It was inevitable really. After taking the Down Under Classic and three stages of the Tour Down Under, Team High Road?s powerful German sprinter André Greipel won the final 88-kilometre criterium to wrap up the overall classification.
Greipel didn?t have it all his own way. He lost the first intermediate sprint to Allan Davis, allowing the Australian to close the gap overall.
However he took the second to restore his advantage.
With around 25 kilometres remaining five riders got away. Koen De Kort (Astana), Nicolas Portal and Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d?Epargne), Wim Vansevenant (Silence-Lotto) and Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre) opened a 15-second gap.
But when High Road decided enough was enough they got to the front and started to reel it in.
Greipel was again the fastest, his nearest challenger another German, Jan Robert Forster. Davis? challenge faded as he could finish only eighth.
It?s been an impressive week for the German ? five wins plus the overall classification in seven days of racing. He now leads the ProTour ? for what it?s worth ? until the next event, April?s Tour of Flanders.
1. André Greipel (Ger) Team High Road 1-15-13
2. Jan Robert Forster (Ger) Gerolsteiner
3. Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
4. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d?Epargne
5. Robbie McEwen (Aus) Silence-Lotto
6. Aurelien Clerc (Swi) Bouygues Telecom
7. Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Lampre
8. Allan Davis (Aus) Unisa-Australia
9. Murilo Fischer (Bra) Liquigas
10. Davide Vigano (Ita) Quick Step
65. Jeremy Hunt (GB) Crédit Agricole all same time
1. André Greipel (Ger) Team High Road 18-46-03
2. Allan Davis (Aus) Unisa-Australia at 15sec
3. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d?Epargne at 48sec
4. Mickael Delage (Fra) Française des Jeux at 52sec
5. Mickael Buffaz (Fra) Cofidis same time
6. Jose Alberto Benitez Roman (Spa) Saunier Duval at 39sec
7. Kjell Carlstrom (Fin) Liquigas same time
8. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne at 41sec
9. Richie Porte (Aus) Unisa-Australia same time
10. Stuart O'Grady (Aus) CSC at 42sec
63. Jeremy Hunt (GB) Crédit Agricole at 3-10
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Sports journalist Lionel Birnie has written professionally for Sunday Times, Procycling and of course Cycling Weekly. He is also an author, publisher, and co-founder of The Cycling Podcast. His first experience covering the Tour de France came in 1999, and he has presented The Cycling Podcast with Richard Moore and Daniel Friebe since 2013. He founded Peloton Publishing in 2010 and has ghostwritten and published the autobiography of Sean Kelly, as well as a number of other sports icons.
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