Chris Sutton won the final stage of the Tour Down Under today, pipping his team mate Greg Henderson to the finish line.
It was another one-two for Team Sky, its first win in a ProTour event, and a podium finish at its first attempt as Henderson moved up to third overall after gaining time bonuses.
HTC Columbia rider André Greipel enjoyed a trouble-free day and comfortably retained the leader’s jersey to win his second Tour Down Under. He finished fifth on today’s stage.
Sutton’s win came after another good lead-out by Team Sky, although the plan had been for him to take Henderson to the line. The Kiwi, who started the day in sixth place, had already taken an intermediate sprint earlier in the race as he looked to leapfrog Cadel Evans, Robbie McEwen and Luke Roberts in the general classification, but needed to finish first or second to secure a podium spot.
The Sky train had worked well as rider after rider did their turn before swinging off. But in the final, gently rising sprint, Sutton opened his sprint up late, by which time Henderson had made a split second decision and changed his plans. Sutton’s sprint carried him through to the line as Henderson closed in for second place.
“Yeah, it’s fantastic. A little bit unexpected, but you’ve got to be happy with that,” Henderson said after the race. “I just wasn’t too sure what Sutton was doing there at the finish, he sort of waited and waited and I got swamped to about fifth wheel and I thought, ‘Christ, he hasn’t gone!’.”
“So I moved out in to the wind to go and Brown came straight in and took [Sutton’s] wheel, and then he accelerated, so I missed the lead out. I was just lucky that I had the speed to get back round three or four guys and accelerate up.”
Henderson had a short but nervous wait to see if he’d made the podium. Thankfully his three second bonus from the first intermediate sprint along with the six second bonus for second meant he’d made it back up to third spot, taking Sky’s first podium finish in their first stage race.
“I’m so happy for him to win, and for me. I’m just happy for the team. Again we demonstrated, once we took and took control no one could challenge us, and for a brand new team it’s a tremendous outcome.”
André Greipel the German giant wins his second Tour Down Under
Tour Down Under stage 6: Adelaide, 90km
1. Chris Sutton (Aus) Team Sky 1-53.20 hrs
2. Greg Henderson (NZl) Team Sky
3. Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
4. Robbie McEwen (Aus) Katusha
5. André Greipel (Ger) HTC Columbia
6. Allan Davis (Aus) Astana
7. Matthew Goss (Aus) HTC Columbia
8. Yauheni Hutarovich (BLR) Française des Jeux
9. Gert Steegmans (Bel) RadioShack
10. Jose Rojas (Esp) Caisse d’Epargne all at same time
1. André Greipel (Ger) HTC Columbia 18-47.05 hrs
2. Luis Leon Sanchez (Esp) Caisse d’Epargne at 11 secs
3. Greg Henderson (NZl) Team Sky at 15 secs
4. Robbie McEwen (Aus) Katusha at 17
5. Luke Roberts (Aus) Milram at same time
6. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 21 secs
7. Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha at 25 secs
8. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma Lotto at 26 secs
9. Robbie Hunter (RSA) Garmin Transitions at same time
10. Markus Fothen (Ger) Milram at 27 seconds
Tour Down Under 2010: Race reports
Tour Down Under, stage five: Sanchez wins stage five as Greipel clings on
Tour Down Under, stage four: Greipel takes his hat-trick
Tour Down Under, stage three: Cardoso takes win ahead of Valverde
Tour Down Under, stage two: Greipel takes win number two
Tour Down Under, stage one: Greipel takes back sprint crown
Cancer Council Helpline Classic: Team Sky off to perfect start as Henderson wins
Tour Down Under 2010: Related links
Armstrong surprises field with late attack on TDU stage four
Tour Down Under 2010: Photo galleries