Allan Davis (Quick Step) all but wrapped up the overall victory in the Tour Down Under with his third stage win in Willunga, picking up a ten-second bonus to increase his overall lead to 25 seconds with just one circuit stage remaining.
Stuart O?Grady (Saxo Bank) moved up to second, with Graeme Brown (Rabobank) the big loser, limping across the line over two minutes down. Brown was one of many casualties of Willunga Hill, which the race tackled twice this year, as opposed to just once in previous editions.
The penultimate stage of the Tour Down Under provided intriguing racing, and it started long before the two ascents of Willunga, which had been hyped all week as the decisive climb.
Nineteen-year old Jack Bobridge (UNISA-Australia) was as aggressive as he?d been in stages one and two, attacking four times in the first 10km, covering every move until, finally, he made it into the eight-man break that rode clear.
Apart from Bobridge, the break included Anders Lund of Saxo Bank, who started the day just 39 seconds down on Davis. It was a good move by O?Grady?s team, which forced Quick Step to send all their riders to the front in frantic pursuit.
The group gained in excess of three minutes before the Quick Step-led peloton began to make inroads. O?Grady fell in a crash but quickly re-mounted and was back as the lead began to come down.
By the first ascent of Willunga the escapees were hanging on, but Bobridge attacked on the climb and was joined by Sergey Klimov (Katusha) over the top. But they didn?t last too long, the peloton ? by now reduced to forty riders ? sweeping up the remnants of the break, and finally Bobridge and Klimov, before the final climb.
Lance Armstrong (Astana) was among the attackers on the final lap, escaping with Adam Hansen (Columbia-High Road), but in the end the stage ended as all five have ? with a bunch sprint. And Davis proved he is the fastest man in the race, out-sprinting Jose Rojas (Caisse d?Epargne), who is now third overall, and Martin Elmiger (AG2R), with O’Grady fourth.
TOUR DOWN UNDER STAGE FIVE: RESULTS
1. Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step in 3 hours 28 mins 33 secs
2. Jose Rojas (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
3. Martin Elmiger (Swi) Ag2r
4. Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Saxo Bank
5. Jeremy Roy (Fra) Francaise des Jeux
6. Laurent Lefevre (Fra) BBox-Bouygues Telecom
7. Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Francaise des Jeux
8. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Slipstream
9. Matthew Lloyd (Aus) Silence-Lotto
10. Julien El Fares (Fra) Cofidis all at same time.
OVERALL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE FIVE
1. Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step in 17 hours 44 mins 59 secs
2. Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Saxo Bank at 25secs
3. Jose Rojas (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne at 30 secs
4. Martin Elmiger (Swi) Ag2r at same time
5. Michael Rogers (Aus) Columbia at 38secs
6. Matthew Wilson (Aus) UniSA at 39secs
7. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre at 40secs
8. Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Francise des Jeux
9. Mickael Cherel (Fra) Francaise des Jeux
10. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Slipstream all at same time.
Lance Armstrong has a dig
Allan Davis all but sealed the race with a third sprint win
TOUR DOWN UNDER 2009
Stage four: Davis wins again in Tour Down Under
Stage three: Brown leads Aussie charge
Stage two: Davis takes gruelling stage
Stage one: Greipel wins first stage
Cancer Council Classic: McEwen gets Katusha’s first win Down Under
Stage five photo gallery
Stage four photo gallery
Stage three photo gallery
Stage two photo gallery
Stage one photo gallery
Cancer Council Classic
Desktop wallpaper: Tour Down Under pics added