Davis takes over Tour lead with Stirling win

Queensland’s Allan Davis (Quickstep) has taken over the lead in the 2009 Tour Down Under after winning the 145km second stage from Hahndorf through the Adelaide Hills to Stirling. Davis is riding in his eleventh Tour Down Under the only rider to have contested the event every year since its inception.

“It’s very special,” said Davis. “You know we came here with an objective of winning a stage and we’ve done that on the second stage so we’re very happy as a team.

“You know the jersey is a bonus on top of that and it’s the first time for me in eleven years to have the jersey so it’s very special,” said Davis. “I’d just like to thank my team Quickstep because they’ve put a lot of respect and trust in me and it’s good to give them something back with a win.”

“The final three laps were tough but a finish like that suits me a little better compared to the other bigger sprinters, so it’s ‘get one up on them’ for a change,” said Davis. “I had a quick look around about 250 to go, and there was a gap.
“The whole race I was thinking, ‘leave it to the last 100m, leave it to the last 100m’ … and then I looked around 250 to go and there was a big lap … out the window now, I’ve got to go,” Davis explained. “So I put the head down and looked up at the line, and hopefully, there was no one else there.”

Davis crossed the line in a time of 3hr46min25sec to hold off Sydney’s Graeme Brown (Rabobank) with Switzerland’s Martin Elmiger (AG2R – Mondiale) the 2007 Tour Down Under Champion, claiming third place, two seconds behind Davis.

Davis took over the race lead from last year’s Tour winner, Andre Greipel (Columbia – High Road), who now sits in second place overall at three seconds with Brown sitting third, four seconds off the leading time of Davis.
Greipel was very happy with the teams performance but disappointed to be out of the ochre leader’s jersey.
“We tried to lead out the sprint, there were two in front of me, one rider lost the wheel and I had a little gap,” said Greipel. “I tried to close the gap, I hoped to get the same time as Allan but I think not.

The stage began much the same as yesterday, albeit with cooler temperatures for the early kilometres before the mercury rose over the 30 degrees mark. Three riders, Australian Aaron Kemps (UniSA – Australia), Frenchman Guillaume Blot (Cofidis) and Spaniard Markel Irizar formed the early break and received rousing support from the estimated 90,000 fans who set themselves up in viewing points from start to finish and most places in between.
At the first SA Lotteries sprint prime of the day in Charleston (16.7km) Kemps claimed the points ahead of his breakaway companions Blot and Irizar. At the only Skoda King of the Mountain contested today on Fox Creek Road at 34.5km Irizar took the points to protect the lead of his team mate Andoni Lafuente in the climber’s classification with Blot again second and Kemps third over the summit.

At the second SA Lotteries Sprint at Balhannah (54.8km) Kemps again grabbed the points from Blot and Irizar.
New Zealand’s Julian Dean (Garmin – Slipstream) decided to try his luck and bridged the gap to the leaders but even with him on board the chances were slim of the lead group staying clear to the finish.

Meantime Bernard Eisel (Columbia – High Road) was a constant presence on the front doing the work for his team leader Andre Greipel to keep the time gap within reason.

On the second of four laps through Stirling the race came back together before the attacks began including one from local boy Jack Bobridge. Seven time Tour de France champion, Lance Armstrong headed to the front of the bunch to test his legs and several others tried and failed to ride clear.

At the end of the stage Allan Davis (Quickstep) wears the Tour Down Under leader’s ochre jersey, Andoni Lafuente (Euskaltel Euskadi) leads the Skoda King of the Mountain classification, the leader of the SA Lotteries Sprint classification is Belgian Olivier Kaisen (Silence-Lotto). Spaniard Jose Rojas (Caisse d’Epargne). The leader of the the Quit Smoking Teams Classification is Rabobank and Aaron Kemps was today named the Hindmarsh Most Aggressive Driver.

Tomorrow the race heads from the Adelaide suburb of Unley out along the Fleurieu Peninsula to Victor Harbor a distance of 136km

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