Source: TDU Website

Andre Greipel (Team High Road) today paid homage to the heritage of Hahndorf, first settled by Germans in 1839, by giving the fans a German winner on Stage 2 of the 2008 Tour Down Under but it’s an Australian, Graeme Brown, who wears the race leader’s ochre jersey after a countback to separate three riders deadlocked on time.

Greipel, who won the Down Under Classic curtain raiser event at Glenelg on Sunday, unleashed a furious sprint kick to win the 148km stage from Stirling in a time of 3hr46min55sec holding off Australians Graeme Brown (Rabobank) and Allan Davis (Australia-UniSA) who finished second and third respectively.

“I feel like I am in Germany here and before the race I thought it would be nice to win here because it is a German city,” said Greipel. “I think the people from Hahndorf are also proud of me.”

Greipel admits his win was partly due to the choices Renshaw made in the final sprint.

“He was on the right and I couldn’t get past him, but then he went to the left and I was able to pass him,” said Greipel. “My teammates did a really good job and it meant I didn’t have to chase down any breaks.

“I’m proud of it (the win) and I’m proud of the team,” said Greipel who was overjoyed with his first victory in a UCI ProTour event. “We began training from November 1 so we could be good at the Tour Down Under and win races.”

The tightly fought finish forced race officials to a countback situation to decide who would be presented with the Tour Down Under ochre leader’s jersey because Greipel, Renshaw and Brown all ended the day on the same race time at the top of the classification. However after adding together their placings in the two stages so far the lowest aggregate was that of Brown who placed third yesterday and second today for a total of five. Renshaw was first on Stage 1 and seventh today (8) while Greipel was eighth on Stage 1 and first today (9).

“I am pretty happy,” said Brown. “Leading a ProTour event is a pretty big thing and I would have preferred to win (the stage) but this is not a bad consolation.

“I was coming quickly at the end but I was just a bit late but they say the (leader’s) jersey gives you a few more percent so hopefully its good enough for tomorrow,” said Brown. “I am sure that we will see a lot of orange (the colour of his Rabobank team uniform) riding on the front tomorrow, like a team should when they have the leader’s jersey.

The riders set off this morning from the hamlet of Stirling for the stage through the rolling Adelaide Hills and within minutes of the start French rider Yoann Offredo of the Francaise des Jeux team had attacked off the front. He pedalled solo to the first ‘SA Lotteries Sprint’ of the day at Echunga to claim the points and bonus seconds with two more frenchmen, Nicolas Crosbie (Bouygues Telecom) and Stephane Poulhies (AG2R-Mondiale) crossing 1min18sec later in pursuit. The main peloton was a further two minutes back.

Offredo waited for his compatriots to join him before the trio established a god tempo to increase their lead on the field to around four minutes by the time they contested the ‘South Australia – A Brilliant Blend’ king of the mountain climb on the next pass through Echunga at the 44.9km mark. Over the summit it was Poulhies followed by Offredo with Crosbie third. With points awarded to the first five over the climb the overnight ‘South Australia – A Brilliant Blend’ King of the Mountain leader Philippe Gilbert (BEL Francaise des Jeux) made sure to finish in the points crossing in fifth place behind Jean-Eudes Demaret (FRA Cofidis) to hold onto the climber’s lead.

The peloton was showing no sign of concern and the attacking trio still held a lead of more than four minutes by the time they contested the second ‘SA Lotteries Sprint’ at Balhannah, 64 kilometres into the stage. That sprint went to Crosbie ahead of Offredo and Poulhies.

But as the kilometres wound down the peloton wound up and began to chase in earnest. Around 20 kilometres from home they swept past their quarry but the sprinter’s teams then had to counter several attacks before brining the bunch under control.

Frenchman Pierre Rolland (Credit Agricole) launched a last ditch effort for glory but was swamped as the peloton’s top sprinters kicked into gear and powered home treating the thousands of fans crowded at the Handorf finish to a spectacular contest.

In the other jersey classifications, Mickhael Buffaz (FRA Cofidis) has retained the lead in the ‘SA Lotteries Sprint’ classification, Jose Rojas Gil (ESP Caisse d’Epargne) is leading the ‘Share the Road Best Young Rider’, Yoan Offredo was named the Hindmarsh Most Aggressive Rider of the day and Astana is leading the BarterCard teams classification.

An estimated 80 thousand fans turned out today to support the race. Tomorrow the riders will contest a 139km stage from Unley to Victor Harbor, a stage that has in the past seen the peloton split as they along the Fleurieu Peninsula from Goolwa buffetted by the winds blowing off Encounter Bay.

Advertisements



    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

    Connecting to %s



%d bloggers like this: