TDU’09 St.2: Allan Davis Quickest In Stirling!
The second stage of the Tour Down Under promised to be the first selective stage of the race. The undulating road from Hahndorf to Stirling coupled with a tough finishing circuit was supposed to cause the first culling of the favorites, but once again the sprinters surprised and a bunch kick was the order of the day.
The early break of the day was formed by Guillaume Blot (Cofidis), Markel Irizar (Euskaltel-Euskadi), and Aaron Kemps (UniSA). The escape built a lead of up to 6 minutes, later in the day they were joined by Julian Dean (Garmin-Slipstream) on the first of 3 finishing circuits.
The early break had a long, hot go of it…but once again: no luck.
With 2 laps of the finishing circuit remaining the race was back together; albeit briefly. Yesterday’s protagonist Jack Bobridge (UniSA) was again on the attack, this time joined by rider #11 of Astana, Lance Armstrong, however this move was short lived. A number of GC contenders including Armstrong and Rogers were attentive at the front as the attacks continued.
Lance Armstrong was in the mix today, but there was no denying the field sprint.
When the bunch came through Stirling for the bell lap Matthew Lloyd (Silence-Lotto) and Francesco Reda (Quick Step) were away with a slim advantage of under a minute.
Matty Lloyd and Francesco Reda made a solid effort on the final circuit, but: no luck for them either.
Frenchman David Moncoutie (Cofidis) caused a significant reaction in the peloton when he joined the leaders. Columbia and Quick Step joined forces to bring back the dangerous Moncoutie who was on a solo bid for victory. Quick Step’s Allan Davis decisively took out the tough uphill finish when he jumped with over 200m to go. The victory elevated Davis into the race leader’s Ochre jersey.
Andre Greipel lost his leader’s jersey to Allan Davis after Davis’ win in Stirling.
Today’s stage was not as selective as both the media and riders thought. There are still 70 riders under 23 seconds from the lead. Past winners Stuart O’Grady and Martin Elmiger are 8 seconds back not to mention last year’s victor, Andre Greipel at 3 seconds. The 10-second time bonus up for grabs for the stage winner may become vital to the races outcome.
The course was tough, but not quite as selective as had been hoped.
The day started early for some of the recently adopted members of the PEZ team. Claire, Meg and Chris met at 6:15 at the race hotel for the ‘Phil Liggett’ ride. When Phil had not arrived by 6:30, the crew split for their own ride, setting their sights on Mt Lofty, 700m above the city. From all accounts (I was still in bed) the descent back down Greenhills road was fantastic. Bocelli, just around the corner from our digs, was the venue for the second round of the coffee challenge, when I joined the group for breakfast. Though the cafe is popular with the local cyclists, it did not live up to expectations, my espresso was well presented but did not please the palate, 2.5 out of five.
I had made the executive decision to miss the start in Hahndorf and head directly to the day’s only KOM at Fox Creek Road. Sadly Meg had obligations in the city so the car was a little more comfortable with four people, Claire, Laura, Chris and myself. Our gutless hire car was again not up to the challenge of the terrain of the Adelaide Hills, however the passengers enjoyed their journey through wine country.
Never the less we made it to the KOM, scoring a prime parking spot behind the local constabulary. Taking on board yesterday’s experience we took some time to plan our escape before the race arrived. The goal was to follow the race back towards Hahndorf then cut across to Stirling to see the race pass through four times.
As we descended from the KOM, chaotic scenes greeted us as the race caravan was unexpectedly blocking the road.
Laura got all excited as the breakaway passed as one of her research subjects; Aaron Kemps was in the move. Only minutes later we were treated to the bunch fighting for the minor KOM points. Our plan for a quick escape worked well, PEZ photographer Kevin was first behind the race convoy and the PEZ team car followed in fourth. A few kilometres later we unexpectedly came to a road block, the car was abandoned in the queue as we grabbed another glimpse of the race and scored a few discarded bidons in the process.
Following the race was proving a little slower than expected as traffic conditions were heavy and we were no longer on the back of the race convey. A group decision was made to go cross-country. Laura’s backseat navigating was put to the test, and a multitude of C-roads later we found ourselves in Stirling with a prime parking spot as we had come into town in the opposite direction to the masses.
Stirling was buzzing with a fantastic atmosphere. With three laps to go we secured PEZ HQ, on the barriers, with 25 metre to go on the inside line.
With some strategic positioning of chairs and bags we secured some comfortable room for the team for the three laps. An hour or two later when the race was due to arrive the crowd was massive and the tension was mounting as the commentator fed us snippets of the Moncoutie escape.
It was exhilarating to witness Alby dash to victory only centimetres away. It hit home how close the riders were during the finish, as my photo of Stuey’s handlebars was out of focus but his shoulders weren’t.
Anyway I must rush off to the Unley Street party. Stay tuned tomorrow for more action.
Stage 2 Results
1 Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step -3.46.25 (38.424 km/h)
2 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
3 Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale @ 0.02
4 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank
5 George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia @ 0.04
6 JosИ Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse D’Epargne
7 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre – N.G.C
8 Tom Leezer (Ned) Rabobank
9 Mickael Buffaz (Fra) Cofidis
10 Andre Greipel (Ger) Team Columbia – High Road
General Classification After Stage 2
1 Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step – 7.31.42
2 Andre Greipel (Ger) Team Columbia @ 0.03
3 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank @ 0.04
4 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Team Saxo Bank @ 0.08
5 Baden Cooke (Aus) UniSA
6 Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale
7 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre – N.G.C @ 0.14
8 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse D’Epargne
9 Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) FranБaise Des Jeux
10 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Slipstream