Australian Simon Gerrans won the overall classification of the 2012 Tour Down Under on Sunday in Adelaide, Australia, with Andre Greipel taking the final stage. Gerrans’ overall win marked GreenEdge’s first stage race victory in the season’s first WorldTour outing.
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“For GreenEdge, it’s fantastic,” Gerrans said, “and we could not ask for a better way to start the season.”
The Australian Champion won ahead of Spain’s Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). The two are on equal time in the classification, but Gerrans won thanks to better placings throughout the week.
Gerrans, though, still had to keep eye on Valverde and the bonus seconds on offer today. He said that his GreenEdge team “had a tough task to keep watch on Alejandro Valverde.”
The team’s manager, Shayne Bannan announced his intentions to start Australia’s first WorldTour level team one year ago at the Tour Down Under. The team signed many of the country’s top talents, including Matt Goss, Stuart O’Grady and Gerrans.
Gerrans targeted the Tour Down Under after winning the national championships. His was only able to clinch his overall victory after the final sprint today.
André Greipel won the sprint over Mark Renshaw (Rabobank) and Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD). He won three of the six stages and now has 11 Tour Down Under wins. He is second only to Robbie McEwen, who has 12.
“The team was amazing, hats off to them,” Greipel explained. “They made it look easy for me and proved strong in the sprints.”
Marcel Sieberg and then Greg Henderson led to the line for Greipel. He won by two bike lengths.
The sprint ended the 20 laps of 4.5 kilometres each, or 90 kilometres, around Adelaide’s north side. The skies were clear, but the temperatures, 36°C, made the final stage that much harder for the 130 cyclists.
Several cyclists tried to ride free in escapes and gain bonus seconds at the two intermediate sprints. GreenEdge covered the moves with their men: Luke Durbridge for the first sprint and Cameron Meyer, last year’s winner, in the second.
Jan Bakelants (RadioShack-Nissan) attack in the 12th lap ahead of the second sprint. Meyer and Romain Sicard (Euskaltel-Euskadi) joined his move. They gained up to 50 seconds, which put Bakelants in the virtual leader’s jersey. Meyer stopped helping and their advantage dropped. He then attacked solo ahead of the final lap.
Meyer was unable to hold off Lotto’s and Lampre’s charge. Sky’s Chris Sutton made the final attempt to prevent a Greipel-win by anticipating the sprint.
Gerrans previously won the race in 2006 and remains the only Australian to win stages in all three Grand Tours. He took the lead yesterday when he finished second to Valverde on Willunga Hill.
“When I was told yesterday that I was getting the leader’s jersey, I didn’t feel any pressure at all, it was just a nice surprise,” Gerrans explained. “It’s an even sweeter victory than my first one. It couldn’t be a better start for us.”
Rohan Dennis (UniSA) finished in fifth, but won the young riders’ classification. He also won the mountain classification. Sky’s Edvald Boasson Hagen won the sprints competition.
Santos Tour Down Under 2012, stage six: Adelaide City Council Street Circuit, 90km
1. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol
2. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Rabobank
3. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-ISD
4. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) FDJ-BigMat
5. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar
6. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky
7. Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM
8. Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Saxo Bank
9. Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
10. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Ag2r La Mondiale all same time
Final overall classification
1. Simon Gerrans (Aus) GreenEdge
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at same time
3. Tiago Machado (Por) RadioShack-Nissan at 8 secs
4. Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky at 14 secs
5. Rohan Dennis (Aus) UniSA-Australia at 14 secs
6. Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan at 16 secs
7. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky at 18 secs
8. Javier Moreno (Spa) Movistar at 23 secs
9. Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank at 29 secs
10. Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha at 32 secs
46. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky at 8-30
75. Andrew Fenn (GBr) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 24-32
121. Adam Blythe (GBr) BMC Racing at 43-33
124. Alex Dowsett (GBr) Sky at 46-53
Jayco Sprint Winner: Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky
SKODA King of the Mountain Winner: Rohan Dennis (Aus) UniSA-Australia
Cycle Instead Best Young Rider: Rohan Dennis (Aus) UniSA-Australia
Brilliant Blend Team Leader: Radioshack-Nissan
Tanya Denver Award: Rohan Dennis (Aus) UniSA-Australia (Highest placed South Australian overall)
Adelaide hosts final stage crit
Brit Geraint Thomas in action
Andre Greipel takes his third stage win of the race
GreenEdge: first WorldTour outing, first win
Simon Gerrans celebrates his overall win
Tour Down Under 2012: Latest news
Tour Down Under 2012: Stage reports
Tour Down Under 2012: Photo galleries
All photos by Graham Watson