The thrilling fifth stage around the Yarra Valley turned the 2005 Jayco Herald Sun Tour on its head, enabling Canadian Dominique Perras (Bicycle Superstore/HLP) to turn a five second deficit into a 31 second lead. But four other riders are breathing down his neck - his own teammate, David McKenzie; Josh Collingwood (Savings and Loans) who has been sitting quietly in second spot all week; Tour de France mountain stage placegetter, Simon Gerrans (AG2r Prevoyance) and the man who just keeps bouncing back whatever is thrown at him, Baden Cooke (Francaise des Jeux).
Friday's 11 km time trial from Monbulk to Mt Dandenong was always expected to be the crucial stage for this year's Tour and that is exactly how it looks like turning out. It will be a real test of both time trialling and hill climbing. Perras is quietly confident but Collingwood and Gerrans are both very capable in both skills, and no one would seriously write off the chances of McKenzie or Cooke.
One thing is almost certain though - whoever leads the general classification after Friday, is the likely Tour winner, ahead of Saturday's final stage - a criterium around the streets of Carlton.
Start time 11:00 am (first rider), riders leave at one minute intervals, with the last rider overall going first and the race leader leaving last.