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“It’s definitely a step in the right direction, looking back on 2014 I had such a fantastic year and then in 2015 nothing seemed to go right. We are back on the right track for 2016 already."

Photo: Sirotti

ADAM BLYTHE

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ALESSANDRO DE MARCHI

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ALEXEI TSATEVICH

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DAVID DE LA CRUZ

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DAVIDE MARTINELLI

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DECEUNINCK - QUICK-STEP

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DIEGO ULISSI

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DIMENSION DATA

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EF EDUCATION FIRST

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ENRICO BATTAGLIN

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GIACOMO NIZZOLO

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IAM CYCLING

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JARLINSON PANTANO

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JAY MCCARTHY

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JUAN JOSE LOBATO

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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KOEN DE KORT

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LAURENS DE VREESE

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LIEUWE WESTRA

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MAARTEN TJALLINGII

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MARK RENSHAW

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MICHAEL WOODS

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MITCHELTON-SCOTT

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MOVISTAR TEAM

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RICHIE PORTE

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ROHAN DENNIS

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RUBEN FERNANDEZ

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SERGIO LUIS HENAO

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SIMON CLARKE

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SIMON GERRANS

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TEAM JUMBO-VISMA

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TEAM SKY

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TEAM SUNWEB

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TOBIAS LUDVIGSSON

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TOUR DOWN UNDER

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TREK - SEGAFREDO

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UAE TEAM EMIRATES

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WOUTER WIPPERT

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24.01.2016 @ 15:00 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Caleb Ewan continued the dream race for Orica-GreenEDGE on home soil at the Tour Down Under when he took the fourth stage win for the home team in the final stage. In his usual dominant fashion, he crushed the opposition in the bunch sprint at the short criterium in Adelaide, holding off Mark Renshaw (Dimension Data) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) while Simon Gerrans rolled across the line in 11th to claim the overall victory for a record fourth time. Richie Porte (BMC) and Sergio Henao (Sky) completed the podium.

 

We have gathered several reactions.

 

Gerrans: It’s a step in the right direction

ORICA-GreenEDGE has concluded the 2016 Santos Tour Down Under in spectacular style, taking out the final stage and overall title in Adelaide today.

 

21-year-old sprinter Caleb Ewan delivered for the third time this week by winning the final stage ahead of Mark Renshaw (Team Dimension Data) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo).

 

Meanwhile, 35-year-old former Australian champion Simon Gerrans safely defended his overall lead to become the first rider in history to win four Santos Tour Down Under titles.

 

“I think every one of my four victories has been equally important and to be totally honest, this one feels just as good as the first one did,” Gerrans said. “I think it was far from inevitable that I was going to win today, as you guys saw, it was a fast race out there. It was far from a procession so I had to keep my wits about me, I was fully concentrated for those 90km, its certainly feels good now that it’s over and done with and I secured the win.

“It’s a race of such a high caliber these days and it feels like the level of racing increases every year. This fourth one, even though I think it was my largest winning margin, it was still less than ten seconds so it’s a closely fought race.”

 

Gerrans congratulated his teammates in Ewan, Michael Hepburn, Luke Durbridge, Michael Albasini, Mathew Hayman and Daryl Impey for their extensive work throughout the week in order to deliver team success.

 

“Everyone really had to step up to the plate this week with two objectives in the race going for the stage wins in the sprints with Caleb and the overall with myself,” Gerrans said. “Often you see teams that want too much and come away with nothing so it was a bit of a risk but everyone did exactly what was asked of them, and then some.

 

“We saw some fantastic riding by Heppy (Hepburn) and Durbo (Durbridge) on the front, Albasini as well. Mat Hayman was protecting us really well in the bunch and Daryl Impey was doing some sensational lead outs both on the hillier stages and on the flat stages.

 

“Everybody really lifted their game this week and it’s really nice to be able pay the guys work back with such a successful week.

 

“It's certainly a dream result and we couldn't have asked for more. We are so lucky to have this race here in Australia. It's fantastic to race the Santos Tour Down Under with Orica-Greenedge, an Aussie team winning a WorldTour race in Australia, it's just awesome.

“The boys did a sensational job today, they kept me at the front, out of trouble and delivered Caleb (Ewan) as close to the line as possible. What a fantastic week it's been for us.

 

“It’s definitely a step in the right direction, looking back on 2014 I had such a fantastic year and then in 2015 nothing seemed to go right. We are back on the right track for 2016 already and I really couldn’t have asked for a much better way to kick off the 2016 season.”

 

Gerrans has his eyes on selection for the Olympics.

 

“I hope so, first I have to get selected which is going to be no mean feat with so many talented Australian riders these days that the selection is going to be very tough to make and its tough course there in Rio from all the research I’ve done," he said.

 

"Hopefully I’ll get the chance to go and have a look myself at some point throughout the year but the Olympic games are definitely on the radar so firstly I have to make selection and once we’re there we’ll have a formidable Australian team to make an impact on the race.”

 

ORICA-GreenEDGE leaves the Santos Tour Down Under with the overall title (Gerrans), sprint classification (Gerrans), four out of six stage victories (Ewan – stages 1 and 6, Gerrans – stages 3 and 4) and the People’s Choice Classic (Ewan).

 

Sport director Matt White said the team’s performance at their only home WorldTour race was an overwhelming success.

 

“We had difficult circumstances this week with a crash but we turned it around and the week was an incredible team effort finished off with some leaders in very good shape,” White said.

 

“Caleb clearly showed he was the fastest guy here and it’s an exciting sign for things to come this season. And it was no surprise that Simon won but after last season it would have been such a relief for him after all of the hard work that he has done.

 

“We were definitely the most complete, motivated and strongest team and we wanted it more than any other team and that’s the difference.

 

“It's been a huge week for our team, to win the overall and book-end with Caleb, this was confirmation for Caleb, he clearly was the fastest rider here all week. And for Gerro (Gerrans) to come back, everyone saw how hard he worked. This will set the tone for rest of the year.”

 

Ewan: I was winning pretty convincingly

With the race back together in the final two laps, teams started to position their lead out trains. It didn’t go completely to plan for ORICA-GreenEDGE but Ewan showed his class and strength to ride away with the victory.

 

"I got a little bit swamped on the last lap coming through the finish with the bell then coming back down the hill past the finish line on the way back I had to dive-bomb into that last corner which was a bit sketchy. I locked up a few times but I got up to the place I wanted to be and once I was there I was fine. A few of my teammates came back up to help and did a great job to put me on the wheel I needed to be on and from then on I was feeling alright," Ewan explained.

 

"I was actually hoping to win four stages, I was hoping to get over victor Harbor but obviously that stage turned out to be a lot harder than expected. I was a bit disappointed I couldn’t get over the hill but that was nothing I could really do, they went super hard up there and obviously a race that Simon wins in the end is probably a bit too hard for me anyway. Luckily he won that and saved me from the disappointment."

“Obviously it gives me a lot of confidence going into the season. There’s not the best four or five sprinters in the world here but I felt like I was winning pretty convincingly. I’m another year stronger and I think I can get closer to those best guys now as well.

 

"It would be nice if they are all here, I think the way the race is going, it’s a bit too hard. We saw only really two sprint stages so at the moment it’s not really worthwhile for some of the bigger sprinters to come out here and I think maybe next year and in years to come we should probably have a few more sprint stages. Even the sprint stages here, Victor Harbor should have been a sprint but they put a hill right near the end.”

ORICA-GreenEDGE will next race in Geelong for the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in one week’s time.

 

Richie Porte: I even felt better than I did last year

Richie Porte has finished second at the 2016 Santos Tour Down Under, delivering the first podium place for BMC Racing Team at a UCI WorldTour event for the season.

 

Porte finished nine seconds behind race winner Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE), which marks his second consecutive year on the podium.

 

“I didn’t really expect to be second, that’s the honest truth. I lost eight seconds in a bit of a silly move on the stage into Victor Harbor but it didn’t really matter in the end. I don’t think Simon was beatable, he was incredible here. To come here and be second, and second in the time trial at nationals, I can say that it’s been quite a good summer.”

 

For Porte, taking his third straight win on Willunga Hill yesterday was the highlight of the week’s racing.

 

“I actually felt better up there this year than I did in past years. I was really happy with how I went. Sergio (Henao) is a fantastic climber and I think Team Sky brought him here to win the race. So to ride him off my wheel like that is a great sign.

 

“The real racing starts in March with Paris-Nice and Volta Ciclista a Catalunya for me so it’s nice to not have done that much training and still come away with a really good result.”

 

BMC Racing Team Sports Director Allan Peiper said the team has started the season well.

 

“I think we can be very, very pleased with the race. We threw everything at Orica-GreenEDGE and to have Richie finish second at nine seconds is nothing to be ashamed of and I think it’s a great result for the whole team.”

 

Defending champion Rohan Dennis took home the Tanya Denver award for the best-placed South Australian rider. Dennis said the whole team was brilliant this week.

 

“We’ve got a great team here. Floris Gerts was a big stand out being in his first WorldTour race. He read the race well, he knew where to be, he knew what he had to do. So that’s great to have someone at such a young age and so inexperienced to be able to read the race and not have to be directed.

 

“It didn’t end the way I wanted it to. Obviously I planned to try and win this race again, going back to back, but having Richie come out and win in Willunga yesterday was a great result for the team.”

 

It was not just the first Santos Tour Down Under for Gerts, but also for Alessandro De Marchi.

 

“It was a good week. I think we did almost everything that we planned and the team has done a good job to have walked away with Richie’s win on Willunga Hill. Yesterday’s win on Willunga was fantastic not only for the team, but also for me. I helped Richie and Rohan a lot on the climb and I think it is a good example of what we can do this season,” De Marchi said.

 

BMC Racing Team will next line up at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on January 31.

 

Renshaw: I don’t have the speed to beat Ewan

Just as the Santos Tour Down Under started with a stage 1 Caleb Ewan (GreenEDGE) sprint victory and Mark Renshaw in 2nd, so it would conclude on today's final stage. Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) was the rider 3rd on the line. 

 

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka would come to the front with around 10km to go, Jaco Venter, Nathan Haas and Cameron Meyer all doing a fine job in positioning the 3 fast men for the finale. Songezo Jim also contributed valiantly today by keeping the boys hydrated.

As the break was caught just inside of 2 laps to go, the African Team hit the front. Driving at a good pace, Reinardt van Rensburg and then Tyler Farrar were able to drop Renshaw off in prime position as the sprint was about to unfold. Sitting on the wheel of Ewan, he followed the kick of the young Aussie in the final 200m as they both rounded 4-5 riders to take the top 2 spots on the day.

 

Simon Gerrans won the Santos Tour Down Under overall with Meyer being the highest placed rider for the team in 12th position.

 

”It was a good race with it being a little bit faster than last year’s criterium,” Renshaw said. “GreenEDGE had the race winner and obviously the fastest guy in the peloton so it was also going to be Caleb who was favourite today.

 

“The team rode well. I asked them in the meeting to put their face in the wind, present the jersey in front and try to keep me out of trouble during the last 2-3 laps and they tried hard.

 

“In the final 2km I had the perfect wheel, I was in the wheel of Caleb Ewan. Unfortunately, I don't have the speed to match him but it's pretty positive signs for the Tour of Dubai and Tour of Qatar coming up in the next few weeks with Cavendish.”

 

Henao: I want to win this race next year

Sergio Henao wrapped up third place overall at the Tour Down Under after finishing the final stage safely in Adelaide.

 

The Colombian held his own on a rapid final lap as Team Sky set a blistering pace to set up Ben Swift. Pete Kennaugh, Ian Stannard, Geraint Thomas and Luke Rowe combined to form a strong lead-out in the closing kilometres.

 

Swift crossed the line sixth after Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge) launched his sprint at the perfect time, taking his second stage win of the race.

 

Simon Gerrans made it a good day for Orica-GreenEdge as he secured overall victory after a hard week of racing, nine seconds ahead of Richie Porte (BMC Racing) and 11 up on Henao.

 

Henao's result ensured Team Sky maintained their impressive record of consistency in the WorldTour opener, with a result of fourth or better every year since 2010.

 

Having already wrapped up the King of the Mountains jersey the Colombian climber just had to finish to pull on the garment on the final podium, winning the competition by 10 points.

 

"It's been a good week for me and a good week for the team," said Henao after climbing off the podium.

 

"It's a very important race and I'm very happy to get a podium. I felt strong yesterday on Willunga but Richie was even stronger. All you can do when someone beats you like that is to congratulate them. 

 

"It's my first time at the Tour Down Under and I've really enjoyed the race. I hope to be able to come back here next year and win."

 

Nizzolo regrets mistakes after perfect lead-out from Van Poppel

The Santos Tour Down Under sixth and final stage ended in the heart of Adelaide, 20 laps of a 4.5-kilometer circuit; it was short and speedy and provided little chance for antagonists to shake out a surprise ending. The sprinters knew it was their day: one last, fast dash of glory to wrap up the six-day race. 

 

But bettering young sensation Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge) would mean everything aligning perfectly in the sprint, and then a dollop of good luck wouldn't hurt. The compact Australian sprinter has shown unbeatable form, but this is cycling – nothing is guaranteed. 

 

Trek-Segafredo used Peter Stetina and Julian Arredondo for the early work and the pair helped pull the peloton in the mid-section of the race to keep a two-man breakaway within a manageable distance. 

 

At three laps to go, everything was back to one large group, and the sprint teams began a ferocious battle for front-line supremacy. 

 

However, no team could rule for long and under the one kilometer to go banner it was uncontrolled chaos: the time when Boy Van Poppel shines. Somehow, he muscled his way to the front in the final 750 meters, Nizzolo tucked on his wheel. A textbook lead-out. Everything was aligning. Until Ewan spoiled the party.

 

The young Australian accelerated from behind in a burst of speed that left everyone gasping in his wake.  

 

"Boy made a perfect lead-out at the end," said Nizzolo. "I just waited too long in the sprint, and I used the wrong gear for the uphill finish. There's nothing more to say."  

 

Ewan won again by a few bike lengths while Nizzolo was nipped at the line by Mark Renshaw (Dimension Data) and settled for third.

 

It was a tough week battling on-form Australians and unbearable heat.

 

Trek-Segafredo had its sight set on better results, explained director Adriano Baffi, and although they fell short of their goals there were still positives to take away from the six-day race:

 

"We knew that to compete with the Australian riders would be difficult. Our main target was the GC, but that ended with the crash of Julian in stage three. In the sprints, Giacomo confirmed his level is good; of course, he is not in top shape yet because his bigger goals are coming later, and really, Caleb was just too strong. 

 

"We need to accept that we didn't reach our goals here, but we were very close. We had four new riders in our lineup out of the seven, and we are still learning to race with each other - it was not easy at times - and I can say that after this week, for what I saw how we raced as a group, I am happy."

 

With the Santos Tour Down Under completed, the season has started. Onward and upward.

 

McCarthy: This has given me confidence for the future

Tinkoff's young Australian rider Jay McCarthy wrapped up Tour Down Under in fourth place overall and pulled on the green jersey after having scored his first ever stage victory in a WorldTour race.

 

Favorable weather conditions and a huge crowd were the ideal setting for the closing stage of the 2016 Tour Down Under. A 4.5 km long circuit set along the streets of Adelaide was covered 20 times for a total of 90 kilometres.

 

The group remained compact throughout the race and the short breakaways didn't have any major impact, except for the two intermediate sprints. In the final lap, the teams took the plunge and began an impressive high pressure head-to-head fight ahead of the final sprint.


"From this first race of the year", commented sports director Lars Michaelsen, "I think there are positive notes that can be drawn for Tinkoff, as well as the spirit the team showed these days. We leave this Tour Down Under with a stage victory, a fourth place in the overall standings and a victory in the young riders classification with Jay McCarthy, and none of this would have been possible without the proper dedication that each single team member showed, from the riders to the whole staff. It's always nice to start a season this way."

 

"Obviously, I'm very pleased with the outcome at Tour Down Under", says Jay McCarthy, "the guys were awesome all week. I finished just off the podium in the overall classification but I can be satisfied with my performance and I have to thank the team for this opportunity and the support they gave me.

 

“I'm definitely very happy with how it's gone this week. To finish fourth brings me the confidence I needed and I hope to deliver some more good results, I want to deliver more for the team. 

“I love the crowd and the atmosphere here. I had a lot of my family (from Queensland) here to watch me. Every time I've done the Tour Down Under, they've come to Adelaide as well. To be up on the podium for them and my team has been super exciting.”

 

"We raced a very good Tour Down Under", says sports director Sean Yates, "only in yesterday's stage to Willunga Hill we didn't have any rider in the top 5, so, from a team point of view, we had quite a good performance with a young and always motivated team, especially after the victory at Stirling, which raised everyone's spirits. The guys proved to be strong also as a team, and when you have all this you can do many good things, which is what they did this week."


"Today our plan was to try and win the intermediate sprints with Jay, but after all this week's efforts, especially yesterday, he didn't succeed. Whereas for the final sprint Adam Blythe had to do everything by himself starting from behind and catching up to take fourth place. So once again, the whole team did a good job and as far as Jay McCarthy is concerned I think that after this performance, he will perform at another level in the rest of the year", concluded Yates.

 

Racing for Tinkoff concludes in Argentina on Sunday as well and then the season heads over to the UAE for the Dubai Tour, taking place from the 3rd to the 6th of February.

 

Cannondale back on track with teams GC win and fifth overall in Australia

Cannondale Pro Cycling, who finished with two riders in the top ten, goes home with the Wilson Parking Winning Team trophy which they won by a narrow nine second margin over Movistar.  Etixx Quickstep was third ranked at 1min 12sec.

 

“Winning the teams classification here is a really good start for Cannondale,” said Simon Clarke who joined the team this year. ”We are on a mission this year to take the team to another level and unity is the key to getting results.”

“This classification shows our unity,” he said. “The focus this week was to ride together… and to get to the podium with the whole team.”

 

The team failed to defend Wouter Wippert’s win in the final sprint stage.

 

”First race of 2016 is done.Some good results with @Ride_Argyle and personal some hard work to do for the next challenge,” the Dutch sprinter tweeted.

 

Katusha disappointed with Tour Down Under outcome

Displaying good form and smart racing all week, Team KATUSHA’s Alexey Tsatevich put up a good fight at the finish line in Adelaide on Sunday, taking a fifth place in the last stage and scoring first WorldTour point. It was another good effort from Tsatevich who has consistently put himself in strong positions for the sprint stages of the Santos Tour Down Under and has just missed a little bit to reach the podium.

 

Team KATUSHA riders Egor Silin and Tiago Machado ended up 17th and 18th on the overall.

 

”Indeed, we expected more from Tour Down Under, because we brought a good roster here in Adelaide. But we missed some speed and power in such an early race of the season. In general, I am happy with the guys, in the week before the race and during the race itself I saw a serious improvement of the form and a strong motivation. We were in front, we fought in every stage and we were able to get the first results like today with Alexey Tsatevich. We are looking forward to the upcoming race here in Australia and to the next races of the season,” said sports director Dmitry Konyshev.

 

The riders and staff for Team KATUSHA will remain in Australia to take part January 31 in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.

 

Fernandez scores first WorldTour points for Movistar

The Movistar Team bid farewell to the first round of the 2016 UCI WorldTour after taking their first points for the international ranking, based on a good performance from many of its members. Despite missing out on a stage win like Juanjo Lobato's in 2015 - the Andalusian was seventh this time in Stirling, the place where he won twelve months ago - the squad directed by José Luis Arrieta put Rubén Fernández into 6th overall - including top-ten finishes in both Thursday's tricky finish of Campbelltown and yesterday's Old Willunga hilltop arrival - Jesús Herrada in 13th and the whole squad in 2nd in the teams' overall, just 9" behind winners Cannondale Pro Cycling.

 

Rojas' efforts in the sprints - he was 21st today, with Lobato in 15th - team duties from Sutherland and up-and-coming Sütterlin and a good debut from Nelson Oliveira, spending most of stage five in the breakaway, rounded off the Blues' performance, the group now ready to travel back to Spain for Wednesday's team launch in Madrid.

 

“Ends this @tourdownunder without the same sensations as last year. Next destination DUBAI to see where we are,” Lobato tweeted after the stage.

 

Lampre-Merida impressed by Kump in Australia

Marko Kump continued his solid sprinting in his first race for Lampre-Merida by taking seventh in the final stage.

 

"Today we were not able to prepare the sprint as we wanted,” sports director Philippe Mauduit said. “We have several young boys who are eager to work but haven’t worked much together on how to set up the sprints. Marko was still in good position in fifth in the last 500 meters. Despite having spent a lot of kilometers in the wind, he managed to get a good result in the top 10.

 

“We return from Australia with the regret of a missed victory for Ulissi but with the knowledge that Diego is on the right track with his preparation. I also enjoyed Kump who was brave and determined in the sprints. I am sure that he will give us a lot of satisfaction in 2016.”

 

Martinelli confirms sprinting potential, De La Cruz pleased with form

Carlos Verona went twice into the attack on stage six, while Davide Martinelli clinched his first top 10 at World Tour level.

 

After six stages and almost 800 kilometers, the Tour Down Under draw the curtain on the 18th edition, but not before Etixx – Quick-Step went once again to the attack, as the members of the team promised to do at the end of the Willunga Hill stage. Right from the gun, Carlos Verona accelerated and went clear, together with four other riders: Laurens De Vreese (Astana), Lieuwe Westra (Astana), George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Adam Phelan (Drapac). That group managed to stay in the lead for a couple of laps, before being reabsorbed by the bunch, but that didn't stop 23-year-old Verona – who is now in his fourth World Tour season – to jump one more and light up the stage.

 

The Spanish rider had 10 seconds in hand, but with the sprinters' teams on home turf in the Adelaide criterium, he was caught shortly after, opening the way for other attacks, from Maarten Tjallingii (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal). As the race was heading towards the final laps, the gap of the men at the front decreased, with Dimension Data and Trek-Segafredo riding at a furious pace of 46 km/h, which spelled the end of the adventure for the Dutch-Belgian duo.

 

Besides having Carlos Verona in the break throughout the day, Etixx – Quick-Step also helped young neo-pro Davide Martinelli finish in the top 10, a nice result to conclude his first World Tour event:

 

"Today, I think the whole team had a good race and supported me very well. It was one of our strongest stages in the Tour Down Under. In the last lap, I was riding with Guillaume Van Keirsbulck and we were both in a good position going onto the last small climb. I started early in the sprint, in around 15th position, so coming 8th in the sprint was a good result."

 

”For me personally, the race has been a great experience and I'm really content with the results I produced for the team here.”

 

In the general classification, the best placed rider of the team was David De La Cruz, who gained a position on this final stage and came home 21st, just 1:18 behind the winner. Looking behind on the whole time spent in Oz, De La Cruz declared himself satisfied, as he sees this whole experience as a starting point for what can be a solid season:

 

"The race was difficult, even more so than last year. Everyone says that this race becomes harder and faster each year. During stage 3 on the Corkscrew climb, I didn't have the best day and couldn't find my best climbing legs, and then on Willunga Hill on stage 5, I did my best and can only be satisfied with coming 18th on a very hard stage. So I'm finishing the race with the feeling that I did all I could for the team.

 

”I also like to focus on the positives: I trained hard before the race, and my form has really improved a lot as a result. I think that our season in Europe will be more successful thanks to us having completed this race so early in the season and also having trained hard before the event."

 

Failed Tour Down Under for IAM Cycling

“Our stated objectives have clearly not been achieved,” IAM directeur sportif Kjell Carlström admitted.  “We were aiming for a stage win and a top-3 overall, and we didn’t meet those goals at any level.  Jarlinson Pantano had a jour sans on the third stage which meant that he lost about 1’40” and any hope of a place on the podium.  But we must not make the picture out to be totally black for us at this Tour Down Under.  In Australia, we did see a group of teammates and strong men work well together on a collective level.”

 

Disappointed with the overall performance of IAM Cycling over the Australian roads, the team manager Rik Verbrugghe wanted to clarify the situation regarding the physical condition of his riders. 

 

“It is not an easy thing to race so far from Europe so early in the season.  Everyone may not be 100% yet.  For the teams it would be more ideal to have a big training camp in late January.  All the teams face this situation.  The European riders who win great results at theTour Down Under must time their peak very early, which necessarily shortens the winter break.  In Australia, it is already the full season. 

 

”On our side, Matteo Pelucchi struggled with the jet lag and the climate.  Meanwhile Jarlinson Pantano managed to prove that he is in good condition even if it took him some stages to find his best form.  A good performance for this type of race is played out in the small details which have a great importance.”

 

Astana: It was a positive Tour Down Under

"It has been a positive Tour Down Under for the Astana Pro Team,” said sports director Stefano Zanini.

 

"We did not achieve the victory, but we came close more than once,” continued the Italian DS. “We were present almost in every escape of this week, even today in the Adelaide final circuit, with Laurens De Vreese and Lieuwe Westra very active.”

 

"The thing that pleases me most is to see that the condition of our guys is already good and it has improved day by day. This is really positive for the coming races,” concluded Zanini.

 

Laurens De Vreese and the Dutch Lieuwe Westra were both on the attack twice in the final stage.

 

No luck for Giant Alpecin in Australia

Team Giant-Alpecin closed down the 18th Tour Down Under with 17th and 18th places for Koen De Korte and Georg Preidler.

 

Koen de Kort was the first for Team Giant-Alpecin to cross the line, in 17th place. Team Giant-Alpecin’s highest ranked rider in the final overall is Tobias Ludvigsson at 25th, shortly followed by Georg Preidler in 29th.

 

Tjallingii: I was hoping for a solo win

Team LottoNL-Jumbo finished the Tour Down Under with an aggressive racing style. George Bennett and Maarten Tjallingii tried to escape during the closing stage in Adelaide, but they were unable to stop the bunch from racing to a sprint. Caleb Ewan (Orica GreenEDGE) won the stage and his team-mate Simon Gerrans sealed the overall victory.

 

The final stage of the Tour Down Under was a fast criterium in downtown Adelaide. The riders raced 20 laps of 4.5 kilometres.

 

“The pace was high immediately in the beginning of the stage and a breakaway of five riders moved free with George Bennett,” sports director Frans Maassen said after the race. “They were caught quickly. Afterwards, Maarten Tjallingii escaped together with Thomas De Gendt [Lotto-Soudal]. That breakaway stayed in front of the peloton for a while. In the last phase of the race, Maarten tried it another time, with Lieuwe Westra [Astana Pro Team].

 

“Maarten was crowned as the most aggressive rider because of that. With two laps to go, everything came back together. The stage ended in a bunch sprint. Enrico Battaglin wasn’t able to stay in Bert-Jan Lindemans’s slipstream and didn’t grab a result.”

 

“You never know what is going to happen at the end so you can only try to anticipate a bunch sprint,” Tjallingii said. “I had in mind that the bunch could break up in the last lap and let me alone away for the stage victory and I wanted to see if there was any possibility to win. 

“It's been a great week of racing. It's great to begin the season here with a lot of spectators around, South Australians are very supportive of the cyclists.”

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