The largest crowds of the Tour Down Under ? estimated at 143,000 ? witnessed a final stage win for Italian Francesco Chicchi (Liquigas) as Allan Davis (Quick Step) successfully defended his ochre jersey to run out as the overall winner.
The 28-year old Australian is the only rider to take part in all eleven Tours Down Under, and at his eleventh attempt he has finally won his country?s premier stage race.
The final stage was a circuit race in the centre of Adelaide over 90km, on a 5km circuit. It included a small climb and provided a typically dramatic final day?s racing, with a thirteen-man break escaping early on.
Naturally the move included the rider wearing the red number for his aggression the previous day: 19-year old Jack Bobridge of the South Australia University-sponsored national team.
But, more worryingly for Davis, it also included two riders who were within 44 seconds of him on general classification: Wesley Sulzberger (Francaise des Jeux) and former Tour Down Under winner Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d?Epargne).
As the thirteen raced to a two-minute lead ? driven on by Bobridge and his countryman Sulzberger ? Davis put his Quick Step team to work, ordering them to the front of the peloton to lead the chase. It took a few laps for them to reduce the gap, but when it started to come down the end was inevitable, and Davis could begin to breathe easier.
Once the group was caught several counter-attacks were launched, one including Lance Armstrong (Astana), but it finished as every stage has finished – with a bunch sprint.
Columbia-High Road led it out, but, with a lunge in the final metres, it was Chicchi, the 2002 under-23 world road race champion, who took the stage.
TOUR DOWN UNDER STAGE SIX: RESULTS
1. Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Liquigas in 1 hour 42 mins
2. Robbie McEwen (Aus) Katusha
3. Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
4. Gregory Henderson (NZl) Columbia
5. Jose Rojas (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
6. Tom Leezer (Ned) Rabobank
7. Willem Stroetinga (Ned) Milram
8. Guillaume Blot (Fra) Cofidis
9. Jacopo Guanieri (Ita) Liquigas
10. Martin Elmiger (Swi) Ag2r all at same time.
FINAL OVERALL CLASSIFICATION
1. Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step
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. Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Francaise des Jeux at 37secs
6. Michael Rogers (Aus) Columbia at 38secs
7. Matthew Wilson (Aus) UniSA at 39secs
8. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre at 40secs
9. Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Francaise des Jeux
10. Mickael Cherel (Fra) Francaise des Jeux at same time.
Lance Armstrong finished in 29th place overall
Francesco Chicchi wins the final stage
Allan Davis celebrates the overall win – at his 11th attempt
Photos by Graham Watson
TOUR DOWN UNDER 2009
Stage five: Davis makes it three
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 six photo gallery
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