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Gerrans drops leader’s jersey to Evans on Corkscrew Hill

By:
Aaron S. Lee
Published:
January 23, 07:56,
Updated:
January 23, 07:57
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, January 23, 2014
Race:
Santos Tour Down Under
Cadel Evans (BMC) signs on

Cadel Evans (BMC) signs on

  • Cadel Evans (BMC) signs on
  • Richie Porte (Team Sky)
  • Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) salutes from the podium in Angaston.
  • Cadel Evans moved into the leader's jersey

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Simon Gerrans’ bid for a third Tour Down Under title now in serious doubt

Following stage two of the Tour Down Under on Wednesday, Orica-GreenEdge team director Matt White boldly stated "No one is going to drop Simon Gerrans." Apparently Cadel Evans (BMC) did not get the memo.

Joined by archrival Richie Porte (Team Sky), the soon-to-be 37-year-old, on14 February, Evans kicked with nine kilometres to go up the notorious Corkscrew Hill on stage three toward Campbelltown, quickly leaving both Porte and a respondent Gerrans in his wake.

"No surprise [Evans] had to do it on that climb," said White. "Willunga is nowhere near as hard a climb as the Corkscrew. Today was always going to be a big test for all the GC guys and Cadel had great ride."

Gerrans, a two-time Tour Down Under champion, relinquished the jersey to Evans, who has never worn the ochre leader's jersey in his vaunted career. Entering stage with a 13 second lead over Evans and 21 seconds over Porte, his two biggest threats, now finds himself sitting in second place nine spots ahead of Porte, now 33 seconds in arrears.

"That was one of the toughest parts of the tour," said Gerrans, who outsprinted both Evans and Porte earlier this month to capture his second Australian national road race championship. "Corkscrew is a very difficult climb especially when it comes to such a critical part of the stage. Everybody was going 100 per cent."

When Gerrans was asked if any alliance was discussed between himself and Porte to chase Evans down, after Porte had joked the day before about an offer of a collaboration with Evans in an attempt to unseat Gerrans' tightening stranglehold over the leader's jersey, he told Cyclingnews. "We definitely said 'come on let's work together' and try to catch him on the downhill but then as soon as I saw that group coming from behind us I knew Daryl Impey would be right there and a few other guys to hopefully work together to get Cadel back."

But Gerrans reinforcements offered little support after cresting the 2.4 kilometre climb averaging nine per cent gradient. "I sort of waited for those guys hoping for a little bit of collaboration to bring back Cadel but that point I think everyone was on their limits and I don't think we took too much more time out of him after that."

With stage four to Victor Harbour being ideally-suited for pure sprints like Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel, Orica-GreenEdge will be targeting stage five's Willunga Hill to pull back time and hopefully slip Gerrans back into ochre.

"It wont be easy to get back but its not impossible," said Gerrans on taking back the leader's jersey. "I don't think we have ever seen anyone start that Willunga stage in the lead hold that all the way to the finish.

"It's not going to be easy for Cadel," added Gerrans, referring to Willunga's uphill finish used for the past two tours. "We are going to throw everything we've got at him. Cadel is going to have to pull out something pretty special to hold that lead and win that stage as well."

Steveo 7 months ago
Never underestimate Cadel Evans!
lifedebunked 7 months ago
"a respondent Gerrans" Eh? Non-respondent maybe... Or despondent...
Uncle_Tod 7 months ago
"Cadel had great ride" ... "no14february" Err what?
wirral 7 months ago
Gerrans can nick this back on bonuses alone. It ain't over yet. Trust Whitey.
wheel chaser 7 months ago
You're the man Cadel...like a good bottle of wine, better with age.
schooner of truth 7 months ago
"trust whitey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
heinkel12 7 months ago
"We are going to throw everything at him>"-Gerrans. Have to be able to catch him first Simon! Getting slapped about on Corkscrew Hill obviously wasn't enough to knock the strut out of Greenedge. Let's hope we see another Evans' masterclass tomorrow.
tokenron 7 months ago
I'm not sure tomorrow's stage is going to suit Gerrans - it might be hard to take time bonuses away from the big boys like Greipel and Kittel, who will be fresh after what is a relatively benign stage. And I'd back BMC and Evans to keep him in front of Gerrans on the Willunga stage too. I can't see Evans losing the jersey except in an accident.