Tour Down Under 2014, stage six: Adelaide city, 85.5km
1. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol 1-55-16
2. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
3. Andy Fenn (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
4. Koen de Kort (Ned) Giant-Shimano
5. Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Drapac
6. Matthew Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
7. Nathan Haas (Aus)Garmin-Sharp
8. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol
9. Michal Kolar (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
10. Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
Final overall classification
1. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge 19-57-35
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 1 secs
3. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 5 secs
4. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky at 10 secs
5. Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin-Sharp at 27 secs
6. Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin at 30 secs
7. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge at 34 secs
8. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky at 37 secs
9. Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Belisol
10. Egor Silin (Rus) Katusha at 47 secs
Andre Greipel wins the final stage
Simon Gerrans (right) and Orica-GreenEdge celebrate
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Tour Down Under 2014: Race reports
Reporting by Sophie Smith
Stage five: Porte takes queen stage, Gerrans back in lead
Stage four: Greipel takes sprint, Evans maintains lead
Stage three: Evans takes stage and race lead
Stage two: Ulissi wins, Gerrans keeps overall lead
Stage one: Gerrans takes first blood
People’s Choice Classic: Kittel pips Greipel to win
Tour Down Under 2014: Photo galleries
Photography by Graham Watson
Stage six, by Graham Watson
Stage five, by Graham Watson
Stage four, by Graham Watson
Stage three, by Graham Watson
Stage two, by Graham Watson
Stage one, by Graham Watson
People’s Choice Classic, by Graham Watson