By Greg Johnson in Adelaide, Australia
Allan Davis (UniSA-Australian National Team) was philosophical after coming within seconds of winning the 10th Anniversary Tour Down Under, and thanked his squad for their support throughout the close-fought race. Davis staged an epic battle with Team High Road's Andre Greipel, which saw the Australian lose out to the German revelation by 15 seconds.
"I couldn't have done anything more," said Davis at the finish. "I went out there and, as I said before, I gave it everything I've got. I felt quite good in the second sprint, I felt quite good enough to actually roll him so I was hoping everything was going well for the last sprint.
"He was too good again," added Davis. "But I crossed the line knowing I couldn't have done one more centimeter harder than what I did."
Davis' second place was a major accomplishment for the composite outfit, which was granted a last-minute start by the UCI. National outfits have never before been allowed to enter a ProTour event, however the UCI granted organizers an exemption to allow UniSA-Australian National Team to line up alongside the ProTour outfits.
"To the UniSA guys, everyone of them, I've said it before and I'll say it again, it's been an honour and a privilege riding with you boys this week," said Davis. "You've worked so well, Dave Sanders, the staff, the mechanics, we've been put together in a top of the class world cycling event and we nearly pulled it off.
"It's been so professional so I'd like the thank them guys from the bottom of my heart," he said.
Davis, who is currently out of contract following the disbanding of Discovery Channel at the end of 2007, also paid tribute to his event rival Greipel. The Queenslander believes the German, who has affectionately been labeled 'Andre the Giant', will be one of the world's top sprinters in years to come.
"It was great tactics from themselves and Alan Peiper; they deserve the victory – four stages plus the win in the classic," he said. "He's the in-form sprinter – not only here, but in the world. In years to come you can remember that name, that's for sure."
The former Discovery Channel rider also thanked Australia's state and national sports institutes for their contribution to developing cycling.
"I'd like to thank the state institutions since I have this opportunity – it shows the talent of young riders coming through," he said. "I'm moving on now, but the young guys coming through now, there's more of them and a better caliber out of everyone of them.
"A big thanks to the institutes, the AIS and the Tour Down Under for having such an event that can show the Australian breed of cyclists to the world," he added.
Davis also added that he and brother Scott would sit down and have a beer together, after the pair went head-to-head on the final stage with Scott riding for Team High Road team-mate Greipel. He explained that the pair have never been competitive with one another and hadn't placed any bets on who would win the epic decider.