Team Sky’s Ben Swift ended the Tour Down Under today in Adelaide, Australia, on a high note. The Briton took his second stage win and jumped to third overall in the final classification.
“We made a call today not to challenge for the intermediate sprints, just go for the big one,” Swift said. “Fortunately, it paid off.”
Swift’s Sky squad took control in the last two laps. Team-mates Matt Hayman, Geraint Thomas and then Greg Henderson led the way.
“Matt Hayman was practically like a motor bike on the front, pulling for nearly a lap. Nobody could challenge him or get near him,” added Swift. “Geraint took over. He is so fast at what he does, he just went so quick.”
Henderson’s lead-out was crucial for Swift’s win and the overall classification. He went well enough to take second on the stage ahead of Australian Matt Goss (HTC-Highroad).
Goss lost a chance for the overall win by not placing first or second. He approached the final sprint only six seconds behind overall leader, Australian Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Cervélo). Second place would have giving him six seconds and a win, 10 seconds. As it was, he took four seconds for third place and moved within two seconds of winning the overall.
“I just sat there,” said Meyer, “it was like watching people play chess and having it all unfold before me.”
HTC-Highroad dominated the 90-kilometre stage to place Goss ahead for the two intermediate sprints. He took second for two seconds in the first and just missed out on the second, placing fourth. His efforts may have sapped his strength for the final kick and allowed Garmin to win the chess match.
“In the end, Gossy didn’t have the legs to run first or second and it gave me the victory,” added Meyer. “If you are going to win one, besides a Grand Tour, you want a Protour [Wordtour] race in Australia, in front of a home crowd.”
Meyer, 23, leaves Australia to race the Berlin Six Day and then off to the track World Championships. There he will meet 23-year-old Swift again. Swift’s path to the Worlds in March is via next month’s World Cup in Manchester.
The youngsters outshined Lance Armstrong, 39, in his last international race. South Australian Premier Mike Rann presented Armstrong on the podium after the race and gave him a pair of boots. Armstrong refused to talk to the press. After the presentation, he shoved his way into a waiting car, shut the door on the waiting press and an unimpressive week: 67th overall.
Tour Down Under 2011, stage six: Adelaide City Council Street Circuit, 90km
1. Ben Swift (GB) Team Sky in 1-53-47
2. Greg Henderson (NZ) Team Sky
3. Matt Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad
4. Robbie McEwen (Aus) RadioShack
5. Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Saxo Bank
6. Allan Davis (Aus) Astana
7. Andre Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto
8. Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM
9. Davide Vigano (Ita) Leopard-Trek
10. Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Uni SA-Australia all same time
Final overall classification
1. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Garmin-Cervelo in 17-54-27
2. Matt Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad at 2secs
3. Ben Swift (GB) Team Sky at 8secs
4. Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank at 9secs
5. Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank at 10secs
6. Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Movistar at 17sec
7. Andre Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto at 26secs
8. Blel Kadri (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 26secs
9. Allan Davis (Aus) Astana at 27secs
10. Luke Roberts (Aus) Uni SA-Australia at 28secs
Lance Armstrong waved goodbye to his fans
Brit Ben Swift heads up a Team Sky 1-2 at the finish with Greg Henderson
Cameron Meyer wins overall for Garmin-Cervelo
Tour Down Under 2011: Related links
Tour Down Under 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index
Cavendish feeling well after relentless night
Cavendish plans to fight on despite Down Under crash
Swift benefits from Sky’s strength and crashes for first win
Armstrong grumpy Down Under due to new doping allegations
Swift settles into Sky’s lead-out role
Cavendish holds fire at Tour Down Under
Cavendish-Greipel duel: Let the fun begin
Sky’s Thomas keeping covered Down Under
Armstrong faces questions on doping investigation and 2009 payments
Armstrong in Adelaide: One more time
Tour Down Under 2011: Who will win?
Tour Down Under 2011: Start list
Farrar heads Garmin-Cervelo’s Down Under assault
Cavendish to face Greipel Down Under with in-form Goss
Cavendish to start 2011 Tour Down Under
Farrar to ride Tour Down Under
Tour Down Under 2011: Stage reports
Tour Down Under 2011: Photo galleries